Back in the mid-2000s, Jessica Alba was poised for superstardom. She was unequivocally gorgeous onscreen, even in unforgiving superhero spandex. She'd proven her range with an attention-getting role in the gritty prestige flick Sin City; and she took approximately five minutes to bounce back into camera-ready condition after giving birth to her daughter, which has to be some kind of record. Yet by 2010, Alba had all but disappeared from Hollywood. Here's why.
1. She had trouble landing great leading roles
Hollywood hasn't always had the greatest track record when it comes to casting diversity, so you'll be saddened but probably not shocked to learn that Jessica Alba, despite being a serious beauty, was limited in her choice of roles by her not-so-white-bread appearance.
"They couldn't figure out my ethnicity, so I would always go up for 'exotic,'" she explained in a recent interview. And while Alba thinks that the current crop of mega-stars of all different skin tones has changed that state of affairs for the better, she faced an uphill battle to be considered for the kind of meaty, challenging roles that earn accolades and launch careers.
2. Nobody remembers her movies
Instead of having multiple mega-hits under her belt, Jessica Alba's biggest claim to fame is probably her role in the first Sin City film, where she shared the screen with a huge ensemble cast that included mega-stars like Bruce Willis and Clive Owen. And while Alba held her own in that role, people don't really remember her—possibly because they were too distracted by Nick Stahl's very disturbing attention-grabbing performance as a serial killer with skin the color of radioactive pee. Can you remember anything else she's been in? Oh yeah, there was that whole superhero thing…
3. Her MCU movies were an embarrassment
At a time when the Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the biggest sources of employment in Hollywood, it's still strangely a hit-or-miss venture when it comes to reliably increasing an actor's star power. Some starlets have struck career gold in the superhero market, like Scarlett Johansson. But Alba had the particular bad luck to be involved in the one Marvel story nobody can get right. The 2005 Fantastic Four in which Alba played Sue Storm at least got a sequel, but that doesn't mean it was good. Ever since, Alba has been stuck with the decidedly un-marvelous memory of a superhero franchise so bad it almost made her quit the biz.
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