Hollywood stunt casting remains a hot topic around the Broadway community, but with ticket sales typically proving healthy for A-listers, there is little monetary incentive for a producer to avoid the stars. But the creator of Time Stands Still wants audiences to know that Christina Ricci, the latest movie star to join Broadway, did so completely based upon her own acting ability, and not for some ticket sales gimmick.
"Christina, to her credit, flew herself in from a set in Europe and auditioned," playwright Donald Margulies said at the recent opening night party for Time Stands Still, a production that returns to Broadway following a run last spring with Alicia Silverstone in the role now played by Ricci. "I want to dispel the notion that this was a movie star casting coup, because it wasn't. She really tried out for the part and really convinced us that she had the requisite warmth and charm."
Time Stands Still not only marks Ricci's Broadway debut, but also her first foray into acting in a live environment. And assuming the role, alongside such co-stars as Laura Linney, Brian d'Arcy James and Eric Bogosian, wasn't without stress.
"I was really nervous before the first preview, because I had never done anything in front of a live audience before," Ricci said. "In my 20's, I was just terrified of any kind of live performance. And then, as I got older, we started looking for the right thing for me to debut in, and eventually we got to this play."
Broadway critics were generally enthusiastic about the return of Time Stands Still, with the New York Times writing that Ricci "makes a confident, appealing Broadway debut" and the New York Daily News asserting that Ricci "proves herself delightfully natural on stage."
Watch the video interviews I shot with the cast at the opening night party for Time Stands Still.