It has been some time since we have seen Jessica Alba main a movie — in 2018, she pivoted to deal with her billion-dollar sustainable model The Trustworthy Firm, which she stepped down from as chief artistic officer in April. However in her newest film, “Set off Warning,” Alba not solely returns to the display; she additionally makes a uncommon look as a Latina lead of an motion flick.

Within the film, which was launched on Netflix on June 21, Alba performs Parker, a US particular forces commando stationed abroad who takes a visit again to her hometown after studying her father has died (which she later discovers was attributable to a homicide). The “Darkish Angel” and “Sin Metropolis” actress, who additionally labored because the movie’s govt producer, says she made certain each element behind her Mexican-American character was as genuine as attainable.

It is no secret that Latines are main moviegoers and but stay underrepresented on-screen. In line with UCLA’s 2021 Hollywood Range Report, Latines accounted for less than 5.4 p.c of film leads and 5.7 p.c of actors in any onscreen position that 12 months. Once we dive into particular genres that many Latines get pleasure from — like horror, rom-coms, and motion movies — the illustration is even decrease. However Alba’s return proves how a lot we have to see extra of this.

“I really feel a whole lot of the instances if you see ladies on this style; we’re both the damsel in misery or we are the male model of a badass lady — fairly impassive [with] fairly stoic one-liners, sporting fully impractical garments in motion,” Alba says. “And I simply really feel prefer it was so good to play somebody with wild hair who wears classic [clothes] and cowboy boots, and it simply felt very female and really human. Like somebody who might be your neighbor and your buddy.”

The actress, who’s half Mexican, says she took from her personal experiences to convey all these layers and cultural nuances to Parker’s character. Viewers can see it mirrored in every part from the music—just like the traditional folks music “La Llorana” featured within the movie—to the clothes decisions.

“There are particular films the place I really feel like our tradition is represented, and plenty of the place it isn’t carried out proper.”

“Once we have been speaking about it, I used to be actually like, the music simply needs to be proper. There are particular films the place I really feel like our tradition is represented, and plenty of the place it isn’t carried out proper. I used to be like, I simply need this to really feel and simply have that little little bit of taste in order that it feels actually proper with what is going on on proper now,” Alba says. She provides that she made a Pinterest board of the vibe she was going for with Parker’s garments, and the costume designer, Samantha Hawkins, and the director, Molly Surya, helped convey the entire imaginative and prescient to life. “Between the three of us, we actually bought to form her and provides it that good sort of grittiness and realness.”

However there was maybe a deeper motive Alba’s efficiency feels so convincing. The film facilities on loss, and if Parker’s grief and devastation appear actual, that is as a result of Alba herself was grieving the lack of one among her personal relations when she was capturing the movie.

“Weirdly, my grandfather handed away across the time that I used to be capturing the film, so I used to be genuinely grieving him, and it was a really cathartic expertise to have the ability to do a whole lot of that reflecting and grieving alongside Parker,” she says. “A variety of my household photographs are literally within the film, so I actually did get to infuse a little bit of my household within the film.”

You’ll be able to particularly see Alba’s contact as govt producer in a single scene the place Parker finds herself navigating an uncomfortable dialog with an ultra-conservative and racist senator performed by Anthony Michael Corridor. He mocks the time period Latinx whereas giving Parker a move for being a likable Mexican amongst many within the city.

“I do not know the way that scene got here to life precisely, however I liked it, and it took on a lifetime of its personal with Anthony Michael Corridor, and I used to be sitting in that seat … in like all of Parker’s ancestors’ earrings and clothes as a result of it is all classic and lived in,” she says. “And for this ding dong to take a seat there and attempt to cut back us and sort of be so disrespectful in an offhand approach, all of it landed. This factor sort of all clicked with that scene. It was like this can be a taste I had by no means seen in a film.”

The movie, which has been positioned as a franchise starter, made Netflix’s No. 1 spot over the weekend — proving that genuine storytelling is resonating with audiences. And whereas Alba isn’t any stranger to motion movies and doing her stunts, “Set off Warning” really aligns along with her longtime dream of turning into a Latina motion hero.

Johanna Ferreira is the content material director for PS Juntos. With greater than 10 years of expertise, Johanna focuses on how intersectional identities are a central a part of Latine tradition. Beforehand, she spent shut to 3 years because the deputy editor at HipLatina, and she or he has freelanced for quite a few retailers together with Refinery29, Oprah journal, Attract, InStyle, and Effectively+Good. She has additionally moderated and spoken on quite a few panels on Latine identification.