Rihanna fans have been hearing about her big-screen debut Battleship for months now, but this weekend, they'll finally get to see what all the fuss is about. In other words, the Rihanna Navy -- as she calls her fans -- will see Ri-Ri in the Navy, portraying Petty Officer Raikes, a weapons specialist, in the big-budget sci-fi action thriller.
Rihanna may be tough, and even have a gun tattooed on her body, but that didn't mean she was a gun expert or that she knew what it was like to be in the military. That's why she prepared for the role by training with a real-life U.S. soldier -- and she trained hard. "He really ripped me apart," says Rihanna. "The training, the drilling, the gun training...he didn't want me to make a fool of myself or a make a fool of the Navy. He wanted me to make sure it looked like I knew what I was doing."
Also helping Ri-Ri get in character? The presence of Jackie Carrizosa, the sailor who served as technical adviser for Rihanna's character, teaching the singer weapons handling, military lingo and even how to stand properly. Praising Carrizosa as "bad-ass chick," Rihanna says, "I watched her. I had her in my trailer all day long. I listened to the same music she listens to, and I really just lived and breathed in her mindset, and tried to really get into her character." The singer notes, "I was playing what she really does in real life."
As for what attracted Rihanna to this type of role, she says she wanted something on the opposite end of the spectrum from who she is in real life. "It was a moment for me to be someone completely different from what people are used to seeing of me," she explains. "That's what was exciting to me -- for people to really respect me as an actress and look at me as Raikes and not Rihanna in the film."
Battleship, based on the children's board game, is a sci-fi action thriller about a battle between an alien race known as The Regents -- who come to Earth to establish a power source in our ocean -- and an international naval fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor. The film hits theaters Friday, May 18.
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