Jessica Alba interview
For her role as a blind violinist in the new horror film The Eye, Jessica Alba put in quite a bit of time making sure the performance looked authentic. She went to two different schools for the blind and spent four and a half months learning the violin, including her downtime while shooting the last Fantastic Four film and her Christmas break. The 26-year-old beauty says of the role, ďI play a blind classical violinist who has a corneal transplant and gains her sight but takes on the memories and abilities of the woman she got the eyes from. She ends up seeing people who are dead and sheís psychic so she can see the future - but tragic things, not the good things. Sheís plagued with this ability or horrible thing and she feels like sheís losing her mind. Sheís also seeing for the first time so itís hard for her to get a grip on it.Ē
Best known for her roles in Fantastic Four, Dark Angel and Sin City, Alba says of her attraction to the role, ďThe fact that I got to play someone that was blind and a violin player was pretty complex for a horror movie and it was more of a psychological thriller and not a gorefest where someoneís being tortured. I didnít feel like playing someone that was tortured or mutilated. Thereís enough of that. To me itís much more interesting to watch whatís going on in someoneís head. Itís someone losing their sanity and trying to get it back. The psychological aspect is much more intriguing to me.Ē
While Albaís recently announced pregnancy and the writerís strike throws a wrench into the rumored Sin City 2, she will next be seen opposite Mike Myers in The Love Guru.
Hereís more from Alba, courtesy of Paul Salfen.
You did quite a bit of research to appear blind. What was it like for you to immerse yourself in that world?
It was really intense. I spent time in a blind orientation center, one in LA and one in New Mexico and the one in New Mexico I was with about 12 other students that were in their late teens or early 20s who had become blind from an accident or were slowly becoming blind. They had no idea that I was an actress. They thought I was just another student. I could take my mask off and walk away and they couldnít, so that was kind of difficult. I learned how to read Braille, walk around with a cane and label my clothes. I labeled things in the house like the stove and the hot and cold water.
You actually learned to play violin for this role? That must have been tough Ė especially going at it blind.
Playing violin blind was tough. I did training, but to not see what you were doing was so hard. I actually played, but they had someone come in during post [production] and play what I played, but made it sound nicer. Mine was really bad - very screechy, high pitched and bizarre. I played the right notes and in rhythm, but it just sounded really bad. [Laughs]
Do you believe in the supernatural?
Iím not closed off to it. Enough has happened to me and people in my life that are unexplained. I canít be totally shut off to it. My grandmother believed in a lot of mystical things. We had a woman that was like a spiritual guide and read our palms. I didnít understand what she was saying, but my grandmother would tell us. It was always really emotional. She didnít do it for money, it was just her gift.
Professionally things might be on hold, but how have things changed for you since the pregnancy?
I canít really push myself as hard at the gym. I work out because I read in all of the books itís good to work out because youíre preparing for a marathon going through childbirth. Itís an intriguing ride knowing everything I put into my body affects my baby. Itís really exciting. Also, I have an aversion to foods that I loved before like Iím not as crazy about desserts or meat and now and all of the sudden I love lemonade and citrus.
How did you research the phenomena of regained sight among blind persons?
I did meet a few people that had corneal transplant one that gained and then lost his sight and another who had a transplant that worked. The script is pretty true to how disorienting it all is to take everything in at once. It really plays tricks on your mind.
What are some of your favorite horror movies?
I like the first Nightmare on Elm Street, Psycho, Poltergeist, The Birds, It and Rosemaryís Baby. Mostly stuff with ghosts and demons and less a psychopath coming to rip your body apart and everything. [Laughs]
Will you be back for another Fantastic Four movie?
I want to do it. It is pretty empowering to play somebody thatís cool and kick ass because itís usually the guys that play those, so itís nice. I love doing Sue Storm. I enjoyed the original. It was a beautiful movie. I loved the main characterís subtle performance. In the Eastern culture, ghosts and spirits are more acceptable whereas in the West people think youíre crazy if you see ghosts, so we took a more Western approach.
Any final thoughts?
I think thereís something empowering about watching a fairly young person star in a horror movie thatís not exploitative. Itís pretty different and kind of cool.
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