Jessica Alba has never struck me as someone who's earned her fame through her impressive acting ability. Now, that's just my opinion and you're certainly welcome to disagree, but having seen her scantily-clad self in several films I'd be more apt to categorize her particular skill set under "Hot body, pretty face" over "Streep-like artistic talent."
So when I read the following quote from her that appears in the December issue of Elle Magazine, I experienced some involuntary eye-rolling:
“Good actors never use the script unless it’s amazing writing. All the good actors I’ve worked with, they all say whatever they want to say.”
Wow, in one fell swoop she manages to diss screenwriters, her fellow actors that do choose to stick with the script, and paint herself as an obnoxiously entitled actress who is probably a giant pain in the ass to work with, despite not yet earning her chops.
Of course, who cares what I think? It's more interesting to hear an actual screenwriter's take on Alba's comment, which is why it's so awesome that John August—writer of 'Big Fish' and 'Charlie's Angels'—posted a response to her.
"Following your logic, you've never been in a movie with good actors and amazing writing. So if an aspiring actor wishes to be 'good,' she should say whatever she wants to say? That's pretty terrible advice."
He went on to advise that instead of ignoring the script, Alba might do better to actually engage with the person in charge of her character:
"…if you're not getting good writing -- and honestly, you're not -- ask to have lunch with the screenwriter. I've seen you on interviews. You're charming. That charm could work wonders."
August was actually quite kind in his open letter, at least compared to writer/filmmaker Peter Hanson, who wrote,
"All in all, I've got to admit that you've made your point: Working 'off-script' is the way to go. I mean, look at all the terrible movies featuring actresses who respect the written word, losers like Annette Bening and Meryl Streep and Hilary Swank and Kate Winslet. Has any one of them made something like Honey or Into the Blue? You bet they haven't!
Well, perhaps we'll learn she was . . . misquoted, somehow. Too bad she didn't have a script for that interview, right? In the meantime, I'll be breathlessly anticipating Alba's no-doubt amazing off-the-cuff lines in her upcoming role in, ahem, Little Fockers.
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