PITTSBURGH—Rick Hazell, a 29-year-old Pittsburgh liquor-store clerk and self-described "Christina Ricci nut," knows exactly what he would say if he were ever to meet the actress.
"Most people who approach her, especially guys, probably do the whole panting-fanboy thing, but I'd be totally cool about it," Hazell said. "First off, I'd definitely focus on her indie stuff, like Buffalo '66 and The Opposite Of Sex, which I'm sure she'd appreciate since most people who say they're fans probably just want to talk about That Darn Cat and crap like that."
Added Hazell: "Every now and then, she has to do those big Hollywood things to pay the bills, because the stuff with integrity doesn't pay shit. One Small Soldiers pays for 30 Peckers."
Hazell has seen every one of Ricci's films, including Casper, Sleepy Hollow, and her first film, Mermaids.
"In Mermaids, even though she was really young—and the movie blew—she showed signs of future brilliance," said Hazell, who lists Ricci's performance in The Ice Storm as his favorite. "It takes a lot to be able to hold your own against someone like Cher when you're 10, but she did it."
Hazell stressed that he wouldn't tell her that if he met her, because he wouldn't want to seem like he was "sucking up."
Hazell said he has harbored a crush on the young actress ever since seeing her in Addams Family Values when she was just 13. If he met her, however, he would be coy about his attraction.
"I definitely wouldn't be all creepy and tell her I've thought she was hot ever since the second Addams Family movie," Hazell said. "In fact, I'd avoid telling her she was hot at all. I'd be much more subtle about it."
To ensure he doesn't come off like "some crazed stalker fan," Hazell said that if he ever met Ricci, he wouldn't let on just how much he knows about her.
"I'd definitely want to come off like an intelligent, knowledgeable fan," Hazell said. "But I wouldn't want to seem like one of those obsessive freakos. Like, I could ask her about getting her first producer credit on Pumpkin. Or what it was like to work with Ben Gazzara on Buffalo '66. That'd be fine. But if she happened to mention that she's an Aquarius, I'd be like, 'Oh, really?' Because if she knew that I knew her sign, that might come off weird."
Though he has given a lot of thought to what he would say to Ricci, Hazell has not devised a plan that would put him in close physical proximity to the actress.
"I really wouldn't want to force it," Hazell said. "I've never been to Hollywood, and she's probably not in Pittsburgh much. But who knows? Maybe she'll be on location shooting something here. A bunch of movies have been shot here, like Wonder Boys and that Bruce Willis movie Striking Distance, so crazier things have happened. Or maybe I'll run into her in an airport somewhere. The bottom line is, you can't artificially manufacture these things. When it happens, it happens. And it'll be great."
Added Hazell: "I hear she's got a nude scene in Prozac Nation. Oh, man."