There can be no bigger moment for a pop star than when they attempt the move from chart botherer to movie star. Transitioning from ‘that video where they had to look mildly sad whilst miming to ‘Bye Babes, Totally Sadface’’ to Actual Acting With Talking And Everything isn’t easy.
Take Rihanna. In her pre-‘Umbrella’ videos there was no attempt to be anything other than herself. Post that very fine tune, however, she upped her acting game. It began with the video for ‘Rehab’ in which she pouted around a leather-faced looking Justin Timberlake. Later we would see her re-enacting a snuff flick (‘Russian Roulette’), a punch-drunk on love relationship (‘We Found Love’) and a rape revenge (‘Man Down’) with varying degrees of plausibility.
So now comes her proper big screen debut, Battleship’. The trailer suggests a one dimensional sci-fi romp, confirmed by the rather worrying words that come in the first few seconds “From the company that brought you Transformers”. I think we can universally say ‘eek’ to that.
Rihanna’s character seems to be one of the naval officer drones who will probably meet a ghastly end two thirds of the way through the film. Dressed down, in camouflage onesie and a flat cap, this is her chance to do some Real Acting. So how does she fare?
What it says: “What the hell is that thing coming out of the water?!”
What it means: “I’m available for the sequels and I can act really well against a green screen. This scene was actually shot in a parking lot. In the middle of a circus show. I said my lines via Skype whilst performing ‘Only Girl In The World’ in Abu Dhabi.”
What it says: “My pursed upper lip means I’m a SURVIVOR who probably says: 'GODDAMNIT' quite a lot.'”
What it means: “My range is just fan-tas-tic. My acting coach and I are currently studying Chekhov’s The Seagull. The character of Irina would totes do a lip curl like this.”
What it says: “A sideways glance suggests doubt.”
What it means: “I can act in an ensemble and in conditions other than a simulated storm on a naval ship. Does anyone have Paul Thomas Anderson’s number?”
In summary? If nothing else the trailer is proof that Rihanna has a lot of good screen work in front of her. As long as they are all Battleship sequels.