Jessica Alba ‘Can’t Say Enough Great Things’ About 1 Controversial Director

Actor Jessica Alba has worked with many famous Hollywood directors, from Robert Rodriguez to Garry Marshall. But it’s actually someone she collaborated with on a TV series many years ago who has earned the distinction of becoming her mentor. Discover why this person has acquired a less-than-favorable reputation.

Jessica Alba broke out as the star of ‘Dark Angel’

Jessica Alba attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on February 09, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California.
Jessica Alba | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Alba started acting as a teenager in the ’90s. After appearing in small roles in films like Never Been Kissed, she starred in the sci-fi Fox series Dark Angel as the lead character, Max Guevara, a teenage supersoldier enhanced by the government working to survive in a post-apocalyptic 2019.

Following the series’ cancelation after two seasons, Alba went on to star in films such as HoneySin City, and the Fantastic Four franchise. Appropriately, she returned to TV in her first main cast role since Dark Angel in 2019, starring in the action crime series L.A.’s FinestSeason 2 premiered on Fox in September 2020. 

James Cameron created the series

James Cameron and Jessica Alba at the world premiere of 'Dark Angel' on September 25, 2000
James Cameron and Jessica Alba at the world premiere of ‘Dark Angel’ on September 25, 2000 | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Dark Angel came about at a time when there were several female-driven sci-fi/fantasy programs, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, populating TV. However, the series was unique for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that it marked the first (and, to date, only) scripted show James Cameron has created.

The writer, director, and producer is best known for not once, but twice holding the spot for the highest-grossing film of all time: First with Titanic, then later ousting himself with Avatar. Cameron is also known for helming the Terminator movie franchise, as well as the sci-fi sequel Aliens.

Alba called the director her mentor

Jessica Alba and James Cameron attend the Covenant House California Awards Dinner: A Magical Night Of Hope at Skirball Cultural Center on June 9, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
Jessica Alba and James Cameron in 2011 | Amy Graves/WireImage

Despite having not worked together in years, Alba had kind things to say about Cameron in 2020. “I just have so much respect for someone like Jim that rallies hundreds of people every day on a set around his vision and gets it done,” she said on Hot Ones. “He really is one of my mentors still — very much an inspiration for me.”

The actor then explained how she admires everything the director has done in terms of changing the industry, including the 3D cameras that he built for Avatar. “I just love his curiosity still,” Alba said. “And he really wants to make an impact. I can’t say enough great things about the guy.”

Why is Cameron controversial?

James Cameron attends the premiere of 20th Century Fox's 'Alita: Battle Angel' at Westwood Regency Theater on February 05, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
James Cameron | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

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Over the years, Cameron has earned a reputation, with some simply deeming him challenging to work with while others use much harsher language. Kate Winslet famously told the Los Angeles Times she “was genuinely frightened of him” during the filming of Titanic, though the two worked together on the upcoming film Avatar 2.

Additionally, author Orson Scott Card, who worked with Cameron on The Abyss, said in a 1999 Q&A that working with Cameron was “hell on wheels.” He added that the “selfish, cruel” director “made everyone around him miserable, and his unkindness did nothing to improve the film in any way.”