7 Movies You Forgot Rihanna Was In

In the realm of singers becoming serious actors, there are some notable success stories. Cher won an Oscar for her role in Moonstruck; Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar for Dreamgirls. Queen Latifah began as a rapper and is now a full-blown movie star. Watching The Social Network, I briefly forgot Justin Timberlake ever was in a boy band.
With her role as a hacker extraordinaire in the upcoming blockbuster Ocean’s 8, it seems Rihanna is considering the prospect of adding “movie star” to her roster of accomplishments — and we're here for it. Technically, Rihanna has been appearing in movies since 2006. Her acting career started off questionable –Razzie award-level questionable — but has been on the come-up since.
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When Rihanna appears in a movie, she brings her image of an empowered, badass woman along with her. Here's how her presence impacts every movie she's in.
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Bring It On: All or Nothing (2006)

Bring It On: All or Nothing came out just as Rihanna was becoming a massive pop superstar. The movie's premise capitalizes on Rihanna's burgeoning fame; the winners of the cheer competition will get to appear in the music video for "Pon de Replay." At the end, Solange Knowles' Camille and her team win the competition (we hope this won't be the only time in history that Knowles and Rihanna appear in a video together).

While this counts as a movie credit, Rihanna was still playing herself. It would be be six years before Rihanna acted as a fictional character in a movie.
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Petty Officer Cora Raikes in Battleship (2012)

Rihanna's acting career didn't get off to an auspicious start. Despite taking her role seriously — she trained with an actual member of the Navy — Rihanna earned an infamous Razzie for her work as Cora Raikes, a weapons expert, in this sci-fi action movie.

Even if Battleship didn't garner her praise, it was a major on-screen opportunity for Rihanna. She was hand-selected for the role by the movie's director, Peter Berg, who became convinced Rihanna could act after seeing her on TV. "I saw her do this stupid little skit on Saturday Night Live where she was in a classroom giving a hard time to these boys. She was funny as all hell! I knew in that moment that the girl could act. No question," he wrote in an essay for GQ.

With its cheesy script, Battleship didn't give Rihanna much of a chance. Her first line was, “What’s wrong with you, drama queen?” Was her performance to blame for the Razzie, or was it the bad script? In 2002, Mariah Carey won a Razzie after her first screen performance (she starred in the semi-autobiographical movie Glitter). But her career wasn't over. Carey later appeared in Precious (2009), an acclaimed film.
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This Is the End (2013)

This Is The End begins with a Hollywood A-lister party right out of your most vivid social climber dreams. Emma Watson is partying alongside Seth Rogen, Kevin Hart, and Jonah Hill. Then, the literal Biblical apocalypse breaks out, dragging people to Hell.

But before the rapture happens, Rihanna has a tremendous on-screen performance. At the party, Michael Cera slaps Rihanna on the ass. She turns around and, without missing a beat, slaps him right in the face. The role shows off her comedic timing.
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Annie (2014)

MoonQuake Lake, starring Rihanna, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, is a fantasy romance movie about a man who falls in love with a fish-creature from the moon – and you've definitely never seen it. That's because MoonQuake Lake is a movie-within-a-movie in the 2014 revival of Annie, starring Quevenzhané Wallis. Rihanna bares her fangs as a ferocious Moon Goddess. Like This Is The End, her appearance in Annie is a play on her pre-existing star power. It's only funny because of who she already is.
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Bates Motel (2017)

Okay, so it's not technically a movie, but it's part of Rihanna's acting oeuvre. Season 5 of Bates Motel gave Rihanna a chance to recreate one of the most iconic characters in movie history: Marion Crane, she who is stabbed in the shower in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Bates Motel puts a spin on the classic scenario. In this version, Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) lets Marion leave the motel. He kills her lover, Sam Loomis (Austin Nichols), who was married without her knowledge, instead.

The choice to cast Rihanna is emblematic of how much the role of Marion Crane changed between movie and TV show. The co-creators didn't just want a copy of Janet Leigh, who originally played Marion. "Fundamentally, it was not going to be possible to make Marion Crane an empowered woman of 2017 if she just died in the shower," co-creator Carlton Cuse told Vulture. "Rihanna really embraced our idea of redefining the character." After hearing that, Cuse said Rihanna was "all in."
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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

Rihanna's role as Bubble in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planetsi almost resembles Rihanna's fake MoonQuake Lake role. In both, Rihanna is a mystical woman living on an alien planet. Bubble, her Valerian character, is a stripper able to perform otherwordly feats, like rapid costume changes and gravity-defying spins.

As it turns out, Bubble is actually a blue blob (an illegal space immigrant0 forced to take the shape of an alluring woman for her employer). Valerian (Dane Dehaan) helps her escape. Later on, when Valerian earnestly tells Bubble, "You are the greatest artist the universe has ever known," we believe him.
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Ocean's 8 (2018)

The all-women cast of Ocean's 8 is almost too glorious to believe — and the fact that Rihanna's in it makes it even more glorious. Rihanna plays Nine Ball, a professional hacker.

Rihanna made sure her character's look reflected her background. "Her locs would maintain that tie to Africa. She'd keep her accent," Rihanna's hairstylist, Yusef Williams, told my colleague Khalea Underwood. "She wasn't just going to be some American girl in this movie. Nine Ball is still a Caribbean girl that just happens to be in America."

Ocean's 8 gives Rihanna a chance to shine, perhaps more than any other movie in her past has.
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