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Peter Berg Says He Cast Rihanna In "Battleship" Because Of Her "Urban Swagger"

by Tambay A. Obenson
December 9, 2011 1:00 PM
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“I spent a lot of time in the Navy thinking about who would make sense and who would bring an urban swagger to this character,” Berg explained of his idea to cast Rihanna. “Put a call in, had a great couple of meetings, and she’s a great girl, really hard-working, very smart, wants to be good, really strong work ethic, no attitude, no diva nonsense. She was great.”

Director Peter Berg on casting Rihanna in next summer's Battleship - the upcoming Universal Studios big-budgeted, live action adaptation of Hasbro's naval combat board game.

Umm... ok.

You've seen the teaser trailer, and whatever "urban swagger" Rihanna possesses, as Berg suggests, wasn't evident; partly because she's barely in it; if you blinked, you'd have missed the one quick shot of her.

Hey Mr Berg, how about you forget about "urban swagger" and just cast an actor next time; I hear they're becoming extinct these days, but you can be one of the few industry revolutionaries.

Rihanna and her "urban swagger" will be strut into movie theaters May 18, 2012.

[The Playlist]

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  • hannah pettit | May 9, 2012 3:35 PMReply

    I don't know why you have to be such a bitch about rihanna being in this movie. She deserved the role and she got it. Get over it.

  • Ilikemeverymuch | January 20, 2012 9:54 PMReply

    Most of the good singers/actors are either dead now or are in their late 50's, 60's. I really could count the good YOUNG ones on my fingers. Todays "artists" have computers instead of talent, face it. And sorry, Rihanna ain't a good artist. Watch her live performance with Bono from U2. Just saying. Only good actor as I saw in the trailer dies pretty fast (Liam Neeson).

  • xedos | December 15, 2011 11:00 PMReply

    The black America hate for successful Caribbean people continues

  • Ghost | December 9, 2011 10:52 PMReply

    Screw hustle this was a casting to get "us" to watch and guess what we won't be watching some stupid film based on a videogame.

    You can get all the whose hot folks you want but that does not mean they will go see the film. Her casting in this film will mean more bootlegs of the film will be in the hood.

    Just because folks know who you are doesn't mean a thing. You put $250 million into this film and she was the best you could get for a black female lead? For a film that features a guy from Star Wars, Friday Night Lights and True Blood?

    Or could it have more to do with one of her exboyfriends having a movie come out on the same day?

    As for the folks you listed-how many of them started out on tv shows? Or started in lower budget films? In other words they PROVED they proved they could act adn weren't given a role because some stupid studio keeps thinking this type casting pays off. In most cases it doesn't.

  • hi hater | December 10, 2011 2:46 PM

    JMac, Pearl Bailey was considered a mediocre actress back then. She couldn't "really" act. Her performance in All the Fine Young Cannibals is lackluster at best. Dorothy Dandridge wasn't known as a great singer (more known for being a sexy singer), but had a fan base to get her into movies, hence my point. There wasn't any actor on earth who refused to be in an Elvis film...where are you getting that misinformation?? Madonna was hired for Deperately Seeking Susan & Die Another Day because she was an internationally recognized singer, just like Rihanna today. Black people do not remember that Jon Bon Jovi was hired for this month's film, "New Year's Eve" (NOT A MUSICAL) and Cher was hired for Silkwood, Moonstruck, and Mask (NOT A MUSICAL). That's fine, but let's deal with racism that is blatantly obvious; this is no where near it. It's a business decision. The fact that I don't know who "Tasha from the L-Word" is makes it clear to me why Peter Berg decided not to hire her.

  • JMac | December 10, 2011 1:45 AM

    Ooh, let me get some of this. HH, you're harkening back to the day when stars were STARS with some people on that list. If you couldn't act, sing, and dance [I mean really] chances are you weren't getting a job in film. Regardless, each person you named were in films - often cheap films - that played to their strengths. No actor would've been caught dead doing an Elvis flick unless there was a whole lot of humor and sarcasm like Top Secret! Streisand's best roles all came from musicals. Madonna's always sucked and still couldn't pack theaters even after her Golden Globe awarded role in Evita (surprise! another musical). True, there are some exceptions to the rule of singer/rapper turned actor but if you examine it, you'll find most singers who were only singers [or I should say "entertainers" now] are only put in films where music is important. Those are the films that make money and pique interest. That makes sense. Putting Mary J. Blige in Rock of Ages makes sense. Putting Fantasia in a Mahalia Jackson biopic makes sense - although I completely disagree with it. Putting Rhianna in a Battlefield movie makes no damn sense at all. Now to me (and others apparently) it looks like black singers/rappers are getting more opportunities to ACT in shows or films where music is NOT important than white singers/rappers. [Exemption for Justin Timberlake - wait, no exemption because he was a child actor on the Mickey Mouse Club before N'Sync and his solo career.] I'll admit Diana Ross did well with Lady Sings the Blues (a movie about a singer played by a singer), if you admit Mahogany was a piece of crap. I know Billy Dee was in it and it was a rarity to see a non-blaxploitation black female lead film, but come on. Some things they can do, and others they should never be considered. As I've said before, if they wanted a black actress that could exude the "swagger" this nut is talking about, he could've used Tasha from the L Word. She's got a following, has the body, has the 'tude - even though this role may be a little beneath her if she's not given much camera time.

  • CareyCarey | December 10, 2011 12:24 AM

    HEY HI HATER (That rhymes, I should be a rapper) I just want to shake your hand because you brought the real thang. In fact, I just watched - today - the "singer/actor" Frank Sinatra in The Man With The Golden Arm. So when I saw your list of other performers who fall in this mix, I said to myself "this HI HATER knows what they are talking about". Listen, when you dropped Lena Horne, Elvis, Cher and Barbra Streisand, I stood up and said " Come on... say it loud"

  • Hi Hater | December 9, 2011 11:47 PM

    I have to disagree with that. How far back has history shown that singers will always have the upper hand over actors? Diana Ross has been in 3 of my favorite childhood think she got there because she was the best actress or because her manager (see: Berry Gordy) pushed her name to the front of the line? Then there's Lena Horne, Pearl Bailey, Tina Turner,Beyonce etc. Let's not even start to name whites because we can go to Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Chris Isaak, Bon Jovi, Cher, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Madonna, Dean Martin, and Justin Timberlake etc. No, it doesn't always work but it has enough times that studios will try over and over again. It's not a race-specific practice, otherwise someone would stop giving Justin Timberlake leading men roles when he is obviously NOT.

  • Hi Hater | December 9, 2011 8:34 PMReply

    I have no idea whether Rihanna will be any good. However, instead of criticizing for the umpteenth time, why not wait to see her performance? She's not a rapper; she's a singer so why are you all lumping her in with 50 Cent? And Mos Def, Tariq Trotter, Will Smith, Ludacris, and Queen Latifah can act better than most actors I've seen in auditions this year. It's not about black people being so stupid; it's about those rappers and singers having an edge because the public knows them already, not to mention most have pitbull agents that the average up-and-coming actor(see: Donald Glover) doesn't...I couldn't believe that Kid Cudi has a WME agent. They won't stop until their client is rapping, acting, selling clothes, AND branding liquor...the whole shebang. Don't knock the hustle folks.

  • Tamara | December 9, 2011 8:10 PMReply

    Urban swagger? Isn't she from Barbados? the part right near the beach? -_- He should've spoke truth: she has a large fanbase, I want to help attract her fanbase* to the film so that it can make even more money and blow the box office straight out the gate on opening weekend. The end.

  • Akimbo | December 9, 2011 6:05 PMReply

    I love that there was absolutely no mention of her "talent." The best he could muster was that she "wants to be good." Wish I could say the same for this movie.

  • Runyon | December 9, 2011 1:49 PMReply

    Well, who the hell knows? Perhaps Rihanna will shock the world by pulling out her brilliance and skilful acting in this film that none of us know she has.

  • coolcalm | December 9, 2011 1:40 PMReply

    On "cast an actor next time" comment in the article, directors have been casting non-actors since the dawn of movies and the only time anyone seems to complain is when they cast celebrity non-actors. I'm not saying that Rihanna will be anything more than mediocre, but I didn't hear anyone complain about all the non-actors in movies like City of God and Restless City, or Soderbergh casting that MMA fighter in Haywire. Berg just thought that Rihanna was the best person for that role, and time will tell whether or not it was a bad decision. And I'm not a Rihanna fan at all...

  • artbizzy | December 9, 2011 6:39 PM

    Coolcalm, are you, (like Peter Berg, obviously), one of those people who just doesn't see color? Just like Tyler Perry didn't see dollar signs when he cast Kim Kardashian in that film. Because, if you are one of those non-color seeing people, than your comment, to me at least, now makes sense.

  • Micah | December 9, 2011 4:36 PM

    Hiring non-actors occasionally when they are best for the part is one thing. What many of us are bothered by is the fact that they are far to quick just to but any rapper or singer that is popular in to a black role instead of an actor. In a cynical if not insulting way they are essentially saying what Sergio said just below.

  • Sergio | December 9, 2011 1:28 PMReply

    In other words: "Black people are SO stupid that they'll flock to watch any crap with a black person in it no matter if they've the completely wrong person for the role"

  • Zeus | December 9, 2011 1:05 PMReply

    urban swagger = BLACK swagger

    Peter Berg = asshole

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