The 26-year-old actress talks about fall's ''Good Luck Chuck,'' ''The Love Guru'' (a Mike Myers comedy she just signed on for), and...menudo?
Jessica Alba took a break from shooting her forthcoming horror movie, The Eye, to chat with EW about her comedic chops, some of her many upcoming projects — including Good Luck Chuck (opposite Dane Cook) and The Love Guru (opposite its writer/director, Mike Myers) — and, apropos of nothing, menudo. Not the band, the soup. Oh, just keep reading…
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How are you? You’re shooting right now?
JESSICA ALBA: Yeah, we’re doing some additional pickups and stuff for The Eye.
It’s a remake of a Japanese movie, right — and a lil’ creepy?
I play someone who has a cornea transplant. And I play the violin, so it’s a beautiful character story on top of it being a horror movie. That’s what attracted me to it — [it’s not just] a slasher movie, you know, where people are getting chopped [up] and running around in white T-shirts…with rain. I wasn’t really into that kind of thing.
I went to the eye doctor yesterday and was wondering whether I should get LASIK.
Then I came back and read the synopsis to The Eye and was like, Eek! Maybe I should rethink that.
It scares me. The synopsis is different: Getting LASIK is one thing…but getting someone else’s eyes is completely different.
So the word is that you’ve come on board for The Love Guru. How’d that come about? Had you known Mike before?
You know, I’d met him before, obviously. I came home from vacation and the next day [my agents] said, ”There’s this movie you gotta read because it’s with Mike Myers and they offered it to you.” So that’s how it happened. I’ve just been a fan of his.
You have a couple of comedies either out [like The Ten, in theaters now] or in the works. Is that just to counterbalance some of the darker, graphic-novel, kick-butt stuff that you’ve done?
I’ve always wanted to do comedy — it’s just that when people look at me…they didn’t think I could do it. Or they didn’t really understand. So I hosted the MTV Movie Awards to show people that I can do comedy. I kind of used it as an audition. That’s how I got Good Luck Chuck. And then from there, when you do one, then they’re like, ”Oh, she can do it. It works.”
It’s like, ”Don’t doubt me.”
Well, no. You really can’t be that cynical in this business. I just wanted to show people what I love to do, and if it didn’t work then I have no business doing it. [But] I think Good Luck Chuck is getting a lot of positive feedback.
So what was it about The Love Guru script that drew you to the project?
I mean, Mike Myers. Are you kidding? He’s an amazing comedian. And oh my God, it would be an honor to work with him. The script is really funny: It’s about things having a soul. And there’s a Bollywood aspect to it.
What’s your character like?
She owns a hockey team that’s cursed in Toronto — they can’t win a game — and she basically gets the Love Guru to come in and help her star hockey player. She thinks he’s going through some emotional things and that’s why he isn’t playing well. On her family name is this curse, and she has a hard time dating men and a hard time with people, because everyone in Toronto is a huge hockey fan and they blame her family for ruining the game.
It seems like Mike is one of the only people who could get away with something like this…
Mike and Peter Sellers.
Just to backtrack a bit: The Ten just hit theaters. It has a lot of stars in it, but it seems like an indie film. It did the festival circuit, right?
It’s definitely an indie film. I’m only in it for three seconds…. [The movie is] a satire on the Ten Commandments. I’m Paul Rudd’s temptation — he’s narrating the movie. You know when you see the guy who leaves his perfectly wonderful wife for a young little bubble-headed girl? I play the young bubble-headed girl. And I grew up Catholic, [so]…that’s the only [Commandment] I could be part of that my grandmother wasn’t going to get mad at me for. The other ones were pretty sacrilegious.
NEXT PAGE: The Ten, Good Luck Chuck…and menudo
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You know, I hadn’t realized before I started doing research that you’re one of my people: a half-Mexican.
JESSICA ALBA: Yeah, of course. Totally. Where are you from?
Texas. But people in New York sort of don’t know what to make of me. Everybody thinks I’m Asian. Do you have that problem?
Polynesian…all of the time. And everyone thinks my grandfather is Japanese. And he’s fully Mexican.
Sorry to get off-subject. So, Good Luck Chuck: What’s it about, and what kind of powers does Chuck have?
Every chick that he dates or sleeps with, literally the next guy she meets is her soul mate [and] they get married. And women catch on to this. And at a wedding of one of his ex-girlfriends, we meet. And I’m a penguin handler at a local, like, Sea World. The irony is that he’s sitting here basically sleeping with tons of chicks because he can and she’s all about love and romance and monogamy, and he’s just a hotshot young dentist who has women literally throwing themselves at him. It’s an R-rated comedy…
Which have become so popular lately and they’re doing so well with Knocked Up and Superbad is coming out.
Superbad is really f—ing funny.
I haven’t seen it yet.
Oh my God, you’ll love it. It’s like a Fast Times throwback, like Sixteen Candles — like an ’80s movie.
Studios were going for all of those safe PG-13 comedies for a while.
They were so boring. It seemed like a time in the business where everybody was afraid to make a choice. It was about making money and then you lose the story and the characters, and nobody is relatable because everyone is so vague.
Your character in Chuck is a bit of a klutz.
Oh yeah, she’s accident-prone. Literally everywhere the girl goes, bad stuff happens. I got to do a lot of physical comedy, which most women in romantic comedies don’t get to do. They just kind of stand there and look pretty. I got to do all of this stuff that will hopefully make people laugh.
[Publicist chimes in to say Alba has to go soon…]
What’s your favorite Mexican restaurant in New York?
La Esquina. Ever been there?
Yep. I grew up with Mexican food. I only grew up with my Mexican family, but we never spoke Spanish. I didn’t take it and we didn’t speak it in the house.
I’m in the same boat. But I can cook.
Me too: enchiladas, tacos, any kind of carne asada, chile rellenos.
Did you eat menudo growing up?
Yes, but it takes like two days to make menudo, and it smells up the house.
Boiling tripe just reeks. I can’t eat it anymore.
I can’t eat it anymore either — that weird chewy thing…When you’re a little kid —
You just don’t know what the hell it is.
No. [Laughs] And they put the lime and the cilantro and everything in there, so that’s how they tease you.