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October 2005
Into the Blue: An Interview with Jessica Alba

Into the Blue: An Interview with Jessica Alba

By Godfrey Powell

One can say that Jessica Alba has had one hell of an energetic year, considering the roles she plays. In "Frank Miller's Sin City", she played Nancy the stripper who was seen at times dancing at bars. In "The Fantastic Four", she plays Sue Storm, who becomes the Invisible Girl, and with her upcoming film, "Into The Blue", Alba plays Sam, a shark conductor at an amusement park, who goes looking for gold at the bottom of the ocean with her boyfriend Jared, played by Paul Walker. In speaking with blackfilm.com, Alba talks about working with Walker and learning how to deal with sharks.

Godfrey Powell: How was Paul Walker, pretty boy?

Jessica Alba: Yeah, he's a sexy guy. Yeah, he's a lovely guy. He's down to earth, a guy's guy. I thought he was going to be more of a precious diva like the rest of the male actors I work with. But he wasn't. He was fishing and surfing and hanging out.

GP: Did you touch the sharks? {In the there are multiple scenes with Jessica and sharks.)

JA: Well, they wouldn't let me. Sharks are very terrifying animals and they are not very bright. So yes, I did hit a couple of them to push them out the way. I was constantly pushing them away. I didn't want them to bite me. I need my fingers.

GP: How did you learn to freedive?

JA: I went down to the Cayman Islands for a few weeks with my friends and learned how to freedive and brushed up on my scuba diving.

GP: What is the most challenging film you have done?

JA: definitely into the blue because of all the action. Its funny. I did Into the Blue, Sin City , Fantastic Four and Honey in that order. And the movies came out Honey, Sin City, Fantastic Four and then Into the Blue. I did Honey because after all the action thrillers I wanted to do something that catered to women.

GP: Why?

JA: I never knew what scene I was doing each day. Because of the weather conditions, we were constantly changing. Sometimes it was too sunny, sometimes too dark so then we would shoot on land scenes. Then we would go back out to the water and the sun would show up. This was everyday. You were a slave to Mother Nature.

GP: What drew you to Into the Blue?

JA: I read the script in 45 minutes. It was such a page turner I couldn't stop. I knew the movie was going to be gorgeous. But it wasn't as glamorous as I thought. It was winter time in the Bahamas. Very cold.

GP: Were you surprised at the performance of Fantastic Four? It was a huge hit.

JA: No, they {critics} were comparing it to Batman. It' not dark. It's a fine family film. A good comic book film that doesn't take itself too seriously.

GP: Do you read comic books especially considering you having done back to back comic book movies (Sin City and Fantastic Four)?

JA: No. It is that weird but I never read them. I read them before I started shooting the movies to prepare for the roles.

GP: Did you ever have any flashbacks to Flipper? {Jessica played in the 1995 movie Flipper. She was also in the short-lived tv series.

JA: (Laughing) Dolphins are lovely. I much would have rather been around dolphins than sharks. Its terrifying to watch the sharks swim around when they're hungry. You can literally hear the music {from Jaws} in your head.

GP: You are very self-sufficient and a determined woman in the filmówas Sam the character written that way or did you add that element?

JA: Yes, yes of course. In the original script, at the end of the movie, Paul comes and rescues me. I do nothing for the last quarter of the movie. I told the director (John Stockwell) and said you know I can do action. I'm the most experienced person here. I mean girls don't really want to see girls get rescued all the time. I came up with all the action scenes at the end and got an action coordinator to cut them together.

Acting for me is cathartic. It's a safe place emotionally. I can explore people. I love telling stories. Unfortunately, I haven't had as many opportunities to do the type of acting that I want to do and that I'm trained to do. I've been doing these commercial, action driven comic book type films. And in Sin City, I had a couple of really great scenes with Bruce Willis all anyone talks about is the scene with the lasso and chaps. But its visual so I get it. But its not why I did the movie.

GP: Have you ever thought about doing something drastic to you appearance like Charlize Theron in Monster to downplay your looks to stretch beyond the eye candy roles?

JA: I would certainly do anything for a role. But I'm not planning to screw up my hair and not wear makeup just because. I'm doing an independent movie in NY called Awake where I look normal. I'm not fighting anyone. It's a film about anesthetic awareness where a patient's mind awakens during surgery but yet you can't move your body. You can hear and feel the surgery but can't move or cry. I freaked out thinking about it.. While you're lying there suffering in pain, I thought where is your happy place to go? You'd rather die. Its so horrible.

GP: You are quite different from the Honey junket. You are more relaxed and seem more self-reflective. Do you see those changes?

JA: Honey was my first film where I was the lead so it was a challenge to do all the publicity aspects. I'm not comfortable with holding court and talking to strangers. But this is my third major junket this year after Sin City and Fantastic Four so I'm getting used to it.

GP: After Awake, what else are you doing? Any truth to the I Dream of Jeannie rumors?

JA: I have met with Sony people about it a couple of times. The script is just not in the shape that I want it to be in if I was gonna do it. I want to do the show.

GP: Yes, don't change it all up like BewitchedÖÖ

JA: Yes, I don't want to do a modern version of it. People want to see the tv show. I also am doing Beautiful Killers and Sonic -two more action films.

GP: Do you have a dream movie role?

JA: I think there is something fascinating about Mata Hari. She had a mixed background (Jessica Alba is Mexican and Danish). She was kicked out of school for having an affair with like a ninety year old professor. She was like a spy/stripper. They don't know why she was killed because they don't have any real evidence if she was actually a spy. I think that would be a fascinating story.



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