Interview: Keri Hilson Praises Vin Diesel, Talks Sci-Fi & 'Riddick' Action
David Twohy and actor-producer Vin Diesel bring back the highly skilled anti-hero, Richard B. Riddick, in Riddick this weekend, which marks a genre change for singer/actress Keri Hilson.
For fans of sci-fi fodder, The Chronicles of Riddick and its subsequent films have made an indelible mark in the cinematic world. Diesel, who plays the main character throughout this fictional universe, is extremely versatile and has a vast knowledge of how to kill almost any humanoid around the galaxy. He has escaped from certain death numerous times, become a king of the Necromongers, and in his latest adventure, he does all that and more with the skill and grace of a lethal predator.
As the film hopes to break the box office (in theaters today), our attention shifts from the muscle-bound actor to his colorfully cool co-star, Keri Hilson. We caught up with the Georgia-born talent yesterday (9/5) after screening the sci-fi action-adventure flick earlier in the week. While others would like to claim this as her "acting debut," the Think Like A Man star is taking a left turn in her film career where many would want her to go right...into films squarely aimed at an African American audience.
"This is my first go around with sci-fi," she tells VIBE.com exclusively. The 30-year-old songstress, who plays a prisoner aboard a ship full of mercenaries, has never done anything like this before. "I actually auditioned for another role," she admits. Without giving away too many spoilers, Hilson is a captive of Santana (Jordi Mollà), leader of the group of mercs who respond to an emergency beacon launched by Riddick. When asked about her interest in the project, given her noob status as a sci-fi aficionado, she cited Vin Diesel as the main reason, saying, "Working with Vin was an absolute pleasure. He's been able to do so much with his own career; wear so many different hats, and he's proven to be every bit of a genius one would think him to be." "David [Twohy] followed Vin's lead and confidence in me, as an actress, and actually created this character for me and wrote it into the script."
Watch Keri Hilson work it out on the set of Riddick below:
With her role in place, the questions shifted to what other science fiction movies piqued her interest. "I've never seen any sci-fi films before this. In preparing for the audition, I went back and watched all of the Riddick films, and my agent referred some films to me," Hilson admitted. So, we offered a suggestion to help her get more in tune with the sci-fi world, "You should check out Joss Whedon's Firefly television show," to which Ms. Keri Baby responded, "Absolutely!" As we doubled-back to the subject of the film, the curiosity of what she emotionally invested into her role came to the surface. "I mustered up different ways on how I felt imprisoned in my life. I dove right into a really dark place where those tears the audience sees are undoubtedly real."
"I enjoyed my scenes with Nolan Funk and Jordi Mollà," Hilson said. "We had a great time. I had a really good experience." As we wrapped up our chat, we asked Keri what she would do if she was gifted with Riddick's eyeshine ability. Her response? "I am usually strong with my spiritual discernment. I'd use the ability to see through the darkness of the industry, and focus on the lightened path that is full of positivity."
Riddick, which is theaters today (9/6), won't be the last audiences will see of Keri Hilson. She'll be starring alongside heavy hitters Mekhi Phifer, Omar Epps, and Cory Hardict in Destined, an upcoming drama directed by Qasim Basir.