You'd be wise to avoid Jessica Alba in public metropolitan spaces. I know she's real pretty and you might want a picture with her or something, but if a bus happens to pass by she'll throw you under it faster than you can say 'Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World.' Last week our own Alison Nastasi brought you word of an interview Alba gave to Elle Magazine, in which the actress (to put it generously) offered choice soundbites about her craft, saying things like, "Good actors never use the script unless it's amazing writing. All the good actors I've worked with, they all say whatever they want to say." Naturally, a few Hollywood scribes took offense to this, including 'Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle' screenwriter (to put it generously) John August, whose frustrated retort was easily the finest work of his career.
Just when the Internet hive mind seemed ready to forgive Ms. Alba her blunder and focus on a boy wizard's 2.5-hour attempt to destroy a piece of jewelry, Elle went ahead and published the rest of the interview (thanks to Jessicaalba.net for the scans). Yikes. It turns out Alba didn't just put her foot in her mouth, she pretty much unhinged her jaw and swallowed a whole leg (Vivid Video has reportedly paid six figures for the footage).
In fairness, she attempts to assume accountability for her unfortunate body of work, saying: "I know I haven't been swimming in the deep end with some of the movies I've done. I wasn't trying to. I knew what they were." But when her disclaimer is followed by a question about why some of her recent films have underperformed, her only answer is "First-time directors." Interviews should be more candid, but that response is churlish and unfair, and someone who named her daughter Honor should know the difference. Besides, 'The Love Guru' isn't Marco Schnabel's fault -- like global warming, the recent financial crisis, or the enduring success of 'Two and a Half Men,' it's one of those things for which we must all accept some measure of responsibility in order to prevail as a civilization. Or at least blame Mike Myers.
At the end of the day, actors work for their own reasons -- some approach every role as an opportunity to express their art, while others merely call them gigs. One isn't morally superior to the other, and Alba is brave to be so brazenly public about the category into which she falls (considering she married a dude named "Cash," this shouldn't come as much of a surprise). Later in the interview, Alba reveals that her strategy has changed a bit since becoming a mother, and that she's told her agents that supporting roles are fine so long as her choice of projects is "All about the directors." If she has to be away from her kid, she wants to have a good time, and apparently that means working with Robert Rodriguez a lot.
All of this fine and totally her prerogative, but if you're only gonna accept roles because they're fun, quick, and / or include Casey Affleck beating your face into oblivion (okay, 'The Killer Inside Me' gets a pass), you can't complain when they're terrible, and you certainly can't disparage your peers for making them so. The movies Alba's in now might not require CG tears, but the likes of 'Machete' and 'Valentine's Day' are every bit as forced and abysmal as a Tim Story film, thus underscoring the malicious and contradictory flavor of this interview. Alba is free to go public with her professional apathy and work only with her friends, but at this rate she may not have friends for long.
It's okay, Jessica, we'll always have 'Idle Hands.' And, because it seems vaguely appropriate, here's a clip of her getting Punk'd.