Rihanna Almost Performed With Baby Puppet In Unusual New Movie
Spoiler alert! Contains minor plot details of “Annette” (now in theaters).
“Annette” is already the craziest film of the year.
Directed by French filmmaker Leos Carax (“Holy Motors”) with original songs by the Sparks brothers, the tragicomic musical (now in theaters, airing on Amazon Prime on August 20) follows the tumultuous relationship between an abrasive stand-up comedian, Henry (Adam Driver) and his wife, opera star, Ann (Marion Cotilliard). After a night of scorching passion – with half-oral sex chants – Ann gives birth to a baby girl named Annette, who is portrayed by a slightly unsettling (but still pretty cute) wooden puppet.
Without revealing too much, Annette inherits her mother’s vocal talent and – spoiler alert – becomes a global singing sensation when she is still very young. And if Carax had been successful, the puppet pop star’s rival would have been played by none other than new billionaire Rihanna.
Meet again:Even a great Adam Driver and cool Sparks tunes can’t save the very weird “Annette”
In early 2017, Variety announced that Driver and Rihanna were set to star in “Annette,” in what was supposed to be the lead roles. A rep for the “Needed Me” singer later told Pitchfork that she would not appear in the film at all, despite reports that she had been committed to the project for several months.
“It was a little part written especially for her,” Carax told USA TODAY of the planned cameo. “She was supposed to play Rihanna. When Baby Annette first rose to fame, there was a duet between the puppet and Rihanna. But then Rihanna feels overshadowed by this baby.”
Rather than finding another superstar to replace Rihanna, the hoped-for scene was cut from the film altogether.
Rihanna, who has played roles in “Ocean’s 8”, “Battleship” and “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”, is not the only celebrity A who could have appeared in “Annette”. Rooney Mara and Michelle Williams were both in talks to play Ann before Cotillard’s arrival. Meanwhile, Carax first watched Joaquin Phoenix for Henry, but the “Joker” actor was “too shy” to meet him, according to Indiewire.
The long gestation “Annette” marks Carax’s first English feature film and has both impressed and bewildered critics since its Cannes Film Festival premiere last month. (There are currently 70% positive reviews on the global Rotten Tomatoes site.)
When he started working on the film almost ten years ago, “the only name I (knew) was Joaquin Phoenix,” Carax says. “And then I saw (HBO) ‘Girls’ – that’s the only thing I had seen with Adam. I was like,’ This is wonderful, I have a great guy who is not famous.’ Of course, by the time we shot it, he was famous. But from the moment I saw Adam, it was Adam. ”