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Jessica Alba Goes To 'Sin City'

Jessica Alba
CBS/The Early Show
When it comes to rising stars, few actresses are as hot as Jessica Alba. She seems to be on the cover of every magazine and has three major films opening in the next four months. The first opens Friday. It's called "Sin City" and co-stars Bruce Willis.

"He goes to prison for her, and she writes to him every week for eight years," Alba tells The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith about her relationship with Willis in the film.

As Nancy Callahan, she is seen first as an 11 year-old girl in the most dire danger. Then, she is an alluring 19-year-old exotic dancer.

"He comes back into her life eight years later. He thinks she's in danger again, and when he comes back, he thinks she's going to be this little, sweet bookworm who has a hard time talking to people and very, you know, passive," Alba says.

To prepare for the role of exotic dancer, she says she visited a few strip clubs.

She says, "I was sort of unsuccessful in finding somebody to copy because strippers, for the most part, don't have themes, and Nancy has a theme. She has a cowboy thing and with the lasso and chaps. So it's a fantasy world, and she is an innocent girl and sort of bizarre. They don't teach you rope tricks. They teach you how to get tips. That wasn't what I wanted to do. That was completely innocent."

Also new for Alba was working in Troublemaker Studios, director Robert Rodriguez's pioneering facility in Austin, Texas. There, most of the scenes were shot with a green screen. The background is generated later on with computers.

Explaining a chase scene, Alba says, "We were in a car, but we were on a green stage. It's me and Bruce in a car with the green stage, and then, they had these humongous fans blowing at us as if we're driving really fast. It is all black and white and to get the right contrast and to make it as cool as the drawing, Robert literally had to draw in the background. So it's much like doing a play."

Having started in the business at 12 with "Dark Angel," Alba says she has been blessed in her career. She has two other movies opening in July: "The Fantastic Four" and "Into The Blue."

About Jessica Alba:

  • Born in Pomona, Calif., on April 28, 1981
  • She began to take acting classes at the age of 11. Soon after beginning her studies, Alba made her film debut in 1993's "Camp Nowhere." Originally cast in a very small role, she was upgraded to a feature part when the original actress dropped out.
  • After a recurring role as a contemptible snob on Nickelodeon's "The Secret World of Alex Mack," Alba became a regular on the syndicated series "Flipper," a revival of the popular 1960s adventure program. Alba originated the role of the young Maya Graham who befriends the titular dolphin, appearing on the show for the 1995-1996 season.
  • In 1996, she starred as a pregnant teenager and Freddie Prinze Jr. as her overwhelmed boyfriend in an "ABC Afterschool Special" entitled "Too Soon for Jeff."
  • In 1998, she was seen as a girl smitten with the captain's young son on UPN's "Love Boat: The Next Wave;" a confused teen mother on a two-part episode of "Beverly Hills, 90210" (Fox); and the daughter of a police officer who identifies another officer as having indecently exposed himself to her in the CBS police drama "Brooklyn South." She also starred in the little seen children's comedy feature "P.U.N.K.S."
  • In 1999, Alba was featured in two higher profile films, first playing a clique leader in "Never Been Kissed," starring Drew Barrymore, and was featured in "Idle Hands," a supernatural thriller starring Devon Sawa and Seth Green where Alba is Sawa's love interest.
  • In 2000, Alba's career kicked into high gear when she was cast as the genetically perfect Max on James Cameron's series "Dark Angel." For her work, she was nominated for a Golden Globe and she won the TV Guide Award as Breakout Star of the Year. The very expensive series folded in 2002 despite its devoted core following.
  • In 2001, she became a spokeswoman for L'Oreal hair products (the Feria line of coloring). And in 2002, she starred in the low-profile film "The Sleeping Dictionary" as a South American woman who falls in love with a British colonialist who visits her village.
  • In 2003, she played a tough, sexy music video choreographer in "Honey."
  • In 2004, she worked opposite Paul Walker in the underwater diving drama "Into the Blue."
  • After Robert Rodriguez and co-director/comic book creator Frank Miller's "Sin City," she went blonde and took the role of Susan Storm, better known as The Invisible Girl, for the big-budget adaptation of the classic Stan Lee-Jack Kirby Marvel Comic, "The Fantastic Four."