She plays a blind violinist in her latest movie, but Jessica Alba is seeing things: visions of a future without Sue Storm, a future behind the camera, a career out of the genre ghetto. And, of course, a new baby.
The 26-year-old star of Friday's "The Eye" — and the June 20 comedy "The Love Guru" — sat down with MTV News to discuss her decision to do horror after tackling comedy ("Good Luck Chuck") and action ("Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer"), how the violin never sounded so bad, and her various visions for what the future holds.
MTV: You've done so many genres, especially recently. Why horror, why now?
Jessica Alba: I've always been intrigued with horror. I like horror movies. I wanted to find one that I felt was kind of fitting with who I am as an actress, and kind of where I want to go in my career. I wasn't necessarily intrigued with the overtly gory, torture-based horror movies. To me, it's the psychological thriller, the ghosts, the maybe-she's-crazy, maybe-she's-not. Is she seeing things? Do you believe in it? That aspect was a lot more intriguing to me.
MTV: What your character goes through, that's my worst fear — questioning my own sanity.
Alba: Yeah, for me too.
MTV: So if we were to take your eyes, what would we see?
Alba: [She laughs.] A lot!
MTV: But not in this film. You play a blind woman. What sort of research did you do?
Alba : I spent a lot of time with this woman named Jessica. She's a musician. She's a vocalist. And she competes with people, obviously, who are sighted. She travels to Italy, knows three different languages, does all of this on her own, completely independent. Hails taxis in New York and takes the subway. ... I mean, she's really amazing. So she was really my inspiration for Sydney, her independence and her strength. And then I spent time just trying to learn how to get around and cane-walk and read Braille and all that.
MTV: I would have just turned out the lights and bumped into everything.
Alba: Yeah, you didn't really need to turn the lights off. They give you a sleep mask, and it has foam that covers everything so you can't see anything at all. It's pitch black. And yeah, I would walk around the house, pour myself drinks, simple things, going to the bathroom, all these things that are a part of your everyday life. When you're not sighted, it becomes almost claustrophobic. It's exhausting because all these other senses are at work that you are just not used to.
MTV: How proficient did you end up in violin?
Alba: I did pretty well. It didn't sound great, but I played every note with the music pretty well. The directors had me playing bits of Mozart and Beethoven. They'd bring different music to my room every day and have me learn something else because they weren't sure what I would be actually playing in the movie. So I learned a plethora of different things. It was tough, but I got it down as far as the rhythm goes, and the notes. [She laughs.] But it sounded bad.
MTV: You mentioned earlier that you took this role because it fit with where you wanted to go in your career. Where's Jessica Alba in five years?
Alba: Hopefully, I'll be producing movies [or] even TV. I'm open. I want to produce. I think that's kind of the next avenue for me. And for me as an actress, right now, I'm definitely ready to do a little bit more character-driven, smaller movies. Just a little more plot-heavy when it comes to relationships. And not as much in a tent-pole movie or genre-specific — it'd be nice to do stuff that's just a little bit smaller just to balance it out a bit.
MTV: Not genre-specific? Do you find your work in genre films limiting?
Alba: No. I mean, I got to do "Fantastic Four," "Sin City," "Dark Angel" — I've done all different types of roles within the genre, and this, "The Eye." And I've gotten to play great characters in all of them. But I think I'm just ready to do something that's maybe more an emphasis on acting and the characters and less on "Can I open this movie?"
MTV: How about uglying yourself up for a role like Charlize Theron?
Alba: Sure, of course, yeah. Anything that's a good role, good writing, good character — that's the most important thing.
MTV: I would never be so gauche as to ask you about your pregnancy. That said, how would the Invisible Woman handle pregnancy?
Alba: [She laughs.] I think she'd be pretty funny about it, definitely a good sense of humor about it. And you kinda do when you're pregnant. You kinda have to laugh at it and surrender a bit, because your body's being taken over by this other thing completely.
MTV: Mike Myers is sort of known for his catchphrases. Does he have any in "The Love Guru"?
Alba: He has a lot of catchphrases. It's filled with catchphrases.
MTV: You have a favorite?
Alba: I like "Oh, behave!" Yeah, he's really funny. He coins phrases. Our pop culture is almost molded by him to some degree. He's a genius, an absolute genius.
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