John August Teaches Jessica Alba What A Screenwriter Is

When it comes actress Jessica Alba, I think we can all agree that she is not the sharpest tool in the shed. Sure, she’s pretty, but she’s also pretty dumb. Not Megan Fox levels of dumb, but still so dumb it turns out that she recently admitted in an interview with Elle magazine that she didn’t know what a screenwriter’s job was. Well, maybe she didn’t say it quite like that, but the gist was there. Don’t worry, though, Big Fish and The Corpse Bride scripter John August has stepped up to set Ms. Fox straight.

I have to believe she was misquoted, or excerpted in some unflattering way, because Jessica Alba couldn’t have actually said this:

“Good actors, never use the script unless it’s amazing writing. All the good actors I’ve worked with, they all say whatever they want to say.”

Oh, Jessica. Where to start?

Scripts aren’t just the dialogue. Screenplays reflect the entire movie in written form, including those moments when you don’t speak. Do you know the real reason we hold table readings in pre-production? So the actors will read the entire script at least once.

Following your logic, you’ve never been in a movie with both good actors and amazing writing. That may be true, but it might hurt the feelings of David Wain, Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller.

You’re saying your co-stars who delivered their lines as written are not “good actors.” Awkward.

You’re setting dangerous expectations. So if an aspiring actor wishes to be “good,” she should say whatever she wants to say? That’s pretty terrible advice.

Screenwriters can be your best friends. We are pushovers for attractive people who pay attention to us. I wrote that bathtub scene in Big Fish because Jessica Lange made brief eye contact with me. So if you’re not getting great writing — and honestly, you’re not — ask to have lunch with the screenwriter. I’ve seen you on interviews. You’re charming. That charm could work wonders.

Again: I know that quotes often come out in ways we never intended. It’s lacking context — though the photos are lovely. (Hi, Carter Smith!) I’m calling this out just so we can all hopefully learn something.

And here endeth the lesson for today.

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About Rich Drees 6600 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture.
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