Must List Summer, Jessica Alba, ...

It’s summertime, when the pop-culture mercury starts to boil. Three months of big-name blockbusters, new TV, music festivals, and more await us, which is why we’ve gone ahead and stuffed all the season’s best stuff into this week’s Summer Must List issue.

And who better to heat up its cover than Jessica Alba, the midriff-baring star of Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Alba returns as lasso-swinging stripper Nancy Callahan in the hyper-violent, hyper-sexy, hyper-everything sequel to 2005’s live-action comic book, co-directed once more by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller. But this time, Alba’s character has a little more bite. “She was more naive in the first film. Ignorance was bliss,” Alba says. “In this one there’s no bliss and no ignorance. I wanted her to transition from being a victim to being someone who’s in control of her own story.”

Now a mother of two and president of the multimillion-dollar Honest Company, Alba’s outlook on her place in Hollywood as an actress and sex symbol has also changed in the years since the first Sin City. “I was such a deer in the headlights when I did the first one,” she says. “I was so green and just trying to take it all in. I have a fearlessness now that I didn’t before.” At Entertainment Weekly’s photo shoot in Malibu, she even took some time to answer some hard-hitting (and not so hard-hitting) questions. Watch our exclusive video below:

Elsewhere in the Summer Must List issue, Ariana Grande dishes on her breakout hit song “Problem”; Seth MacFarlane deconstructs a hilarious scene from his new comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West; the cast of Showtime’s Masters of Sex share the secrets of choreographing a sex scene; Chris Pratt and Emily Blunt talk about bulking up for their sci-fi action-hero roles in (respectively) Guardians of the Galaxy and Edge of Tomorrow; and we power-up for a history of Mario Kart as the eighth version of the classic videogame speeds into action.

For more on Jessica Alba, A Dame to Kill For, and other hot new summer projects, pick up the latest double issue of Entertainment Weekly, on sale Friday, May 23.