Besides facing the normal challenges of the summer box office, “Battleship” has a cast full of young actors, like Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker and pop superstar Rihanna trying to prove their skills in a big-budget movie. In the case of Rihanna, many skeptics turned their nose up at the idea of the singer making the crossover to acting, but her director on “Battleship,” Peter Berg, told MTV News at New York’s Toy Fair that she was a natural. “She was great,” he said. “She has a very strong part.
Berg insisted that Rihanna’s casting was not as unorthodox as many may have thought, citing a whole host of singers who act. He has even had personal experience helping performers make the transition.
“I’ve always believed in musicians as actors. I had great success with Tim McGraw in ‘Friday Night Lights’ and ‘The Kingdom.’ Musicians have been acting since Frank Sinatra won an Oscar for ‘From Here to Eternity,’ ” Berg said. “Barbra Streisand, Kris Kristofferson, the late Whitney Houston, I thought, was tremendous in ‘The Bodyguard.’ As recently as Mariah Carey in ‘Precious,’ she was great.”
The director thought it was only a matter of time before someone cast Rihanna in a film; he just wanted to be first.
“I was surprised no one had ever thought to hire Rihanna,” he said. “I was a huge fan of her videos. Obviously she’s sexy, but she had this real intensity. I’m like, ‘Someone’s going to get her.’ “
When Berg initially met with Rihanna to talk about “Battleship,” it was her attitude that made a lasting impression on him.
“When I met with her, she came in a T-shirt and jeans, no makeup, very natural,” he said. “She was like, ‘Look, I want to be an actress. Don’t kiss my ass. Don’t lie to me. Push me. Treat me as you would any other actor. Help make me good.’ She is really, really good in ‘Battleship.’ “