It’s been nearly a decade since Jessica Alba had a major film role. Why Jessica Alba vanished from spotlight
Saturday - 14/09/2019 22:04
She was one of the biggest names in Hollywood in the mid-2000s, but Jessica Alba’s star faded very fast. Here’s why she walked away.
It’s been nearly a decade since Jessica Alba had a major film role.
The 38-year-old actor was the dream poster girl of the 2000s. Women wanted to be her and men wanted to date her.
The Latin American brunette beauty seemed poised for a long and successful career in Hollywood, starring in a string of popular movies in her early days.
But it was Alba’s good looks that dominated her notoriety, something she wasn’t able to shake despite her efforts.
Alba has been in a plethora of magazine lists dubbed as one of the most beautiful celebrities of all time. She was voted as the fifth Sexiest Female Star in a Hollywood.com vote, was named among Playboy’s 25 Sexiest Celebrities, and was voted number one in an AskMen.com poll ranking of the 99 Most Desirable Women.
But this image affected the depth of roles she was offered, with Alba expressing concerns on many occasions about being typecast as a sex symbol.
Alba’s big shot at stardom came in 2000 when she was cast as Max Guevara in the American TV series Dark Angel, created by veteran director James Cameron.
More than a thousand actors were up for the role, with Cameron narrowing it down to 20 audition tapes.
Interestingly, he wasn’t impressed by Alba at first, saying: “She had her head down, she was reading out of the script … she didn’t present herself all that well. But there was something about the way she read the script that copped an attitude that I liked.”
He said he kept coming back to Alba’s tape and decided he needed to meet her in person.
She was hired before the script was even written.
Despite her acting ability gaining praise among critics, Alba was immediately judged mainly on her looks.
American TV critic Howard Rosenberg said of her performance: “If pouty faces and sexy walks could destroy, the highly arresting Max would be wiping out the entire planet.”
Reviewer Joyce Millman said she was “little more than lips and a**”.
Despite this, Alba cleaned up a string of awards for her portrayal in the series.
She won Best Actress on Television at the 27th Saturn Awards, Breakout Star of the Year at the TV guide Awards, Outstanding Actress in a New Television Series at the ALMA Awards, and Choice Actress at the 2001 Teen Choice Awards. She also received a nomination for Best Actress — Television Series Drama at the 58th Golden Globe Awards.
Not bad for her first big TV gig.
She then starred in the 2003 dance flick, Honey.
While it received generally negative reviews, it shone the spotlight on Alba, who absolutely glowed in the role and bolstered her profile among Hollywood’s elite.
Two years later she hit the top of her game with a starring role in Sin City, which is available to stream on Foxtel and features an all-star cast including Brittany Murphy, Clive Owen and Bruce Willis.
The crime anthology movie opened to massive critical and commercial success, making $US158.8 million at the worldwide box office against a budget of $US40 million.
Again, focus turned to Alba’s appearance, the then 25-year-old winning the MTV Movie Award for Sexiest Performance.
But that role, only a few short years since her big breakthrough, would turn out to be the peak of her acting career, with Fantastic Four hitting theatres several months later to nightmare reviews.
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This movie marked Alba slowly dropping off the Hollywood radar.
Alba played the Marvel Comics character Invisible Woman/Sue Storm in the film, alongside Ioan Gruffudd, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, and Julian McMahon.
A savage review in The Guardian suggested Alba was only in the film because “of her beauty”.
“Feminists and non-feminists alike must absorb the Fantastic Four’s most troubling paradox: Having been admitted to the story on the grounds of her beauty, (Alba’s) superpower is to be invisible”.
However, Alba still returned in 2007 for the sequel Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
But she said the experience made her want to quit acting, claiming she was harshly criticised by director Tim Story.
“I wanted to stop acting,” she said in an interview with Elle.
“(He told me) ‘It looks too real. It looks too painful. Can you be prettier when you cry? Cry pretty, Jessica’. He was like, ‘Don’t do that thing with your face. Just make it flat. We can CGI the tears in’.
“And then it all got me thinking: Am I not good enough? Are my instincts and my emotions not good enough?
“Do people hate them so much that they don’t want me to be a person? Am I not allowed to be a person in my work? And so I just said, ‘F**k it. I don’t care about this business anymore’.”
She didn’t completely bow out of the industry, but admitted to having a hard time finding roles, telling PopSugar she wasn’t considered white enough to play white characters but wasn’t considered Hispanic enough to play Latina roles.
This would explain her gigs from 2007 to 2010, which were all small supporting roles with little substance.
Think Good Luck Chuck, Valentine’s Day, The Love Guru, Little Fockers … She made a high-profile resurgence in Taylor Swift’s all-star music video for Bad Bloodin 2015, but her appearance was overshadowed in the media by Swift’s major feud with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West at the time.
From 2010 onwards, Alba settled into a life mainly out of the spotlight.
But it was probably a luxury for her, considering her dark past.
Alba was allegedly kidnapped when she was 15 on the set of TV series Flipper, an incident she refuses to elaborate on to this day.
The actor was on the set of her first show in 1996 when it’s alleged she was kidnapped from set and went missing for 14 hours.
The mysterious case was dismissed as Alba didn’t provide any information.
Part of a conservative Christian family, Alba has claimed she was often ridiculed in church for her appearance.
“Older men would hit on me, and my youth pastor said it was because I was wearing provocative clothing when I wasn’t,” she said in a 2006 interview.
“It just made me feel like if I was in any way desirable to the opposite sex that it was my fault, and it made me ashamed of my body and being a woman.”
Alba was also seriously ill growing up, with several medical problems.
She suffered from partially collapsed and ruptured lungs, asthma, pneumonia multiple times every year, hyperactivity disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Alba met her first boyfriend, who she says took her virginity and was 13 years her senior, when she was 18 on the set of Dark Angel.
Actor and producer Michael Weatherly, then 32, proposed to Alba on her 20th birthday, which she accepted.
They split in 2003, with Alba later telling Cosmo of their relationship: “With Michael (Weatherly), I didn’t have a voice yet, and he was so much older … I was so young, 18, when I started dating him,” she said.
“I was a virgin. I knew I wanted to be in love with the first person I slept with because for almost everyone I knew, the first experience made them feel like sh*t … I wanted to be careful that he was going to be in love with me and wasn’t just going to leave me.”
It was while filming the first Fantastic Four in 2004 that Jessica met producer, now husband, Cash Warren.
“He’s not famous. He might be the one. It was kind of a love-at-first-sight thing, but I met him when I was dating someone else, so it started off as a friendship,” she told Cosmopolitan in 2005.
“The first week that we kind of got together, he gave me a note and signed it with a dollar sign because his name is Cash.
“It just said, ‘I really, really like you’. And that was exactly how I felt at the time.”
Alba fell pregnant with their first daughter, Honour, in 2008, and the pair married in a secret ceremony with no guests.
The pair now have three children.
Despite struggling to make it big in Hollywood, Alba is considered one of the world’s richest actors, valued at a whopping $US350 million.
Money Nation estimates she only made $US13 million from acting alone, so how did she manage to boost her net worth so massively?
Alba ventured into the world of business, starting up The Honest Company, a chemical-free baby and household products company, in 2012.
It has since expanded into hair, beauty and skincare.
Alba travels around the US educating researchers on the dangers of chemicals and promoting her products.
In only a matter of years, The Honest Company has clocked up a worth of $US1 billion, of which Alba owns between 15 to 20 per cent.
According to IMDb, Alba currently has no movie deals locked in. But it doesn’t sound like she needs them.