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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Turns out Christina Ricci, who has become a darling of independent film fans, isn't so 'indie' after all.
The actress, who gained fame as a child actor in "Mermaids" and "The Addams Family," says people have her all wrong if they think she intentionally shied away from blockbuster Hollywood flicks in her adult years. Her newest film, Friday's big-budget "Speed Racer," is Ricci's proof.
"I wanted to do big movies for a long time but I haven't necessarily been given the opportunity," she told Reuters. "I just haven't gotten those kinds of parts."
Leaving films like "Casper" behind, Ricci took on increasingly more complex roles as a teenager in human dramas such as director Ang Lee's "The Ice Storm" (1997) and as a young adult in "The Laramie Project," (2002) which dealt with the hate crime murder of a young gay man, Matthew Shepard.
But this summer, the 28-year-old Ricci is starring as Trixie, the title character's girlfriend in "Speed Racer." Based on a popular 1960s cartoon, the movie tells of a young race car driver, Speed, who learns that wealthy corporations are using their profits to pay off drivers and fix races.
Speed, along with Trixie, his family and a rival driver, Racer X, vow to expose the scheme and save his beloved sport.
The action-packed film promises to be Ricci's biggest movie since 1999's "Sleepy Hollow," in which she starred opposite Johnny Depp. And while fans may view "Speed" as a departure from her indie reputation, Ricci doesn't agree.
"I know it seems incongruous ... of course, the only thing people can really think about you is what they see in your work," she said. "But I like big movies -- and I'm kind of silly -- and I like cheesy television."
Ricci said she is a fan of reality TV shows such as "America's Next Top Model" and "The Real Housewives of New York City," and when she goes to the movies, she enjoys being transported to other worlds.
One of her favorite films, she said, is 1995 science fiction fantasy "Twelve Monkeys," which starred Brad Pitt and told of a strange virus that nearly wiped out mankind.
Ricci acknowledges, however, that more often than not, she stars in films that make people think hard and she wouldn't have it any other way.
Recent roles have included a woman with a pig's nose who struggles to gain self-confidence in teen fable "Penelope," and a hard-living woman seeking redemption in "Black Snake Moan."
"I have a little bit of unrealistic, childlike morality issues. I really respond to things that have a strong moral stance," she said. "When I'm passionate about something I tend to be better in a meeting and then better in an audition."
Even "Speed Racer," Ricci said, is a "back-to-basics moral story" about staying true to yourself and not selling out -- a theme that struck a chord with the actress who said she has become pickier about the roles she takes on.
"The last couple of years I've gotten to the point where I'm like 'All right, I've done a lot of working for its own sake. Now I think I might be a little more selective."
The bottom line on "Speed Racer," Ricci said, was that with "The Matrix" directors Andy and Larry Wachowski making the film, she felt sure it was going to have artistic integrity, while still being fun for families.
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte