Jessica Alba on Why Dealing With a Picky 2-Year-Old is Trickier Than Learning Lines

In the second sequel to “Meet the Parents,” out Dec. 22, Alba plays a slightly nutty drug rep opposite an uptight Ben Stiller. In real life, the actress, 29, is married to Cash Warren and the mother of Honor Marie, 2.

She spoke to ParentDish recently about her comedic turn and her hatred of “Barney.”

ParentDish: So, the last two movies weren’t that successful. Bit of a gamble taking a role in “Little Fockers.”

Jessica Alba: Yeah, totally. It’s not like any of the cast had, like, a career. They had no experience. They were sooo lucky to have me in the movie. They really needed my star power. I made the film.
It was such a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to do a comedy and, obviously, I love all of these actors. They’re icons. Gosh, can you get a better comedy school than working with Ben Stiller? His timing is so ridiculous, I mean he’s Zoolander! He knows how to do broad, he knows how to do shy, he’s just a comic genius.

PD: How did you get the part?
JA: I auditioned for it. I don’t know who else did and I don’t really care. At the end of the day, I’m supportive of all sorts of actresses being in movies, opening movies. I’m not competitive in that way. Everyone is individual, no one is indispensable. Everyone brings their own unique flair to a role. I really enjoyed doing this and if someone else would have done a better job, then go for it. If I can bring something cool and unique to it, then awesome.

PD: You play a sexy drug rep.
JA: Well, drug rep. Crazy. Totally crazy.

PD: You know they hire pretty girls to be drug reps.
JA: Yeah, they’re like cheerleaders.<

PD: You’ve talked about being typecast as the pretty girl.

JA: Actually, I’ve never said anything like that. It’s been interviewers saying, “Oh, so you’re always looked at as the pretty girl, is that a problem?” I’m like, “Uh, no, I’ve never really looked at the roles like pretty girl, check. It was like superhero, sure. Genetically modified kick-ass chick, sure. Blind violinist, OK, sure, why not? Certainly, after I had my daughter it’s the material and the character and primarily the filmmaker.

PD: Are you pickier since you had your kid?

JA: A lot more. She’s 2 ½ now. She’s just getting her opinions and she’s able to voice them now. When she gets frustrated, she can talk about it. Before, it was just screaming and crying and I didn’t know how to fix it. Now we can communicate. There are rewards and time outs. There are ways to manage what’s going on. I don’t feel so lost. But you have to stick to your guns. It’s very hard.

PD: What’s easier? Learning 30 pages of script or dealing with a 2-year-old who won’t eat?

JA: The 2-year-old! The script is easy. The 2-year-old is always the problem, not in a bad way. It’s like you totally care. I care about her more than anything else in the whole world.

PD: What TV shows does she like?
JA: “The Backyardigans,” “Yo Gabba Gabba.” I’ve seen every “Gabba” episode at least 30 times.

PD: Yeah, they love to do the over and over, but, you know, I’ll take that over “Barney” any day.
JA: I’m scared of Barney.
PD: Me, too! He’s disturbing and the songs … Do you plan on having more kids?
JA: Yeah, at some point. We’ll see how it goes. I mean, we want more.

PD: Is Honor learning Spanish?
JA: We have people in our house and family members who speak Spanish to her all the time, but my Spanish is terrible. It’s like 1-year-old Spanish. She has a much broader vocabulary than I do already. It’s so good to open up their ears and minds to different languages. By the time they’re 3, their brains start creating prejudices about accents and tones. It’s just something that happens with brain chemistry. The more you can expose them to different sounds and languages before 3, the better. So, yeah, we’re totally trying to do that.

PD: Would you like to do more comedies?
JA: I really love doing comedies. It’s my favorite thing. We’ll see if I can continue doing comedies, hopefully. I don’t even know what my next job is.

PD: Does that worry you?

JA: No! I mean, I get to hang out with my kid, which is the funnest thing ever. I’m so happy with the way things are going because I don’t have to work all the time. I work a little bit and the rest of the time I’m with my daughter. For me, that’s so much better, especially until she starts going to school. I don’t want to miss spending time with her.

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