By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—To paraphrase Garrett Morris’ Chico Escuela, the fictional Dominican baseball character from “Saturday Night Live,” motherhood has been berra berra good to Latin beauty Jessica Alba.
The tall and slim brunette strides into a hotel suite for an interview dressed in a multi-color Dolce & Gabbana jacket over a beige blouse and light-wash grey jeans, accented by spiked high heels. In addition to being a pretty mom to four-year old Honor Marie and Haven Garner, 18 months, with her movie producer husband, Cash Warren, she has a busy career.
The 31-year-old former “Dark Angel” star is the co-founder of The Honest Company, a company she started a little over a year ago with business partners Chris Gavigan and Brian Lee. (Her official title is Chief Inspiration Officer.) She’s quite proud of her collection of toxin-free household goods, diapers and body care products. This super-mom also has a new book, “The Honest Life,” based on her experiences creating natural, non-toxic life for her family due out soon.
If that were not enough, Alba also has her first voiceover part in The Weinstein Company’s kid-friendly animated feature “Escape From Planet Earth,” in which she plays Lena, an intelligent but power-hungry alien who is willing to sell out her species to gain favor with a human general bent on destroying all intelligent life in the universe (voiced by “Star Trek’s” William Shatner).
The peripatetic Alba has two more films due out this year: “Machete Kills,” a sequel to the 2010 Robert Rodriguez spaghetti-western style actioner, and she reprises her femme fatale role in the Frank Miller noir-like “Sin City” sequel called “Sin City: A Dame to Die For.”
But first, she is pleased her voice-only role in “Escape From Planet Earth,” directed by Callan Brunker from a screenplay he wrote with Bob Barlen, is something she can enjoy watching with her girls.
Q: We thought, “Jessica wants to do this for her family” and then we found out how bad your character was.
Alba: Oh. It’s still something my kids can enjoy.
Q: Did you want to play a villain?
Alba: Sure. Why not?
Q: How were you approached to do the voice for this?
Alba: I don’t remember. They sent me the script and I thought it was great I really liked the idea of playing a villain because I’d never played one before.
Q: Do bad girls have more fun?
Alba: Yeah. I got to be crazy. They definitely edited me down. (She chuckles.)
Q: Did they show you a drawing of Lena before you recorded the voice?
Alba: It was maybe a sketch, an idea of what she might look like but not the final version. Every session I went in for, they had more of the movie done.
Q: This is your first animated voice job. Were you nervous going in and did you try to create a voice or was it pretty much just you?
Alba: I had no idea how far to push it. But by the third session, I got a lot more comfortable with the idea of hearing my own voice against nothing. There was no animation or anything. I was just saying random things. Then, I liked being pretty animated and over-the-top and crazy. It was fun and kind of liberating.
Q: Do you believe in life on other planets?
Alba: It would be weird say that we know there is absolutely no one else here or in any other universe. But I’m not sitting there waiting to be abducted. (She laughs.)
Q: Would you fly Richard Branson’s proposed space liners?
Alba: It would be a very luxurious trip to space. His airline (Virgin) does it right. He’s an awesome entrepreneur.
Q: Since you are a mom, maybe you should have had the line that Kira (Sarah Jessica Parker’s character) has when she says. “Don’t think that just because a chick has kids, she can’t dish it out!”
Q: There are strong women characters in this film, both good and bad. Did you notice that when checking out the script?
Alba: Yeah. I feel like more and more, I’m seeing that is how women are being portrayed, especially when it comes to entertainment that is geared toward young people. Women are much stronger than they used to be. They aren’t really the damsels in distress anymore. I think the stereotype could possibly still live in different genre pictures but, certainly, when it appeals to the younger generation, they’re used to women being equal and women being strong. I think if you don’t portray that, it would be kind of weird.
Q: As a mom now, does that affect the roles you take?
Alba: Sure. Well, I used to work basically 11-1/2 months a year on location and now I don’t. I started a company about a year ago and we have an office in Santa Monica (California). We have about 80 employees. It’s an e-commerce business; a family brand. So, that’s something I started about a year ago because I was inspired by my children. Then the roles that I take, I bring them with me (to set) and I don’t do as much as I used to. I’m much more picky with the roles I take.
Q: What is the name of your company?
Alba: It’s called The Honest Company. We make different cleaning products for the house. It’s household cleaning products, personal care products and diapers and wipes, all non-toxic. Almost 90 percent of our products are made in the U.S., so I’m very proud of it. And I have a book coming out in March.
Q: Have your kids seen this film yet?
Alba: My older daughter has, yeah.
Q: How did she feel about it?
Alba: She’s really into it. She really liked it. At the premiere they gave away these little tattoos of the different characters and she put Sarah Jessica Parker’s character Kira on her arm and she was like “This is the good one, Mommy.” I was like, “Yeah, I know.” (She chuckles.)
Q: Does she realize what you do for a living yet or is it still vague for her?
Alba: For her, mommy going to work is like her sitting in a trailer like when I did the “Spy Kids” movie or this movie, or it’s me in my office at The Honest Company and she’s playing in the kids’ corner or running around and bothering everyone, throwing paper airplanes at their desks, but they love it. She thinks that’s all my job. She doesn’t know the difference.
Q: Would you do voiceover for another animated feature again based on your experience with this one?
Alba: Oh, totally. It was so much fun. It was really fun. Of course.