Stand Up Sits Down with “Chasing Life” star Italia Ricci
Posted on June 10, 2014, 2:45 AM
Chasing Life stars Italia Ricci as twenty-something April, a smart and quick-witted aspiring journalist. When not pursuing the latest scoop, April tries to balance her ambitious career with her family. Just as things start to look up at work, home, and on the romance front with co-worker Dominic, April gets the devastating news: she has cancer.
SU2C: What first captivated you about this story, and specifically the character of April?
Italia Ricci: When I first read the script, I was really impressed by how real the story was. I could relate to every character and could imagine these things happening to so many people in reality. April is a sweet girl who has worked very hard to get where she is. She’s already made sacrifices for the life she wants and is finally getting close to achieving it. Even when she is diagnosed with cancer she never lets that ambition go, she never forgets how hard she’s worked, she never loses sight of who she wants to be. Her dreams are bigger than life. It’s inspiring.
SU2C: Playing a cancer fighter must be such a challenge. How did you prepare?
Italia Ricci: At first I thought I wanted to read every book I could, talk to survivors and current warriors, and do all the research I could fit in before shooting. I slowly realized that even with the relatively little that I knew about cancer, I probably knew about as much as the average person - including April. I decided to learn as much as April knew as the story unfolds. I didn’t want my performance to anticipate how everything works and what happens to the body, etc. before April knew and/or experienced it.
SU2C: What did you learn from prepping for and working on the show that has surprised you?
Italia Ricci: I’ve never personally had an intimate experience with cancer. I mean, there have been scares in the family but they’ve always worked out in our favor and never ended up being very serious. Before I booked Chasing Life, I felt that cancer was this massively intimidating presence that I was almost afraid of even talking about. I guess I’m surprised by how ignorant I was about the subject. And how much power I’d given it and let it scare me. Awareness is one of the many great things this show will bring to its audience, I’m excited for that.
SU2C: How has cancer personally impacted your life or your loved ones?
Italia Ricci: I have friends who have lost parents, friends who have lost friends, and friends who know people who have totally kicked cancer’s ass. Watching my friends go through losing someone to this stupid disease is heartbreaking. Their strength is beyond me. I look up to them every single day and aspire to have the grace and understanding they’re blessed with. As for the warriors I know who have beat cancer, they’re in a whole different league of strength. They are heroes.
SU2C: At first, a show about a person with a terminal illness sounds pretty heavy. What can people expect while watching Chasing Life?
Italia Ricci: To laugh! There is obviously dramatic content but it’s handled with grace and humor. There are going to be moments when you might cry, but by the end of the show you’ll be smiling. I hope people will be inspired by at least one character or moment in each episode. People can also expect to be drooling, definitely expect that - our entire cast is painfully good-looking!
SU2C: Who do you stand up for?
Italia Ricci: Dr. Bennett, Em’s mom, Glady’s mom, Sophie, Sandy, and all of the people out there who feel like this show is giving a voice to them. Whether it’s someone who is fighting cancer, or someone supporting a loved one with it, I stand up for everyone who relates to any part of the story we’re telling. I’m behind you.
SU2C: Thank you for taking time to talk with SU2C!
Italia Ricci: Thank you!
To learn more about Chasing Life, visit: http://abcfamily.go.com/shows/chasing-life
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