Rihanna Talks Battleship
Rihanna talks about her film debut in Battleship
Posted by Wilson Morales
May 1, 2012
Coming out on May 18th is the epic action-adventure film, ‘Battleship,’ which is based on the Hasbro Game: “Battleship.”
Directed by Peter Berg, ‘Battleship‘ is an epic-scaled action-adventure that unfolds across the seas, in the skies and over land as our planet fights for survival against a superior force. Inspired by Hasbro’s classic naval combat game, the film stars Taylor Kitsch as Lt. Alex Hopper, a Naval officer assigned to the USS John Paul Jones; Brooklyn Decker as Sam Shane, a physical therapist and Hopper’s fiancée; Alexander Skarsgård as Hopper’s older brother, Stone, Commanding Officer of the USS Sampson; international superstar Liam Neeson as Hopper and Stone’s superior (and Sam’s father), Admiral Shane, and making her film debut is Grammy Award winner Rihanna as Petty Officer Raikes, Hopper’s crewmate and a weapons specialist on the USS John Paul Jones;
At a recent Skype session with Blackfilm.com, and other journalists, Rihanna spoke about her film debut, working with Peter Berg, and making the transition from music to film.
What characteristics do you share with your character?
RIHANNA: I think mostly being one of the boys. I really liked that. I was used to that, growing up with my brothers, and all my cousins. It was rarely any girls around, and I guess I didn’t feel out of place.
Did all of your video acting help this process? Or was it totally new, learning marks and timing?
RIHANNA: I thought it would help. But little did I know, it was a completely different beast. It was brand new, and it was a whole different experience. It was a much bigger set. I had to use dialog and I never really use that in my videos; it’s usually just me acting to a track, a musical track. So that was different. Having an accent, too.
You guys shot portions of the movie on site of an actual Navy vessel. So in between those scenes, were you able to have any fun, like on, during your downtime?
RIHANNA: I think, I don’t know about fun. I was really locked in to the character. We went to the beach a couple of times, but most of the fun was on set, doing the actual shooting, and using the weapons. That was some of my favorite parts, all the stunts and the fighting scenes. Those were my favorite parts. So that, most of the fun was actually the work.
You could have chose any role to be your first movie. What attracted you to this role?
RIHANNA: I liked that it was something a little removed from my real life. And I liked that it was a part that wasn’t glamorous. But most importantly, it was a small enough role that I could pull off for my first movie. And working with Peter Berg as a director, I mean, I felt pretty safe. His enthusiasm was – it made me trust him. I believed that he could really pull it out of me.
Do you actually believe that there is intelligent life out in outer space? And if so, would you imagine you to be more hostile, or more peaceful?
RIHANNA: Yeah, I’m still very open on that matter. I’m not really sure, because I haven’t done enough research to really say how I feel. But – who knows. I would like to know. I really would, so I’m gonna do some homework, and maybe I could give you a better answer another time.
Can you talk about what you learned from Peter as your director, and working with Taylor?
RIHANNA: Well, Peter Berg, he’s very spontaneous and fearless. He, he pushed me a lot, and he threw me out there, right away from Day One. I didn’t even have a chance to really think about what I was doing. I was right out into the scenes. And the first day, I had no lines. So I didn’t have any lines prepared, I was just in character. And then all of a sudden, I was like twelve lines in, in my first scene. So I liked that, the improv. I had to learn that really, really quickly. Taylor Kitsch, I watched him a lot. I watched a lot throughout the shooting. Even when I didn’t have to shoot my scenes, I would kind of watch his scenes being shot, just to pick up on things and see how he interprets Pete’s instructions. And he was very helpful, too, throughout. In between takes, he would come over and give me little tips, because he really understood what Pete wanted me to get – which was good.
RIHANNA: I guess for me, singing is – it’s kind of like a diary; it’s kind of like – well, not kind; it’s my real life. And you play yourself every day, and you don’t have to think about it. And acting, you have to embody an entire character, right to the core. You, you have to get in their mindset. You have to think, kind of figure out how they think and they will react to certain things. I’m not used to that, so that was definitely challenging.
What are you going to miss most about playing your character?
RIHANNA: The guns. The weapons. That was my favorite part of shooting. I had a great time. I felt like the ultimate bad-ass, and I would have never had those experiences, had it not been for shooting this film. So that was definitely fun to play, play that.
What did you learn about yourself in the process of making this film?
RIHANNA: I actually learned a lot about myself. I mean, I had to delve into, you know, different emotions and things that I had been avoiding, I guess, not even knowing, you know. I guess I put up this face, and I don’t want people to see me, you know, weak or anything, or vulnerable. So I did that for so long that I kind of had to break that down. And it really taught me a lot about myself. So it, it was a great experience.
How did you prepare yourself for the physical aspect of the film.
RIHANNA: I worked with a soldier, and he was mean, I hate saying this about him, but he really was psychotic. He really broke me down. And he had no, no remorse. Like, it was just like I was a soldier right out there in war. And he wanted to have that emotional connection to the character, so – I mean, at one point I got so scared of him that every time he would come over to train, I would hide all my high heeled shoes. I would hide my pink iPod. Anything that was girly or out of character, I had to kind of just get it away. And that really helped. He trained me a lot, a lot of push-ups, a lot of sandbags and weights. And on set, I did a lot of training with a female soldier, who’s a real weapons officer. And she taught me a lot about weapons and drills, and my whole etiquette, body language.
Outside of the album, ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’, what was a big turning point for you in your life that made you go that way, or really be yourself, that helped you in this role for the film?
RIHANNA: I think that throughout your life, your experiences in life, every experience builds the person that you are. And I don’t know, I’m ever evolving. And it’s still changing, and it’s still, it’s still gonna keep changing and growing. You know, I’m growing up so I’m going – you know, experience some grownup life experiences. And sometimes it really makes you just see things for what they are. And you kind of realize what’s important in life. And that, that was like – that’s like a weapon for me. That makes me feel strong.
Did you get a chance to do any improv in the film? I did notice you sang a little while on the ship. So I was wondering, was that written in the script, or is it something that you did on your own?
RIHANNA: A lot of the dialogue and the in between things like that, the singing, really were spur of the moment. Pete made us do so much nonsense, like the Kentucky Fried Chicken scene. It was awful. He makes you do the craziest things. And you just never mind what he’s going to keep. So you just have to kind of keep your fingers crossed. But a lot of it’s improv. And he kind of just makes you go there, and he feeds you, feeds you in energy, gets you really angry and then make you say a line, and you tag back. And it was really helpful to play like that. It was a good learning experience.
How much did you know of the game before you did this film?
RIHANNA: I remember playing this game, very roughly. And I think it was one of the travel ones, just like you get in a Happy Meal, the paper one. So that was a very big memory. But when I got to set, you’d best believe they had tons of Battleship equipment, board games, toys. I couldn’t help but to learn about it.
In the press notes it says that you were completely different from your character. If Rihanna was on that boat, how would you personally have handled that situation?
RIHANNA: The exact same. What do you think? No, I mean, who knows. I might have jumped ship. That’s some intense stuff. Me see an alien? I don’t know what I, what would be my first instinct.
Alexander Skarsgard said that he really was impressed by your work, especially traveling back and forth from concerts to set. Have you thought about putting music on hold for a little bit, just to pursue movies?
RIHANNA: I don’t think music could ever be on hold for me, because it’s something that I love to do. So even if it’s – there’s not a deadline or a specific project, I will always feel empty not making music. I will always get that bug and – even right now, I’m still going a little crazy. Like, I can’t wait to go in the studio, just to play and play around with songs. And I can do that, because that, it doesn’t become work for me. So I am gonna make time to do some more films. I really liked my first experience with Battleship, so I’m looking forward to doing more. But I can’t say goodbye to music. I can’t say that’s what’s happening.