Today she looks fighting fit - her skin is clear, her huge hazel eyes are bright, and she is slender but not scarily so. I'm an inconsistent eater - all the things you're not supposed to be.It's a far cry from the well-publicised extremes of her troubled youth when she cut herself and battled with anorexia. I forget to eat, then I'll eat a bag of potato chips.At one point she shrank to six stone and so disliked her appearance that she covered all the mirrors in her house. And then you get to a point at a certain age when you're, like, "All right, I guess I have to take care of myself now."'The 28-year-old actress gave up drinking some years ago and now has three sessions a week with a personal trainer, though she often wimps out of cardio, she confesses: 'I'm a lazy, lazy girl.But I figure I'm so high-strung I probably burn the same calories in nervous energy'.But now, the actress tells Catherine Elsworth, it's time the world saw her afresh I'm walking up to the Hollywood sushi restaurant where I'm due to meet the actress Christina Ricci for lunch, when I see a photographer leap out of a car and begin frantically snapping pictures.I follow his gaze to a black Mercedes that has just pulled up at the kerb and see a petite figure in a green minidress, flip-flops and oversized sunglasses hand her car keys to the valet and step swiftly towards the restaurant entrance. She's used to the paparazzi but today, for some reason, she wasn't expecting to be followed. I'm pretty certain there's going to be some crotch shots.Ricci is here to promote her latest film, Speed Racer, directed by the Wachowski brothers (of Matrix trilogy fame), a live action adaptation of a 1960s cult Japanese anime cartoon series.So far I've not had a chance to ask her about it.'I'm sorry if I'm babbling,' she says, after a sudden pause.
Ever since, aged ten, she played the endearingly malevolent Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family (1991), Ricci's fans have become used to seeing her play dark, damaged young women, such as Rae, the abused nymphomaniac from the 2006 film Black Snake Moan (after which Ricci announced, 'I've had enough sex for the next two years with this movie'), Shelby, the lesbian lover of Charlize Theron's serial killer in Monster (2003) and the tormented teens she played in the art-house films The Ice Storm (1997), Buffalo '66 (1998) and Prozac Nation (2001).
'I stopped at the pharmacy on the way here and I wasn't very careful getting out of my car. At least,' she sighs, 'I was wearing underwear.'By now we're sitting at a table and have ordered drinks.
Ricci hasn't stopped talking and after a few minutes we've already covered the paparazzi, nudity in films ('I do it all the time - I don't understand why it's such a big deal'), what time she goes to bed ('I'm always in bed by 11 or 12 and people laugh all the time - they want me to hang out until two in the morning, but n-n-no, I need my nine hours') and her quest to eat healthily.
But there's nothing disturbing about Trixie Fontaine, Ricci's character in Speed Racer, unless you're scared by a girl who flies a pink helicopter.
The anorexia, the self-harm, the downright weird statements about incest…
Christina Ricci freely admits that she was one mixed-up kid.