Interview: The Eye’s Jessica Alba


Star of Lionsgate’s supernatural thriller

Jessica Alba has admitted that pregnancy has taken a toll on her and she’s exhausted, but the 26-year-old beauty looked radiant during our interview for her upcoming horror flick The Eye which is a remake of the Pang Bros.’ Gin gwai. Alba, a few months pregnant now, walked into the room in a short-sleeved cream colored dress with a fabulous jeweled neckline paired with skinny jeans which made her look so incredibly thin we had to ask if she was really pregnant because she looked that amazing. sat down with the mom to be and talked to her about The Eye as well as her new film The Love Guru starring Mike Myers. Is this the most challenging role you’ve ever had?  

Jessica Alba:
It kind of was.  “Dark Angel” was quite challenging because I really had to carry that and do everything in that but, since then, yeah. It was intense having to play violin and having to play somebody who is blind and becomes sighted and starts to lose her mind a bit, seeing things that aren’t there. It was quite challenging and definitely why I wanted to do it.  I like horror movies and I’ve wanted to do one for a while. I’ve read many over the years and, to me, this one, the psychological thriller aspect of it, I felt like it was intelligent and complex.

Shock: Was it harder playing blind or playing the adjustment to sight?  

The adjustment to sight, for sure, because I’m so used to seeing., Like in this room, instead of looking at anyone’s face, I’d probably focus more on the table because that’s the one thing that stands out. The white of the table and then maybe like the color of his shirt [red] or your shirt [blue]. You kind of pick up on things differently.

Shock: What did you learn from the blind woman you met and worked with?  

I learned from her that just because you are blind and have this handicap that it really doesn’t need to impede anything in your life except for driving. That’s the only thing she doesn’t do.  She travels by herself, takes subways and taxis. She goes to Europe.  She was walking on the wrong side of the road in England, crossing the street and people who are sighted still can’t really figure that out. [laughs] She’s fine doing that.  I just thought it was incredible that she gets around in life and, to be honest, most cities aren’t equipped with Braille so she has to rely on other people to tell her if it’s a women’s room or a men’s room or what’s on the menu if she wants to buy something. When she goes shopping she has to trust that the sales clerk is telling her the right colors so she can label everything properly.

Shock: What I really admired about your character was that she did have this disability but she was okay with it.  She coped with it and the only reason she got the surgery was because her sister really pushed that.  Was that hard for you to wrap your mind around her being okay with being blind?  

No, that’s what I wanted.  I wanted it to be not something that she had to cope with but something that was part of who she was and she was fine with it – totally functioning in the world and being quite independent and self-sufficient.  She had a regular job. It’s not like she had a job for someone with special needs or anything.  She was totally fine and it’s kind of society that tells you that you need to be like everyone else was a reason why she did it. Primarily her sister and, when she gets her sight, it’s then she actually becomes more handicapped than ever and she sort of falls apart.  I liked that role-reversal mentality.

Shock: Was the role very physically demanding?  

A lot of running.  Wow, running and at the end was quite tough because it was below freezing.  It was below zero when we were shooting that.  I think it was negative two.  It was so cold and I just had a little jacket on and so that was tough. We were shooting nights for about two weeks. Then [there was] the burning building, in the burnt Chinese restaurant because it was such a transition going from when everything was there, then it wasn’t.  Then, I’ve got four pages of dialogue that I’m just going on and on and on about everything that’s happened. That was pretty tough.

Shock: Did you reference the original film at all, the original actress’s performance?  

No. I definitely did my own interpretation.  I appreciated her take and how stoic she was and sort of quiet her performance was.  But, she comes from an Eastern way of looking at ghosts.  It’s kind of a part of the culture, the mysticism and it’s a little more accepted. In Western culture it’s crazy and ludicrous and it’s like you’re losing your frickin’ mind.  There’s no way.  So, we sort of approached it with more of a Western mentality about it where everyone thinks she’s going crazy and she starts to question her own sanity.

Shock: Have you ever seen a ghost or what do you think of ghosts?  

I haven’t seen a ghost but I’m not closed-minded about it.  I think there are too many things that have happened to people in my life who are close to me and too many things that people see and hear that I don’t really know if you can say it doesn’t exist point blank.

Shock: What other projects are you working on now?

I did a comedy with Mike Meyers called “The Love Guru” which is his first original character since Austin Powers. That’s funny.  It’s coming out I think in the summer.

Shock: Do you play a wild character in that?  

No.  He’s wild.  I play more the straight man in that one.  I get to do some fun stuff but he’s definitely the crazy one.

Shock: In “The Eye,” you are responding on set to things that aren’t there and you have two directors telling you what you are seeing… How did that work?  

Well, a bit of that was there and there were some instances where I did see the shadow guy and I did see the ghosts and they showed me what the ghosts would be doing and then they took them out.

Shock: Were the effects already done so you could see what it looked like?  

Not the effects but where a girl is coming at me, she really came at me. They did that and then she did her bit and I did my bit. I kind of had an idea of how it was going to go. The guy in the elevator stood behind me and showed me exactly where he was going to be and how close he was going to be to me and the little kid.

Shock: How hard was the scene where you’re cradling the girl that wasn’t really there?

It was tough.

Shock: It did actually look like you were holding someone. Was somebody there and they took her out?

Yeah, that’s what they did. I did a scene with her in my arms. I think they weren’t sure how much they wanted to show of me and her together or of her, me by myself. So I did the scene with her in my arms and then I did it without her in my arms. That was tough for sure. Also, it’s a pretty horrific thing to see somebody hanging. That was hard.

Shock: What’s your biggest fear?

I think probably losing touch with reality. Losing my sense of sanity.

Shock: This movie must have been really scary for you?

Yeah. You start to feel disconnected.

Shock: What’s the scariest horror film that you’ve ever seen?

I saw “Nightmare on Elm Street” when I was five. I snuck behind my parents couch and I watched it. I didn’t sleep in the middle of my bed forever. I think all the way up until I was 13 I still didn’t sleep in the middle of my bed because I thought I was going to be sucked in. I’ve watched “Poltergeist” and anything that has demons or ghosts or this thing that is torturing your soul and no one else can see it. It’s crazy. “Psycho” is a good one. “The Birds.” “It.” I’m less of a fan of the super gory.

Shock: Could you see through the cloudy contacts?


Shock: You couldn’t see at all? That worked out well for your role?

I couldn’t see at all. On the set they didn’t really want me walking around so I had to get taken in a wheelchair everywhere. There are cables and plywood and cameras.

Shock: There was no in and out with the contacts?

No, it hurts your eyes if you keep continuing to taking them in and out. You have to let them sit in there for awhile.

Shock: So, was “Love Guru” a relief to do after all of this?

That was a completely different movie. I finished “The Eye” then I went on press tour for “Fantastic Four” then I had about a month break, then I started “Love Guru.” It was like night and day. It couldn’t have been more different. Hanging out with Mike [Myers] and watching him, seeing how his brain works. Wow, he’s a genius. He’s really, really talented.

Shock: Do you have a dream role that you’d like to play one day?

I don’t know. It changes because depending on what age I am it becomes sort of more appropriate to fill different shoes. When I was younger I was always fascinated with Mata Hari. She was a spy and an exotic dancer. You know she got assassinated. I thought she was pretty cool. She was of a mixed race. Now, I don’t know. I don’t know here I want to go. I’m really, to be honest, interested in smaller movies. More indie and character-driven, ensemble. Stuff like that.

Shock: Did you guys hang out off set with Alessandro Nivola?

We went to the director’s house quite a bit. In Albuquerque there’s really only one restaurant that’s pretty good. You can only take Applebee’s and Chili’s so much. Our big day was hanging out at Walmart for five hours. It was like, “Yeah, Walmart!”

Shock: How was it working with the two directors?

It was good because you know one was more technical and the other worked with us more…the actors. It was kind if like Robert [Rodriquez] and Frank [Miller]. Robert sort of took the more technical side and Frank was more with the actors.

Shock: Will you do less physically demanding roles after becoming a mother?

No, I don’t think so. I still have to find a really good action movie for me to do. Obviously with “Dark Angel” I have a lot of practice.

The Eye opens, courtesy of Lionsgate, February 1st.

Source: Heather Newgen