Jessica Alba is the first to admit her day job holds more challenges than most.
“Whenever I would have to run on moving vehicles, from one roof to another, that was when my heart would beat very quickly,” she says.
“Or when I would rappel from the roof of something, down the tops of the ceilings of a warehouse, my heart would pitter-patter.
“And when I would drive a motorcycle 40 miles an hour without a helmet, that was scary too”.
However, after two and a half years of stunt training under director James Cameron (on sci-fi series Dark Angel which turned 19-year-old Alba into a household name), she says she’s not only comfortable with such stunts, but even enjoys them.
Now teaming up with Gabrielle Union for a second season of Bad Boys spin-off LA’s Finest, both actresses say their careers so far have helped shape them for the show.
Union, who reprises her Bad Boys II role of Syd Burnett, explains: “We’ve done so many action-packed projects in our past.
“We just needed a bit of a refresher course and to learn some of the specifics of how LAPD clear a room, hold their weapons and all that. We were ready and prepared, we were like, ‘Let us go!'”
And thanks to social media, Alba jokes, now “people can ‘at’ you and tell you when you’re getting it wrong too”.
Risking life and limb while getting into a sweat may be all in a day’s work for them both, but they admit it’s nice to play characters with a little more to them than just good abs.
Alba explains: “We look at LA’s Finest almost like a superhero origins movie, where you get to see how and why these women became the complex, flawed, interesting series heroes that we see them as.”
Union is more to the point: “I tend to not get asked to play dingbats. I tend to be sought after for women who are leaders. Frigid more than anything…
“And that’s a snooze after a while.”
They agree the detectives they portray – Syd and Nancy (names already noted in history thanks to another famous double-act) – have backstories that make them a little more fun to play.
With both women juggling their acting career with other gigs, it’s an essential requirement for any role.
For Union, she’s busy keeping Mel B’s seat warm on the latest series of America’s Got Talent while the Spice Girls tour the UK.
She insists Simon Cowell, her new boss, is both a “sweet, sweet man” and “a softer, gentler guy” since becoming a father.
She’s currently entertaining herself on the show by sneaking new T-shirts into his dressing room, on a mission to introduce colour into his monochrome wardrobe.
Meanwhile, mother-of-three Alba is a businesswoman on the side.
She admits, balancing The Honest Company (an online supplier selling ethical household and beauty products) with her other roles isn’t always easy.
“I feel pulled in many different directions mentally.
“When I’m trying to remember pages of dialogue and to be emotionally present for what’s going on, and then also have to switch to business mode and have that in the background. It’s tough.”
With plenty to keep her busy, Alba can be forgiven for finding light relief in her acting.
As she says: “I feel like it’s nice to have a departure from my responsibility as a parent.”
It’s a sentiment many working mums will share, even if that departure doesn’t necessitate running on moving cars and scaling buildings.
LA’s Finest premieres on Wednesday 10 July at 9pm on FOX.
Source: SKY NEWS