Jessica Alba just became a new mother again and just before the release of Spy Kids: All the Time In the World 4D she met with reporters while 8+ months pregnant to be sure she could promote the film.
She plays a new mother in the film too. The fourth in writer/director Robert Rodriguez’s kids film series, which introduces new spy kids, stars Alba as a spy who doesn’t let motherhood stop her from saving the world. When she gets into trouble, her stepchildren have to step up to save her.
There was a time when Alba could have played the spy kids, and she reflected on starting out as a child actor. Perfectly subdued and relaxed, Alba celebrated the movie she made for today’s kids. Spy Kids: All the Time in the World 4D opens Friday.
Q: Thank you for being here. We’d all understand if you weren’t.
Jessica Alba: I really need to use this “I’m pregnant” excuse. It didn’t really fly with this one.
Q: Acting with kids can be a challenge, so is acting with a baby in a Baby Bjorn another level?
JA: Yeah, I mean, you have to get the scene done as quickly as humanly possible while the baby’s in a good mood. So you have to do everything in two takes and hope to God you got every angle you need.
Q: Did you bond with the twins who played the baby?
JA: Yeah, they were really sweet. They were very, very sweet. They were good kids. They were very sweet kids.
Q: How did you feel when Robert Rodriguez asked you to play a spy mom?
JA: Well, I just thought that I could be the mom of an infant but it seemed weird to be the mom of grown kids like that. I was like, uh, I think I’m a little too young for that.
Q: Did you have any more contributions on the set with your motherly instincts?
JA: Yeah, every scene where I’m interacting with the kids or the baby. I definitely had an opinion. And my interactions with Joel, I definitely brought my own real life opinions and circumstances.
Q: Could you have had that if you weren’t a mom yet?
JA: No, not at all. I don’t know if I even would have done a kids movie if I wasn’t a parent.
Q: Did you have a trainer on the set making sure you don’t eat one too many hot dog?
JA: Luckily I’m not a big hot dog eater. I mostly eat organic food. I don’t have a diet per se but I try not to eat things that are too processed. No, I probably should’ve worked out or something because it probably could have been a little more muscley or tight. Luckily I was wrapped in long sleeved leather so it hid any imperfections, which was nice. And when you have a big baby strapped to you, that’s always good camouflage.
Q: Can you relate to the theme of the movie about time and spending more with your family?
JA: Yeah, for me it’s certainly as a parent trying to take advantage of every moment and knowing how quickly they reach each milestone and how fast kids grow up. All of a sudden you’re like wow, that flew by. So just really enjoying them. I can totally relate to that.
Q: If your children wanted to be actors, would you encourage them?
JA: Mm-mm. I started acting when I was 12 but I just don’t see the need to put a child in a situation where they’re working with adults or being asked to work. I think they should just be kids.
Q: But you wanted to be an actor.
JA: I wanted to be an actor when I was younger but I grew up in a completely different circumstance and had a different life that I would have led if I didn’t. I wanted to travel, I wanted to see the world. I had opinions about things and I wanted to express them and that was my outlet, but I’m a different type of parent than my parents are and my kids are going to have just different circumstances that I’m going to be able to provide for them. I love being in the arts, so when they’re finished with college and they want to do that, totally. I think the more life experience you have, the better you are at whatever it is that you do.
Q: Are there things you feel you missed out on during your teen years, that you want to be sure your kids get to do?
JA: No, no, because I had a tough time. I was a military brat, my dad was in the Air Force, before I started acting so I was already living this nomadic life. I just grew up completely differently than how my kids are going to grow up. Although they may have a little bit of a nomadic life because I will be taking them to sets and what not, but no, it’s just different.
Q: Do you feel you’ve had a normal childhood?
JA: No. No, I grew up really, really fast. I definitely had a ton of responsibility really early. I was very adult at a really, really young age.
Q: Sometimes kids become financially responsible for the family. Did you ever experience that or witness it with your friends?
JA: I can only really talk from my experience. My dad always had a job but I did have a two income household that I came from and my mom had to stop working in order to take me to set, so if I wasn’t working and giving her some sort of income to provide to the family, then I couldn’t act anymore because they needed both. They were very young when they had us so there was a little bit of pressure to make sure I get a job and if I didn’t get a job then I wouldn’t be able to act anymore and I loved it. It was my only outlet and the only place that I felt like I belonged because socially, with kids my age, I just really didn’t fit in ever.
Q: Did you feel any resentment, or want to call the shots as the breadwinner?
JA: It wasn’t really like that. My parents instilled good values. We respect our elders. I didn’t really have that type of thing and I felt very grateful that my mom was cool enough to let me do it, because I really, really, really wanted to. It was tough for my dad because he wanted me to just go to school and wanted me to get a good education. My mom allowed me to do it and convinced my dad it would be okay.
Q: Do you have a good relationship with Robert as a director?
JA: Yeah, as a friend we have a good relationship and as a director. I really respect him and I love working with him. He inspires me so we definitely have a shorthand. He’s wonderful.
Q: Are you coming back for the Machete sequels?
JA: I don’t know. If he writes me in I guess I will.
Q: Can you share a fun moment from the set?
JA: You kind of have to just be there.
Q: Are you inviting us to come to the set?
JA: Sure. Come to set, come to Texas. [Laughs] Robert’s really generous with allowing guests to come to set. He met a guy on a plane one time, I think something where this guy traded his seat because Robert’s tall and this guy wasn’t so tall. So Robert asked him if he could trade seats, they traded seats and he brought this guy to set and he was like, “Oh yeah, this guy I met on the plane, he let me trade seats with him and here he is.” I was like, “That’s so sweet.”