Who Should Play Rihanna in Her Eventual Biopic?

The singer has an idea.

by Claire Valentine

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 10: Rihanna celebrates Fenty Hair Brand Launch in LA at Nya Studios o...
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Rihanna is a woman of many talents—singer, actor, dancer, mother, “Mother,” beauty brand mogul, hair care purveyor, clothing designer, fan gaslighter, stunt queen, street style star, social media troll, and so much more. It’s only a matter of time, then, that the artist will one day have a movie made of her remarkable life, from auditioning for Jay-Z as a teenager in Barbados to becoming one of the youngest (and only) self-made female billionaires in the world today.

Who then could fill such unique shoes? Previous fan ideas for casting have included Zendaya, Willow Smith, Dear White People’s Logan Browning, and Yara Shahidi. Lord knows there are plenty of Rihanna doppelgangers who could fill in for the singer. But Rih herself has shared exactly who she’d like to play her in a movie about her life.

When asked the question by E! News at a Fenty Hair launch event on June 10, Rihanna immediately named Taylor Russell, with a sly reference to her own famously large forehead. “Because she's got a nice forehead and she's fly and I feel like I want to be her, so I want her to pretend to be me,” Rihanna explained of her reasoning.

"I want people to see me in that light," she added. "Just gorgeous, she's stunning."

Taylor Russell at the 2024 Met Gala

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Russell certainly has the acting chops to play Rih—she first broke out when starring in Netflix science fiction series Lost in Space (2018-2021), and gained further recognition for her roles in 2019’s Waves and Luca Guadagnino’s freaky horror/romance Bones and All, which she starred in opposite Timothée Chalamet as a tragic young cannibal trying to find her mother. She can also dance, having transitioned from being a trained ballerina to acting at 18. As for style—the 29-year-old Loewe ambassador has her own cult following, having mastered the art of stealth wealth dressing (with her own particular twists) both on and off the red carpet. And she certainly understands the high-profile dating life Rihanna has enjoyed (endured?), having most recently been linked to the world’s boyfriend, Harry Styles.

For what it’s worth, biopics are decidedly in at the moment, and given the increasing possibility we’ll never get a new Rihanna album, a jukebox musical might be the best we can hope for.