The star of films such as Fantastic Four and Valentine's Day makes her first contribution as a voice actor as Lena Thackleman in this month's animated Escape from Planet Earth. IAR Managing Editor Jami Philbrick sat down for an exclusive interview with Alba at the promotional junket for Escape from Planet Earth,
and we'll have that full interview available next week in anticipation
of the animated feature's February 14th release date.
Alba, who became a star as the lead on Fox and James Cameron's short-lived but ambitious Dark Angel, first worked with Rodriguez on 2005's Sin City. Since then, she has starred in Machete and Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World 4D for the director. While she was the lead in the latter, the former cast Alba as just one character in a vast, strange ensemble revolving around Machete, an unstoppably badass ex-Federale played by Danny Trejo.
For Machete Kills, Alba reprises her role as Sartana. She praised Rodriguez's ability to assemble a wild cast, but cautions fans not to expect too much Sartana, explaining, "The cast that he put together for this one is bananas. Robert really has a gift in so many ways. He certainly put together a really cool and eclectic cast. It’s so fun and the cameos are amazing. I have a smaller role in this one."
The "eclectic cast" to which she refers is led by Trejo but includes the likes of Michelle Rodriguez, Amber Heard, Sofia Vergara, Mel Gibson, Demian Bichir, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Alexa Vega, Cuba Gooding Jr., William Sadler, Vanessa Hudgens, and Charlie Sheen.
In the "That Yellow Bastard" segments of Sin City, Alba played the crucially important grown-up version of Nancy Callahan for co-directors Rodriguez and Frank Miller. For the long-awaited follow-up, which is at least to some extent a prequel, Alba once again plays Nancy, this time in an original story that Miller cooked up for the film rather than another strikingly faithful adaptation of Miller's Dark Horse comics.
"In Sin City 2, that one is probably the best experience of my career so far," Alba enthused about Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Working with Robert and Frank again was inspiring to watch them. They were already so seasoned before they came together for the first Sin City and just to see how they both have grown as artists. Then to see them come together again and how well they work together, its profound what they come up with and what they have done. All their dreams have become fully realized I feel like. When the process is this fun and exciting you know the product is going to be so cool."
Asked if the new story will have a more substantial arc for Nancy Callahan, Alba replied simply, "Yes."
Whatever the story may be, it reunites her with Bruce Willis, who played Hartigan, one of Basin City's only decent cops in Sin City. Not only that, but the production allowed her to actually play against Mickey Rourke. Though Rourke's Marv shared a scene with Nancy in the first film, the largely green screen production allowed them to film their exchanges separately.
"Yeah, I got to reunite with Bruce," Alba revealed. "And in the first one I didn’t get to work with Mickey because he shot his stuff separately and in this one I got to work with Mickey so it was a dream come true. It was amazing. It was really, really cool.
Machete Kills is set to arrive in theaters on September 13th, while Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is currently in production at Troublemaker Studios in Austin to meet an October 4th release date.