'Chasing Life's' Italia Ricci: 'Arrow's' Stephen Amell's mom 'shed the most light' on being a cancer survivor

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italia-ricci-chasing-life-premiere-ABC-family.jpg "Chasing Life" is ABC Family's new drama, centering around April Carver (Italia Ricci), a journalist in her mid-20s whose life is turned upside-down by finding out she has cancer. In preparing for the role, Ricci tells Zap2it that she initially wanted to do a lot of research, but she realized that may not have been the best choice as an actress.

"My first instinct -- I'm very Type A -- was to know everything I could know about it," says Ricci. "Become an expert so that I knew all that I possibly could so I could do it justice, but then I realized that my character doesn't know everything there is to know about cancer, so I didn't want, as an actor, to anticipate what my character knew before she was going through it herself."

Ricci adds that -- spoiler alert, though Ricci laughs as she says the audience can probably see this one coming -- it was when April finally starts receiving chemotherapy treatment that she began speaking with people who had gone through the same things as her character. But what she found out was that it truly is different for everyone.

"When we got to the episode where April is going through chemo, I began speaking with people about their experiences and I learned that there's really not one way that a person deals with this sort of thing," says Ricci. "Everybody handles it completely differently, even if they have the exact same treatment plan, the exact same type of cancer, everybody reacts differently.

"Actually, one of the biggest helps - you know Stephen Amell, who plays 'Arrow'? His mom is a breast cancer survivor and she actually shed the most light, we had a wonderful conversation before I started that episode and she helped me a ton with what April might experience. I pulled a lot from her, she's a hero."

What did you think of the "Chasing Life" premiere episode?
Photo/Video credit: ABC Family