Welcome back to TV Topics, where host Steven Prusakowski, joined by guest co-host Lucas Longacre (The ‘Verse! podcast) walks guests through their TV landscape. One special guest sits in for the entirety of the show to discuss their relationship with television plus their latest work. For this episode we speak with an actress who has been entertaining us for decades with an array of characters, including some very off-beat favorites.
You will know this episode’s guest star from her work on Showtime’s Yellowjackets, as the kooky 1990s Wednesday in the Addams Family films, roller skating her way into love with a killer Charlize Theron in Monster, as Marilyn Thornhill in Netflix’s Wednesday, plus Buffalo 66, Black Snake Moan, Sleepy Hollow and much, much more. Of course, it’s the incredible Christina Ricci.
Christina sits on the TV Topics couch as we ask questions about her TV viewing experience – from her favorite primetime show as a kid, to her TV guilty pleasure, what show she would like to live in and much more. Christina had some Golden answers. We then take a break from her trip down TV memory lane to deep dive into her must-watch work as the survivor you can never quite predict as the adult Misty Quigley on Yellowjackets. It is a fascinating conversation that dives deep into the Misty behind the glasses and curls. Ricci brings a quirkiness to the characters that makes her both sympathetic while also delightfully unhinged.
We discuss it at length all that went into making Misty one of the most memorable and perhaps most misunderstood characters on television. Below are some excerpts from our conversation. Be sure to listen to episode 4 of TV Topics featuring Christina, it in its 37-minute entirety, directly below.
Christina on how Misty was first pitched to her:
“Originally we only had the pilot and Misty only has one scene in the pilot where she gets offended by one of her elderly patients, because she works in nursing home – and then ends up being abusive to the elderly patient. I just love the scene. I thought it was so well written and concise, and really informative. It communicated so much about the pettiness and smallness of this woman. I thought that was fascinating. I am very interested in in human behavior and people like this people this petty, I find them really fascinating,” said Ricci “You could tell she was really devious, and she did these horrible things. She was very manipulative but also just like adorable and charming and really fun. “And they wanted her to be like that.”
On the ability to spread her creative wings with the character of Misty:
“I didn’t realize that she was supposed to be funny until we got to shooting the second episode. Then I realized that she was being written for comedy. For me, it was very important that this character feel real and to be grounded. I didn’t want her to be too over the top or cartoonish. So I really tried to play her against the comedy that’s written, almost, and it edit ends up working out. People seem to still think she’s funny. For me it’s much more important that everything she does make sense and follows logic and is justified. I’m not a very conscious actor, so I didn’t really realize I was doing any physical, anything different until people started pointing it out watching the show. I think when I play a character, I just become a different person. That means that means my physicality changes, depending on the energy of the character.”
On working with her season two partner in crime, Elijah Wood:
“I love working with Elijah – he’s so fun, and he’s so talented and he’s so good. The scenes are really fun to play. We both are kind of vibing and on the same page and same pace, even. I think that Walter has really given Misty for the first time, kind of normal stakes, relatable stakes. I’d never imagined Misty having such relatable stakes. To me, she always seemed like such an extreme character that anything did, she would never be in a quote unquote, normal sort of situation or be dealing with like normal issues. What was interesting by Walter being in her life this season she went into the last couple of episodes of the show, I think she reacted to what went on in those last episodes a lot differently than I think she would have had Walter not been a part of her life.”
On what is Misty’s end game?
“I feel at this place she has this compulsion to try to have a friend or see if people will accept her. I think it’s also kind of a weird like. It’s also expressed in sort of a hostile way. She knows she’s going to be rejected. But it says weird, compulsive need to just keep doing this thing. Just like what follows afterwards, the self destruction and doing the wrong thing to the new quote unquote, friend. It’s just her mode of operation – the cycle that she always goes through that keeps her in the same place. I think she has that compulsion. I don’t think her life has been very fun or full since they were rescued. She has a really strong bond to the other survivors. It’s the one time she actually did belong to some group. So she has just this need to preserve that group.”
Thank you to Christina Ricci for taking a seat on the TV Topics couch. Check out her incredible work on Yellowjackets on Showtime. Be sure to listen to our full delightful conversation.
Future episodes of TV Topics will feature more of your favorite actors, actresses and artists, who will also discuss their relationship with TV. If you love television and good conversations, you’ll love TV Topics. Our next guest will is from Netflix’s Somebody Feed Phil and the classic sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, Phil Rosenthal.
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If you would like to be a guest on TV Topics, reach out to Steven Prusakowski.