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Interview: Robert Rodriguez doesn't mind that Jessica Alba won't get naked

Director Robert Rodriguez , in the middle, talks to Frank Miller and Mickey Rourke. / The Weinstein Company Director Robert Rodriguez, in the middle, talks to Frank Miller and Mickey Rourke. / The Weinstein Company

In making a Hollywood-friendly adaptation of Frank Miller's gritty "Sin City" graphic novel series, Robert Rodriguez learned that some things have to go — namely some fan-favorite nudity. Case in point: Jessica Alba's character Nancy, a stripper who in the comics is very clothing-averse. In the film world of Sin City, though, some strippers keep their clothes on.

"You couldn't even find an actress of the caliber of what you wanted that would consider doing that. It was just walking around topless all the time, even when she wasn't dancing," Rodriguez says. "I knew Jessica wouldn't do topless, but I wanted her. It was that hard thing where I could have gotten someone who looks just like the photo but can't act, or we could get Jessica and we could cover her up."

Technically, Jessica Alba, as stripper Nancy,  is still fully covered. / The Weinstein Company Technically, Jessica Alba, as stripper Nancy, is still fully covered. / The Weinstein Company

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It's only a little awkward, of course, that Rodriguez is saying this while sitting near another of the film's stars, Eva Green, who has no problem going topless — and even sparked some controversy with a revealing poster for the film. "You always feel quite vulnerable when you're naked on the set, and you feel quite silly actually," Green says of the experience. "The green screen around you while you're in your tiny thong, it's not that sexy. So you trust the vision, and that it looks stunning. It's art. It's not vulgar, it's not indecent, it's not realistic. It's beautiful, I think."

But Rodriguez is more than satisfied with the nipple-free result of Alba's performance — especially since a lot of fans apparently let their imaginations fill in the blanks. "Some still think she was naked because she does it so sexy, and some things were exposed," he says. "They ask her about the nudity all the time with the first one. There wasn't any nudity. It was all in your mind."

Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter @nedrick

 
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