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The Real Reason Jessica Alba Hated Making Fantastic Four

Jessica Alba is far from finished as an actress, but we can't help noticing that, in recent years, we just aren't seeing as much of her as we used to. While she has a couple of movies out this year, her career has descended from the high-profile heights of her superhero and Dark Angel days. Part of the reason she stays out of the spotlight now has to do with the day-to-day triumphs (or struggles) she's faced over the last few years with her lifestyle brand, the Honest Company. But for a little while, in the wake of the very visible disasters that were the first two Fantastic Four movies, it sounded like she might be done with showbiz for good. What was so bad behind the scenes that Alba almost walked away?

The scripts were just lousy

Alba has suffered through more than her share of serious critical busts, but the Fantastic Four movies seemed to be the last straw. Venting about all the bad scripts she'd accepted over the years, Alba told Elle, "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."

The reaction to those comments was swift. Screenwriter John August took her to task for her perceived rudeness, writing: "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." Still, it's telling that August failed to put Fantastic Four director Tim Story on his list. Maybe he recognized that Alba might've been at least a little bit justified.

They made her feel worthless

There can't be anything more demoralizing to an actor than being asked not to do your job. But that's exactly the sort of treatment Alba says she received during the filming of the widely panned Fantastic Four sequel, Rise of the Silver Surfer. During one scene where she was supposed to be emotional, director Tim Story reportedly berated her, saying, "It looks too real, it looks too painful." He went so far as to tell her, basically, to stop trying to act so much. According to Alba, "He was like, 'Don't do that thing with your face. Just make it flat. We can CGI the tears in.' And then it all got me thinking: Am I not good enough? Are my instincts and my emotions not good enough? Do people hate them so much that they don't want me to be a person? Am I not allowed to be a person in my work? And so I just said, 'F— it. I don't care about this business anymore.'"

The movies were ripped apart by critics

"An overinflated B-movie with no grace, no subtext, no wit, and featuring beefcake/cheesecake actors." "Terribly miscast." "The movie should almost be ashamed to show itself." There's no two ways about it—far from fantastic, these movies were horribly received, especially compared to genre contemporaries like Spider-Man 2, Batman Begins, and X-Men. The reviews were particularly unkind to the actors, calling their performances thin, their characters two-bit, and generally writing off their hard work as a waste of everyone's time. All that hate all at once would be enough to make anybody doubt their career choices. For her part, Alba has shown a lot of self-awareness when it comes to the quality of some of her pictures. "I know I haven't been swimming in the deep end with some of the movies I've done," she admitted. "I wasn't trying to. I knew what they were." Honey, so did we. But the criticism still stings. In the same interview, she shared her fear of being picked apart so viciously. "I'd been so afraid of criticism ever since I was young. Every time I'd get a critique or some redirection, I'd always just take it very personally." Is it any surprise she'd want to walk away?