UGO: I’m pretty out of it when it comes to pop stars, but even I know who Rihanna is. (For a while I thought she was related to Fleetwood Mac’s Rihannon, but I was wrong.) But here’s something you may NOT know – she’s really nice and approachable and down-to-Earth. I’ve yapped with a lot of superstars and she was one of the cooler ones.
When you came to work today, did you know that you were going to “cluck” like a chicken?
Rihanna: No, neither did I know that when I got to set.
Is that a Peter Berg thing?
Rihanna: Peter Berg? He’s crazy. He really is, and so spontaneous, so nothing is memorized, it’s a real reaction every time, and I couldn’t ask for a better director to work with on my first film.
Did he warn you it was going to be crazy?
Rihanna: Warn? Who does that? Who warns you that you have to jump into the middle of the ocean and pretend that you’re drowning? Who does that? Him? Never.
What made you choose this film as your first?
Rihanna: It’s weird how it happened, I walked into a meeting, I know I had a meeting, but usually my manager would be there to prep me and say, “Okay, this is what we’re doing, this is who we’re meeting, this is why we’re doing this meeting.” What it’s about?
She wasn’t there, and I walked in. And [Peter Berg] just walked out and said, “Hi, come in” and I’m like, “Where is Christa, my manager? Where is my manager?” She wasn’t there, and I walked in and all I saw were these little alien mock-ups, these little dolls. And he just started saying, “Yeah, these are the thugs, he’s a thug.” “Uhh, okay,” I laughed and then I realized that he wasn’t laughing, and I was like, “this is weird. Why are there pictures of aliens all over this room?” And it was just crazy because he was just really super enthusiastic about it, and he was so sure that I could pull it off and I didn’t even know that he was the director of the film, I didn’t know anything. I didn’t know what I was doing, where I was going, why.
And after I read the script I was really, really impressed and I wanted to be a part of it. Plus it was a role I felt like I could handle for the first time I’m acting.
You play a badass chick in this film, did you watch anything to do research?
Rihanna: We worked with real military people, you know, people in the Navy, people who have fought in Iraq before. They pretty much came and drilled me. This one man, Donald, he pretty much drilled me, yelled at me, cursed me, “Ow!” Made me do pushups. Everything, like—my best friend was there the second time we worked together, and I said to her, “Okay, I’m about to do acting class, but you’re going to want to kill this man, so just stay in the bedroom. Don’t listen to anything he’s saying to me right now, just don’t kill him, Melissa, just stay in the bedroom.” And I remember she just kept walking around, and she would just glance at me, “Are you okay? Did he just say ‘fu*k you’ to you?” But I mean it really got you in the mentality, that’s the things they really go through, you know, when they first sign up. It’s not a walk in the park.
Were you tempted to leave when he was tough on you?
Rihanna: No, I really want to say, “Fu*k you” right back, but then he probably would have thrown me through the window! I was so scared I just stood there and looked at him like, “I swear I’m going to get it right, I swear, I swear, I swear I’ll be good.”
Would you say there’s any correlation between being on stage and performing like this?
Rihanna: It’s completely different, It’s night and day, It’s night and day, I don’t even want to think about being on stage right now, It’s so different. Being on stage, it’s a whole new world that I’m a little more comfortable with. This is a whole different perspective, I mean it seems the same, it’s not even the same as shooting a video. It really isn’t.
How did you like wearing the uniform?
Rihanna: It’s really cool, it’s easy. You don’t have to think about what you want to put on, or how cute you look.
We’re not going to see you in an evening gown?
Rihanna: [She] has balls, what evening gown?!
There’s no celebration at the end?
Rihanna: Even if she could, she wouldn’t. She’s not that girl.
Do you have any love scenes?
Rihanna: She doesn’t like boys. She doesn’t like girls either. She’s just about her weapons and her work.
So I guess you have to hide your “Love” tattoo?
Rihanna: Yeah, I got to hide all my tattoos.
Did you ever play the game “Battleship” when you were a kid?
Rihanna: No, actually in Barbados that doesn’t even exist, yeah so…
Have you played it since?
Rihanna: No, but they gave me the board game. I came here and they had a whole set of toys in my trailer, including the game.
Maybe before the end of production you’ll get to play?
Rihanna: We’ll definitely, maybe tonight actually, we’re actually supposed to have a little hang out tonight so maybe I’ll pull out the “Battleship” board game. They won’t be ready for that.
Do you say “You sunk my battleship!” in the film?
Rihanna: No, that’s not my line. Yeah, no one sinks my battleship.