Italia Ricci, of the arresting new TV show Chasing Life and upcoming biblical apocalyptic thriller The Remaining, is more than grateful for this round of amazing projects. Having been in the biz for over 7 years, primarily on stalled TV series, the star is finally getting her due, with a leading role on ABC Family’s fascinating series Chasing Life, about a young woman with cancer.
“The hardest part at the beginning was having to go to such intense places for a lot of the scenes,” Ricci says about portraying April, a young woman who must find a way to tell her loved ones that she has leukemia. “It’s very devastating.” The learning curve for the character was also a challenge Italia met with enthusiasm and insight. “I learned what April knew as she was learning it because I didn’t want to anticipate anything,” Italia observes. “My character didn’t know much about it before her diagnosis, and I didn’t want to know more than she did. I visited hospitals and talked to survivors, people who lost people, I talked to doctors and nurses.”
And the payoff has been more than rewarding. “People have been reaching out about how they feel that April has been giving them a voice,” Ricci shares happily. “I love the audience’s reactions – they notice things that I wasn’t even paying attention to when we were filming. I love the feedback…everyone has been incredibly positive. I love listening to their stories, I love live-tweeting with them…I’m so honored to be a part of making it exist, that now that I’m getting to share it with all these other people—it’s so freaking cool!”
It’s not only fans who have appreciated the show—the Teen Choice Awards have also recognized Italia specifically, which she didn’t even believe when it was announced. “It’s crazy right? It never even occurred to me that that would ever happen!” she says, recalling how she found out before boarding a plane. “I started crying in the lineup for security at the airport!”
Parallel to this experience, Italia reflects on playing another character dealing with an extreme situation; a faithless woman at odds with a biblical apocalypse in the film The Remaining. “She hasn’t had a ton of faith,” Ricci says about her character Allison. “She’s forced to believe in a power greater than her own, or humanity. It challenges all her previous beliefs with what is happening around her.”
We wish Italia the best of luck with the film, out later this year, as well as on the Teen Choice Awards this week!
The Remaining hits theaters on Sept 5