Christina Sicoli is 'Small Cop'
Don’t let its title fool you: Small Cop is a big series. It’s massive. Towering, even.
The irreverent 6-part digital series stars Christina Sicoli as Officer Chris Ronson, a narcissistic, unfiltered, hot mess of a cop. Ronson would rather investigate a spate of recent cat disappearances than hunt a serial killer, much to the chagrin of Big B, her rugged, by-the-book partner (portrayed by Dave Collette).
“I wanted to be an animal cop, but being a police cop was the next best thing,” Ronson tells Big B in the first episode.
Sicoli – a Vancouver-based performer and creator with a long list of scene-stealing comedic roles in her filmography – also wrote Small Cop, which hit the popular CocoMilkTV YouTube channel last fall.
Small Cop is the epitome of a well-executed digital comedy series: unpredictable from one moment to the next; twisted, funny, and mildly NSFW; and the entire season can be binged in the time it takes to ride the B-Line.
Sicoli says she rarely gets the chance to play characters like Officer Ronson. “I’ve always wanted to play a cop, I’m never brought in [to audition] for cop roles, and if I am, I’m chuckled at,” says Sicoli over coffee in Kitsilano.
Through Small Cop, Sicoli created “a character that you would think a man would play. I didn’t purposely set out to do it, but I just naturally gravitated towards someone who was volatile, uncensored, and impulsive, and plays by her own rules. It’s about the underdog with a dream. It’s about using the gifts God gave you to get the job done, whatever way it takes – even if it’s the wrong way. When you’re this wrong, you’re almost right.”
Small Cop the digital series is an amuse bouche for Small Cop the feature film, which is currently in development. Sicoli will write, star, and build a strong female team for the film through her company, Rare Little Bird Pictures. “I think it’s important to get a character like this out there,” says Sicoli.
You wouldn’t know it from the brazenness of her Small Cop character, but Sicoli grew up shy, honing what would become her craft through pretend play befitting a kid growing up in Ontario in the 1980s.
Whenever Sicoli was grounded and sent to her room, she’d take out her Cabbage Patch dolls and “pretend I was Maria from Russia, taking my children on the train.” She’d practice bad accents in front of her mirror, and stand at her open window singing songs from Jem & the Holograms.
“I remember in grade 2, my parents had a report card, and the teacher said, ‘Christina is always in her own little world,’” says Sicoli. “I always just loved to pretend I wasn’t me.”
This continued through her teens, until Sicoli wanted to go to theatre school, but her parents, both teachers, wanted her to get a degree first. “My parents were like, ‘Get your degree and do what you want,’ but because I’m stubborn, I thought, ‘Okay, what major city can I go to where I can go to university then get involved in extracurriculars?’”
This is how Sicoli ended up in Toronto: purportedly to pursue a degree in sociology at the University of Toronto, but really to kick her acting career into high gear. She took acting classes and auditioned for projects that advertised in the back of NOW Magazine. She trained at Second City and with horror clowns Mump and Smoot.
Eventually, she dropped out of U of T – “I remember being in the park with my mom and dad and I just broke down: ‘I want to be an actor, this is what I want.’ But having parents who are teachers, this is the worst thing you could say to them” – and enrolled in Randolph School for the Arts.
Sicoli attributes much of how she approaches, well, everything in her life to the fact that her birth mother died four days after she was born. “I’ve always had that fight or flight impulse, and I’ve always been stubborn, and I think because my mother died at 33, I have to live my life, and I would rather be failing miserably than, for example, just teaching for the sake of being a teacher,” says Sicoli. “I have to do what makes me move and tick.”
(Sicoli notes that her family has always been supportive of her choice, even if they weren’t thrilled with it when she first made it).
Her film career began when she was still in theatre school, and it was resoundingly epic: 1999’s Detroit Rock City, a big budget feature film about four teens trying to scam their way into a KISS concert. Sicoli was rapidly promoted from background performer, to Natasha Lyonne’s photo double, to Melanie Lynskey’s hand double, and, finally, to the part of a cheerleader who sits on a toilet moments before it blows up.
“She farts on the toilet: That was my first professional experience. That was my first credit.” Sicoli laughs, adding that she “loved it, because I got to know the director, and I got to meet KISS twice, and go to the concert, and I had the opportunity to go big. As an actor you’re just adding and creating. I would rather go bigger and then be pulled back.”
Sicoli has been working the Vancouver screen scene for nearly 12 years. She played a bullied nerd on Supernatural, a snaggletoothed mystic specialist on Paranormal Solutions Inc, and an abstinent-but-with-a-loophole sexual health clinic patient in The Dangers of Online Dating. She’s shone in multiple episodes of Convos with my 2-year-old and Sunnyhearts Community Centre. She recently wrapped on the feature film A.R.C.H.I.E. 2 (written and directed by Robin Dunne and featuring the voice of Michael J. Fox) and a guest stint on Lifetime’s UnREAL.
“I want to consistently be working in shows that inspire, but also as a creator, consistently create work and collaborate with people who challenge me and who won’t put me in a box and who will allow me to play,” says Sicoli.
Follow Christina Sicoli @Sicolio.