The 28-year-old actress of course stars as April, a Boston-based reporter who is diagnosed with cancer and currently undergoing Chemotherapy.
Italia gave us some scoop on what we can expect in what she calls a very family-centric episode.
She also opened up about who helped her prepare for the emotional process of April losing her hair.
Don’t forget – the Chasing Life Christmas special airs TONIGHT, December 9 @ 9/8c on ABC Family!
JustJaredJr.com: Hi Italia! So where do we pick up? We know it’s a holiday episode, but it’s not Christmas time…
Italia Ricci: It’s one of April’s favorite holidays and she’s starting to lose her hair, and get really down about it. So Brenna comes up with idea to being Christmas to April to cheer her up.
Click inside to read the rest of our interview with Italia Ricci…
JustJaredJr.com Interview – Italia Ricci
JJJ: Do you know anyone who has been through the chemo process who helped you understand what that feels like?
IR: I do actually. Stephen Amell, who plays Arrow, my fiance’s cousin, his mother is a two-time Breast Cancer survivor. She and I sat down for a while and she told me about how the roots in your hair start itching, and how it feels, like you’ve been wearing a really tight ponytail for a long time. She sort of gave me insight into how it physically starts to feel when you lose your hair. And we talked about the emotional part of it. I’m sure it’s not the same for everybody. Not everybody loses their hair at all during chemo. But she was so so helpful. Having that conversation for a couple hours with her in Vancouver was so helpful in me playing April’s journey through chemo.
JJJ: Was it hard going home from set during those days after such heavy material?
IR: It was really hard to take off after work mostly because, you know, you spend 15 hours a day feeling a certain way and believing certain things. So that was difficult, but I also felt really guilty being able to come home and “shower off chemo.” So many people don’t get to do that.
JJJ: Right. Now as for Leo and April, where do we find them in the episode?
IR: They do hang out a little bit. You see the fear in both of them over whether or not Leo is going to get the surgery, and what that possible outcome might be. But you also see how deeply they care for one another.
JJJ: Is Dominic in the picture at all?
IR: She actually isn’t thinking about him all that much through the end of her chemo because this episode is more family-centered. Her grandparents come to visit and her family is spending all this time with her to try to make her feel better. Uncle George is there. It’s a very family-heavy episode.
JJJ: How many of those family secrets will start to be revealed, and how many will start to unravel in the back 10 episodes?
IR: Everything will eventually unfold in the 10 episodes starting in January and you’ll get all your answers – some answers you didn’t even know you had questions to. The Christmas episode is not so much driving each storyline forward as it is bringing the spirit of the holidays into the Chasing Life universe. But you also get to meet April’s grandparents from her dad’s side and see their hilarious reactions to her grandmother on her mom’s side. It’s so great. And then the following 10 episodes, the storyline isn’t so concentrated on April. You get to see more Beth, more Natalie, more Brenna and mom, and grandmom, and Dominic. You also get to see more of everybody else’s life and how they are living completely separate from April’s cancer and recovery, and whatever else she’s going through. And you get to see April try to adjust back into where she left off.
JJJ: What can you tease about April’s return to work?
IR: April lives to work and I think it’s important that she finds herself back in an environment that she’s comfortable, but she also may need to start rethinking her priorities and what matters to her.