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Jessica Alba says playing a knife-wielding Jason Bourne type was always the dream — just no one had asked

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Netflix’s new action movie finds the Fantastic Four star fighting like Rambo. In a new interview, Alba says it’s what she’s always wanted to do.
Why did Jason Statham, hot guy model turned gut-buster, get to become Jason Statham, but Jessica Alba didn’t? Not only does Netflix’s new action movie Trigger Warning give the 2000s-era icon permission to hack and slash her way through machine-gun-toting goons, it reminds viewers that Alba should have been doing this all along.
James Cameron knew it, giving Alba her big break at the age of 19 by casting her as a super soldier on the run in Fox’s 2000 TV series Dark Angel. Hollywood immediately took notice — kinda? When Dark Angel wrapped in 2002, Alba broke into movies, playing a dancer with dreams in Honey; a stripper born of tragedy in Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City; Sue Storm, a character imbued with 1960s gender-role logic, in Fantastic Four; and a diver turned treasure hunter in Into the Blue, a role that seems to revel in the fact that its lead actor could logically wear a bikini for 95% of the run time. Alba felt the ogling. “The scripts I get are always for the whore, or the motorcycle chick in leather, or the horny maid,” she told Page Six in 2005. “I don’t think this is happening to Natalie Portman.”
Over the years, a few filmmakers caught on to Alba’s true physical potential, which went beyond good looks. Rodriguez let her character Nancy go on the attack in the sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. In 2015, in what felt like a heel turn for a hero arc she never got, Alba played a high-kicking villain in the action comedy Barely Lethal. She even joined Jason Statham in Mechanic: Resurrection, where she lands a few punches (while in a bikini). Still, no one has seemed to see Alba for what should could really be: a devastator, a slayer, and a worthy peer of the Expendables.
Trigger Warning lets her rip as Parker Calvo, a Mexican American Special Forces soldier who returns to her hometown to investigate a string of crimes connected to a larger arms-dealing operation and corrupt local politicians. Parker wants to set things right — and get revenge for her father. It’s a setup for grungy action that Alba, no surprise, conducts with extreme brutality. Polygon talked to Alba and Trigger Warning director Mouly Surya, an Indonesian filmmaker making her English-language debut, about breaking out again. With knives.
Polygon: Jessica, it was a thrill to see you in Trigger Warning. But it made me wonder, around Dark Angel or Sin City or Fantastic Four, were people talking to you about making a down-and-dirty action movie? Clearly there were male stars who were getting those offers.

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