Christina Ricci was in a few cartoon-like movies as a child actor. The Addams Family films, based on the TV show based on the Charles Addams comic strips, and Casper. Speed Racer takes adaptation to the next level with the Wachowski Brothers’ modern vision of what the old anime show could be. Ricci plays Trixie, Speed Racer’s love interest, who can drive a car and kick a leg herself.

Crave Online: You’ve played a character that was a comic strip creation with The Addams Family. Did you have to think twice about doing an adaptation of Speed Racer?

Christina Ricci: No, I didn’t think twice. That didn’t even occur to me. That was so long ago. I was like ten years old, so no. I was just really excited. I wanted to work with the achowskis and I’ve been hearing about Speed Racer for the past ten years and people have said for a really long time that I should play Trixie and that I look like Trixie. So I thought, “Awesome. I’ll go in and read for this.”

Crave Online: What was it like when you first saw the visuals of this, saw what it was going to look like?

Christina Ricci: Well, they tried to prepare us and they showed us a lot of images and we could know as much or as little as we wanted to about everything. As much as you know or you think you know it’s all really very specifically in their heads. When the whole cast got there, the first time we all arrived Larry [Wachowski] took us through the art department and tried to show us how this thing was done, what this concept was and what that concept was and showing us the sort of concept of the bubble where they go and shoot everything in 360 degrees and then they put us in it. Now how much of that I actually understood I’m not sure, but you get a sense from these directors that the vision they have in their head is so complete and so intricate and complex that it really inspires a great deal of trust and confidence. Also, there’s the knowledge that I’d be doing myself a great disservice if I even attempted to think that I knew what they were thinking in their heads and to not just do what they were telling me to do. The only way to make sure that you fit into what their vision is and what will ultimately be manifest onscreen is to do what they tell you to do. So there’s really a sense on set that everyone does exactly what the Wachowski’s tell you to do.

Crave Online: So it takes a lot of trust?

Christina Ricci: Yes, it does, but for people who inspire that trust it’s not very difficult. In a way, once you kind of let that control go it allows you to just sort of play and have fun and it couldn’t have been a more playful set. It was complete imagine time. It was like an imagination Christmas and we’re all in these funny costumes and laughing at each other, making jokes and the cast was having a great time and we all loved each other so much. Our confidence in them really freed us up to commit to this style of acting and the kind of dialogue that we had to deliver in a way that I don’t think we would’ve if we were busy trying to control things.

Crave Online: Are there any scenes that you imagined differently from what they are now?

Christina Ricci: No. For me personally I would’ve loved to have done more action stuff but that’s just me wanting to have fun. As far as the movie goes though, they did such an amazing job. I think it’s so delicately balanced and balanced in such a perfect way.

Crave Online: You did get a fight scene and got to drive the car.

Christina Ricci: I know, but I want more.

Crave Online: What kind of training did you do for the stunts in this?

Christina Ricci: It was specific karate stuff, training. There was three weeks of it. It wasn’t that many sessions, but it was fun.

Crave Online: Did you do most of your own scenes?

Christina Ricci: The stunts? Yeah, I think I did, but they didn’t use a lot of my fight stuff. I was sad.

Crave Online: Will we see more on the DVD?

Christina Ricci: Oh, I don’t know.

Crave Online: Was there any driving school at all?

Christina Ricci: No. We were on a gimble. They were like, “Turn left hard!” You don’t need much schooling for that.

Crave Online: Some actors do that because they want to know the world or something.

Christina Ricci: Yeah, I know, but not with this. It’s not a real world anyway and the thing is that if you went and you were like, “I’m going to be really method about this and think everything through” and then you’re sitting in the car and they asked you do something and you went, “That’s physically impossible.” The brothers would be like, “Uh, huh. Thanks. Do it anyway.” The two things don’t go well.

Crave Online: Were the Wachowskis everything that you expected as you got to know them?

Christina Ricci: Well, I didn’t really know what to expect, but then I was really, really happily surprised that they’re just two great guys who are really funny and warm and two people at a party who are probably the most interesting guys that you’ll get to talk to. They’re just great. Good guys and fun. They want people to be happy on their sets and have a good time and do the job. They’re genuinely affectionate people. It was just a really warm environment.

Crave Online: Did you have an instant rapport with Emile Hirsch?

Christina Ricci: He’s great, just great. He’s really wonderful. I read with him at my very first audition and he already had the part and he was just so generous and helpful and sweet. As I said, we had such a great time on set and there was a lot of funny boy humor going on and Susan [Sarandon] and I were sort of up for that and we had a good time.

Crave Online: How did you like working on the Speed Racer video game?

Christina Ricci: It was good. I liked it. I like doing voice work. It’s sort of funny, the instructional part, you’re like, “To complete a 360… ” is really fun.

Crave Online: How do you do that jump?

Christina Ricci: I don’t know. I forgot.

Crave Online: What’s the fastest you’ve ever gone in a car?

Christina Ricci: Maybe 80.

Crave Online: Are you much of a driver?

Christina Ricci: Yeah. I drive. I don’t love it. My car is kind of broken right now.

Crave Online: What attracts you to scripts as diverse as Speed Racer, Monster, Penelope and Black Snake Moan?

Christina Ricci: Well, I think it’s different with every movie. With this movie it was like, “Oh, wow, a Speed Racer movie. That’s exciting. It’s exciting that I’m being called in to read for that. Oh, it’s the Wachowski Brothers directing? I’ve always wanted to work with them.’ So then you read it and make sure that there’s nothing offensive in it and then it’s kind of like a no brainer really. Of course I’d want to be in this movie. But with other scripts, it’s like, “Does anything in this movie seem like it’ll be fun? Is there anything about this character that’s challenging for me or something that I’ve never done before?” I think you’re constantly looking for something new and different unless it’s, as I said, a director that you’ve always wanted to work with or an actor that you’ve always wanted to work with or a genre that you’re not often thought of for.

Crave Online: Was it hard to commit to so much time in Berlin when you’re in the prime of your young career?

Christina Ricci: Yeah, but this is what I live for. Movie making is my life so I feel like the waste of time is the time spent not making movies.

Crave Online: Were you worried about missing out on other projects?

Christina Ricci: No. If you’re happy with what you’re doing then it’s the greatest thing in the world. I’m in such a lucky position. So many people want to live their dream and do the thing that they dreamed of doing their whole lives and they don’t get to. The fact that I get to do this is still an amazing thing to me.

Crave Online: Have you seen the whole thing together now and how does that compare to what you saw on set?

Christina Ricci: It’s totally different and crazy. There is no putting the two together. Sometimes I look at it and I’m like, “What? I was never on camera with him.” So I don’t understand. It’s confusing.

Crave Online: Did you spend a lot of time with the monkey?

Christina Ricci: No. I didn’t spend a lot of time with the monkey.

Crave Online: Did they ever talk about doing a sequel to this?

Christina Ricci: Yes. There is a plan to make sequels based on how well this movie does.

From Crave Online