‘Chasing Life’: Why Star Italia Ricci Nearly Quit Hollywood

“There was a point where I was like, ‘I just can’t do this anymore.’"

Italia Ricci

Italia Ricci was ready to turn her back on Hollywood after years of painful rejection and scraping to get by.

“I had been out here [in Hollywood] for six years and could barely book a plane ticket home, never mind a job,” the star of ABC Family’s CHASING LIFE tells me.

“I was going to go back home and go to law school.  I couldn’t work as anything other than an actor and there was a point where I was like, ‘I just can’t do this anymore.’  And my friends and family sort of made me stick it out and I am so grateful.”

The Canadian beauty, 27, has been fascinated with show business her entire life.

“I remember being five years-old sitting in front of a mirror spewing monologues of nothing until I was crying or laughing,” she says.  “I am pretty sure my parents thought I was insane.”

She arrived in Los Angeles after receiving a degree from Queens College and decided to pursue entertainment law.

“That was a way to be in the industry and have stability and be able to count on things,” she says.  

“I was on my way to law school when a friend of mine at an extra’s agency was like, ‘Do you want to come to this movie set (AMERICAN PIE PRESENTS BETA HOUSE) and get paid $100 a day to pretend you are at a party?’  And I was like, ‘Yeah!’  

“So I went and at lunch, the writer asked me to audition for a role.  And I got it.  So he wrote me in to the next one too.

But Ricci’s big break didn’t come until earlier this year when she scored of the role of April Carver, a twentysomething aspiring journalist diagnosed with terminal cancer in CHASING LIFE.

It’s a heavy role — and a tough one to leave behind at the end of the day.

“I drink a lot of wine,’ she jokes. 

“It is hard to do a show like this because I feel so guilty when I get to come home at night and not have cancer.  I feel so guilty for the people who don’t get to turn it off on the weekends or wrap it up after 21 episodes and go be healthy and happy and care free. 

“Still now, my producers tell me not to, but I respond to every single fan mail that I get.  And every message on Facebook.  I don’t care how many hours it takes.  These people deserve it.  I feel like I want to do more for them.”

Ricci — who is easily mistaken for Rose Byrne (or a young Shiri Appleby) — says she knew right away that the role of April was going to be a game changer.

“As soon as I read the script, I knew this was a lottery ticket.  I still wake up and giggle sometimes, thinking, ‘I  can’t believe I am really doing this!’” 

CHASING LIFE airs Tuesdays at 9:00 PM on ABC Family.

Sean Daly

Sean Daly

Editor-In-Chief at TheTVPage.com
Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
Sean Daly