On a hotness scale of one to 10, most red-blooded males would rank Jessica Alba as about a 17.2. Those men will be saddened to know, then, that the beauty, who stars in the new film-noir visual blockbuster “Sin City,” had the opportunity to bare it all — but deliberately opted to stay confined in those tight cowboy chaps.
“Nudity was absolutely an option,” the 23-year-old actress said about her role as Nancy Callahan, a stripper who finds protection with a tormented cop, played by Bruce Willis. “Obviously it would have been more authentic if she was bottomless and topless [like in the comic], but I felt like dancing around with a lasso and chaps was sexy enough. Being nude, for me, would have been too distracting. Plus, I don’t know what my dad would have done. He might have disowned me.”
The film, adapted from the graphic novels by Frank Miller, who also co-directed the flick, incorporates three of the series’ most popular story lines, including “The Hard Goodbye,” “That Yellow Bastard” and “The Big Fat Kill.” Alba says her character’s relationship with Willis is one of the film’s best love stories because of its sincere nature. “Nancy’s kind of an old soul and thinks of [Hartigan] as her knight in shining armor,” she said. “She always looked at him as her soul mate from the beginning. She just waited until she was old enough to really be in love with him.”
Co-director Robert Rodriguez (“Once Upon a Time in Mexico”) describes Nancy as “the sexiest person in that world” — a standard that the sultry actress found daunting to live up to. For one of her dance scenes, he asked Alba to recreate Salma Hayek’s sultry dance from his 1996 desperado hit “From Dusk Till Dawn.”
“Mind you, that is the sexiest dance I have seen on camera, ever,” Alba said. “He said, ’I want something like that.’ I was like, ’Are you serious?’ ” Alba did research for the role by visiting strip clubs to observe the women’s moves. When she asked Rodriguez to hire a choreographer for additional help, he said no. “[Robert] basically said, ’Well, we’re just going to play music and you just have to feel it.’ ”
The young actress scored the role of the troubled stripper the old-fashioned way — by taking a seat on the casting couch and waiting for Rodriguez’s approval. “There was a week of thinking, ’Well, did he think I sucked?’ ” she admitted.
Rodriguez first met Alba almost six years ago when she came to audition for a part in his 1998 teen-horror film, “The Faculty.” “[Jessica] was still kind of dorky, thin, skinny, but so cute,” he said about the then-16-year-old. Although she didn’t get the role, Rodriguez kept Alba in mind for future projects. “There were so few Latina actresses [at the time] and I was just hoping she’d be around to do one of my movies,” he said.
The actress, who first gained popularity from her role as a genetically enhanced superhuman in “Dark Angel,” has two more projects slated for release later this year: the big-budget fantasy-action flick “Fantastic Four,” where she will take on the role of scientist Sue Storm (see ” ’Fantastic Four’ Heroes Keep Their Eyes On The Prize Through Tough Shoot” ), due July 8; and the scuba-diving action flick “Into the Blue” with Paul Walker (see “Jessica Alba, Paul Walker Dodge Deadly Sharks On Set Of ’Into The Blue’ “ ), hitting theaters July 15.
Still, Alba says that the experience of shooting “Sin City” was unlike anything else she has ever done, noting the directors’ unusual filming style (the majority of the movie was shot against a green screen), stunning visual techniques, and a cast chock-full of interesting and flawed characters.
“I felt like I was a little piece of this orchestra,” she said. “It was so visual and overwhelming. It was just beautiful from beginning to end.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Sin City.”
For more on Alba, check out the feature interview “Bad Girls Make Good: Alba And Murphy Play It Cool In ’Sin City’.”
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