Interview: “Chasing Life” Star Italia Ricci Dishes April’s Future and Losing Leo

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To the world, she’s April Carver, aspiring journalist whose world turned upside down when she was diagnosed with leukemia. But to others, she’s known as one of the sweetest, caring and humble actresses from Richmond Hill, Canada.

We got a chance to chat with Italia about her inspiring character, and the 28-year-old actress gave us her personal insights on this season’s tear-jerking events, giving back to others and never taking a day for granted. Read on to get the EXCLUSIVE deets!

(ABC FAMILY/Craig Sjodin)

(ABC FAMILY/Craig Sjodin)

What has been your favorite part about playing April Carver?

“Being able to see the world through April’s eyes has helped put mine into perspective and to appreciate things that I otherwise hadn’t appreciated as much as I should be, and to want to do things that I haven’t done before. You know, advocacy and charity and just being able to separate what really matters and what isn’t worth my energy. So in a selfish way, April has totally changed my life and my perspective — and I am very grateful for her.”

Do you and the cast watch the shows together?

“Oh, as much as we can. We did it last week, and we’re having a huge party for the finale, and we’re going to live tweet together. Like all the producers, writers, everyone. I’m so excited for it to see everybody again. We really are a family. Even when the episode is over, we’re still hanging out together, in front of the TV still running ABC Family and just chatting for hours and hours, and playing heads up and being silly. We just enjoy each other.”

What’s your favorite memory so far about shooting?

“There’s been so many, honestly. There haven’t been that many scenes where everybody gets to be in it. But it’s always fun where we get ones where everyone can be apart of it. I wish we would release the season 2 blooper reel because it would show you! Those are one of my favorite things to watch. It’s such a blast. I think i’m going to start begging ABC Family to do that because it is just so precious being able to see everyone laugh together. It’s really, really a fun place to work.”

When Leo died, there were some very hard episodes to watch you in because you were so emotional. Where do you draw those emotions from?

“Literally nowhere. I could not get through that script without crying. Like at the table read, where you’re not supposed to really cry or go there, my pages were soaked in tears. I could barely speak my lines, I was crying so hard. And even just running those scenes, I, just rehearsing them I couldn’t get through them. Even talking about that episode right now, I get so choked up, and I don’t know why. I’ve never lost anybody extremely close to me; but I think because I’ve been April for so long and spent so many hours with Scott (Leo) we did develop a friendship, and having him being gone so suddenly…… Like I couldn’t look at Scott for a couple days after I read that episode because I was just so angry.

The director of that episode actually had to pull me aside and said I need you to keep it together for this scene, and I was like I am trying. Every scene in that episode that I’m not completely losing it- I am just trying so hard not to completely go sledgehammer in the scene. It was harder for me not to cry than it was to cry during that episode because I just felt April’s pain, so it was hard to hold back… Like uh, I’m going to cry right now. I couldn’t eat anything.

I love McDonald’s, everybody knows I love McDonald’s, and they were like trying to feed me BigMac’s and everything, and I just couldn’t eat because I was that upset. And I found that very interesting, because I never saw myself as the person where you really get into the role and then take it home with me because I’m such a mess or whatever. If that’s what you do, that’s great, but I was just one where I would look at that as work, and aside from real life. But that one episode, I just could not shake it. It was so, so sad and I was like oh my gosh, what if this never stops. As hard as it was to film, it is one of my favorite episodes.”

When the show first started, April and Dominic were an item, then there was Leo, now Dominic could be making his way back into the picture. What do you think April should do in this situation?

“I think she’s very conflicted because you know, up until Danny had told her that Dominic is still in love with her, I think she always… You know I think you always have that special little place for somebody that you’ve been romantically involved with… But at the same time, she just, she doesn’t even register that at this point, she’s still, I think emotionally frozen from the loss of Leo. But then when they told her that Dom was still in love with her, it sort of like, sort of shook that away and now she’s like…. Well he’s thinking about leaving Boston, and I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity of talking to him about this and maybe see if we can take it really slow because she’s not ready. Or if she doesn’t pursue it because she’s not ready and misses an opportunity. So she’s not sure which road to take, you know.

Talk to him- and maybe regret that because it could end terribly because she’s not emotionally ready for it. Or just miss an opportunity all together and regret that too.”

If you could write the story for what happens next for April, where would you like to see her?

“I would say… I hope she moves to Italy, so that I could shoot there for a season. No, I think I just want her to embrace everything about her current situation and do exactly what she wants to do.”

Be sure to tune-in for the season finale of Chasing Life Monday at 9/8c on ABC Family!

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