Rihanna Interview For Peter Berg’s ‘Battleship’
Peter Berg (Hancock, The Kingdom, Friday Night Lights) directs and produces ‘Battleship,’ an epic-scale action-adventure that unfolds across the seas, in the skies and over land as our planet fights for survival against a superior force. ’Battleship’ stars Taylor Kitsch as Lieutenant Alex Hopper, a naval weapons officer assigned to USS John Paul Jones; Alexander Skarsgård as Hopper’s older brother, Stone, Commanding Officer of USS Sampson; global music superstar Rihanna, making her motion-picture debut as Petty Officer Second Class Cora Raikes, Hopper’s crewmate and a weapons specialist on USS John Paul Jones; Brooklyn Decker as Sam Shane, Hopper’s fiancée and a physical therapist specializing in the rehabilitation of military combat veterans; Tadanobu Asano, as Captain Yugi Nagata, Commanding Officer of the Japanese destroyer Myoko and Hopper’s archrival; and Liam Neeson as Hopper and Stone’s superior (and Sam’s father), Admiral Shane, Commander of the Pacific Fleet. Inspired by Hasbro’s classic naval-combat game, ‘Battleship’ is scheduled for release April 11th in the UK and May 18th in the US.
I remember a while back you said you wanted to take some time out to make a movie. This is something that you’ve been wanting to do for a while?
Rihanna: Yeah. It has been something we’ve been working on for a long time, but the right part never came up. I met with Peter Berg and I didn’t really know much about the part. I didn’t even know the meeting I was going into. I was supposed to meet with my manager but she got there really late. So I walked in and asked if she was there and they were like, “No,“ and Peter walked right in and said, “So, these are the thugs,” and he was pointing at the alien characters, the little demos of them. There were tonnes of them and pictures all over the room. I was dying laughing (laughs). Every time he said, “Thug,” I was cracking up laughing because I had no idea about what he was talking about. It wasn’t until the end of the meeting that I realised he was the director of the film and what the film was about. But he had me in there, saying, “I’m going to get you motherf*cker!” He had me saying the craziest stuff right on the spot. Then he said, “Yeah, I think you’re perfect.” That’s how it went down. I got the script and I loved it.
How did this experience of making a movie live up to your expectations?
Rihanna: It’s been beyond my expectations! It definitely was a great way for me to get my feet wet. It was such a big film and it was scary to even get involved, knowing that because it’s my first film. But Peter was very very good at calming my nerves. His energy definitely filters through the set, the crew and the cast. You feel comfortable and before you know it, you’re saying lines that weren’t even in the script. On my first day I had twelve lines that I was never prepared for. But he threw me into it like that. You don’t even think about it really. It was an incredible experience, so I’m looking forward to doing more films in the future for sure. I had an incredible time, it was really nerve-wracking at first…it was a brand new world, it was a big challenge. But I Iove challenges, and Peter Berg, he was great, he made sure I done some of the stunts – that was definitely one of my favourite parts. This experience I can imagine being pretty unique as well because we had real Navy vets onboard. It was special having them there and teaching us along the way.
How were your nerves coming onto the set as opposed to when you walk out on stage to sing for your fans?
Rihanna: There’s no comparison, I cannot even compare the two. I’m way more familiar when going on stage. I still get nervous every time, but the fear of the unknown is indescribable. I had no idea what I was getting into and I didn’t know what to expect. It was a huge set, with so many people – all these huge cranes and cameras! I mean, it was scary, it was really scary and then there was little me trying to get through everything and hoping that they wouldn’t call me today (laughs). And right away, it was like, “Boom, you’re up, and you have lines, say this!” But it was awesome. Peter was really good about throwing me into it, so I had no time to think about it.
Can you talk about working with Jackie, your trainer, because I gather you became quite close friends?
Rihanna: Yeah, she’s in the Navy and she’s actually a weapons officer so she’s like the real-life Raikes. I hung out with her a lot. I spent a lot of time with her in Hawaii, hanging out, watching her body language and listening to her iPod. She taught me a lot about weapons and how to handle them, about drills and how to do the right salute. She was definitely very close to me along the way and I wanted to embody her attitude and her character. She’’s very tough, very very tough, and an intimidating girl but she’s beautiful. You would never think that.
She described you as a natural bad-ass…
Rihanna: (Laughs) Really? That’s good. She’s a real bad-ass!
This is a physical role, how did you find the physical training? How did you react to that?
Rihanna: I did some personal training of my own before we got to set, with a real soldier. The soldier was definitely scary, scary, scary (laughs). He got in my face. He really got to me to an emotional place where I could feel what it took to get where this character was. It wasn’t just surface, there was a lot more depth to it. I was a lot more connected to the character when I went to play the part. It was intense but it was necessary.
What are you most excited for the audience to see?
Rihanna: The action and the graphics. The CGI is incredible. I’m just seeing it from being in the audience myself, because this is my first film. So when I watch it, it’s like brand new. When you film it, it’s nothing like when you see it. And I was blown away. I’m really excited to see it, it’s action-packed but it’s really really fun.
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