We’re Talking with Jessica Alba
and Sofia Vergara: Animated Hotties
by Lynn Barker
Jessica Alba, whom you might remember most recently from her role as a mom and spy in Spy Kids: All the Time in the World and as the invisible woman Sue Storm in the Fantastic 4 films, and Latina sizzler Sofia Vergara from The Smurfs movie and TV’s “Modern Family”, team up to voice the roles of badgirl boss of Mission Control Lena Thackleman and TV anchor Gabby Babblebrock in the 3-D animated space adventure/comedy Escape From Planet Earth.
Both actresses had fun recording their voice roles and we got a few personal life tidbits from them along the way. Picture Jessica gorgeous casual/chic wearing a multi-colored Dolce and Gabbana jacket over beige blouse and light-wash blue jeans. Sofia’s rockin’ body was poured into a black, form-fitting dress by Helmut Lange and those poor feet in about 6 or 7-inch heels! First we cornered Jessica….
AGW: We thought, “Oh, Jessica wants to do this for her family” and then we found out how bad (your character) was.
Jessica: (laughs) Oh. It’s still something my kids can enjoy (Jessica has two young daughters).
AGW: Did you want to play a villain?
Jessica: Sure, why not? 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.
AGW: Do they have more fun?
Jessica: Yeah. I got to be crazy. They definitely edited me down.
AGW: There are strong women characters in this film whether good or bad. Did you notice that when checking out the script?
Jessica: 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, the women are much stronger than they used to be. They aren’t really the damsel 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.
AGW: As a mom now, does that affect the roles you take?
Jessica: Sure. Well, I used to work basically eleven and a half 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. We have about eighty 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 and I don’t do as much. I’m much more picky with the roles I take.
AGW: What is the name of your company?
Jessica: 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.
AGW: The movie is full of many different aliens from a load of different worlds. Do you believe in life on other planets?
Jessica: It would be weird to say that we know there is absolutely none here or in any other universe. I’m not sitting there waiting to be abducted though.
AGW: Did they show you a drawing of Lena before you recorded the voice?
Jessica: It was maybe a sketch, an idea of what she might look like but not the final. Every session I went in for, they had more of the movie done.
AGW: 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?
Jessica: I had no idea how far to push it. I think, by the third (recording) 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.
AGW: Would you fly Richard Branson’s proposed space liners? His Virgin Atlantic planes are pretty posh.
Jessica: It would be a very luxurious trip to space. They do it right. He’s an awesome entrepreneur.
AGW: Have your kids seen this film yet?
Jessica: My older daughter (Honor, age 4) has, yeah. She’s really into it. She really liked it and, 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”. “Yeah, I know”.
AGW: Does she realize what you do for a living yet or is it still vague for her?
Jessica: For her, mommy going to work is like her sitting in a trailer and me in “Spy Kids” or this movie or 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 record your voice for animation again based on your first experience?
Jessica: Oh totally. It was so much fun. Of course.
Next on to Sofia Vergara who, in her cool Latina accent, voices TV reporter/anchor Gabby, a gorgeous alien gal and girlfriend of lead alien superhero Scorch Supernova voiced by Brendan Fraser.
AGW: Hi Sofia. Did you like voicing Gabby? This isn’t your first voice role is it?
Sofia: No, I’ve done Happy Feet 2 which was great and in ‘Smurfs’ I was a person, not computer-animated but it’s fun. This one is a quick thing because they told me three days before “Do you wanna do the voice for this character” and I was like “Yeah of course, why not?” So I went from the set of ‘Modern Family’ and did it in two hours, it was really easy. ‘Happy Feet’ was a different thing because it was in Australia and all the actors were in one booth. Working with Robin Williams and Hank Azaria was great. This one, I was just alone, I did it and I left.
AGW: You have an older son so you didn’t do this for your kids. What was cool about it?
Sofia: I did it because the cast was great and why not? It’s a beautiful movie for kids. It was only two hours. I didn’t have to travel and I thought it was really cute.
AGW: And you get to marry the hero and walk down the aisle in a cool dress on this one.
Sofia: I did, but (as Gabby) my (fanny) looks huge! (Laughter)
AGW: Did you model your character after any particular journalist?
Sofia: Not really, since I had to do it so quickly. I really didn’t have time too much to think about it. I just didn’t want it to sound too much like Gloria (her character on “Modern Family). That was my main concern. T.V. Journalists don’t talk normal and I tried to do that (anchorwoman voice) a little bit so people didn’t think “Here’s Gloria giving the news”.
AGW: We asked Jessica this too. Do you believe in life on other planets?
Sofia: I believe in everything. I think you can never say no because it’s so surprising. I’m 40 years old now and things that I didn’t believe in when I was young I think how dumb I was. Why not, it’s a huge galaxy.
AGW: Are you interested in space? Do you like to look at the stars?
Sofia: I love it. I grew up in Colombia where the cities are not that big (less light at night) and polluted so you get to see a little bit more.
AGW: Your character falls for the hero instead of the brainy dweeby guy, which do you prefer?
Sofia: The hero. The muscle guy. (Her guy Nick Loeb fits this beefy guy description).
AGW: You and Nick went to the Superbowl. How fun was that?
Sofia: We weren’t really rooting for any of the teams because our team is the Giants but we really went just for the experience of being at the Superbowl and he went to college at Tulane which is in New Orleans and he wanted to show me Tulane. I had been to New Orleans but not to that area where he went to college and all we did is eat.
AGW: Was there a favorite New Orleans delicacy?
Sofia: Beignets (like donuts with powdered sugar). You’re supposed to have one with your coffee. First sitting, I had five. They’re big. And then the next day we went to one where [they were even bigger] and I had three. I felt the whole time like we can’t keep doing this. Once the feeling of being full would go away we were like where are we eating next?
AGW: And you stay so slim? How?
Sofia: I don’t do it all the time but vacations are (dangerous). Everything is healthier in L.A. but when I’m in New York, I try and compensate by working out a little bit more. My bad thing is desert so now I try and eat healthy with lunch and dinner, like chicken, or a little mashed potatoes and vegetables but desert. I save the calories for the desert.
AGW: What do your fans ask you?
Sofia: The girls always ask “What do you eat? How do you stay in shape? What do you wear?”. That’s one of the reasons I wanted a K-Mart (fashion) line for that demographic and then they always ask on Twitter “Will you marry me? Or “Will you go with me on a date or send me a kiss?”
Uncredited photos copyright and courtesy The Weinstein Company, 2013
This film is rated PG
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