Rihanna is the wrong choice to play an iconic role in ‘Bates Motel’

“Bates Motel,” also known as that creepy drama with the guy who played Charlie in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Gone are the days when Freddie Highmore played the awkward goofball. Now, he likes to indulge in killing people and dressing up as his mother.

As season 5 of “Bates Motel” returns, we see the TV series share a greater resemblance with Hitchcock’s “Psycho”, the iconic movie that inspired it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you will definitely know this famous shower scene.

A big pop star will play Marion Crane, the girl who gets killed in the shower. That star is a bit of a surprise — none other than Rihanna. She makes a two second appearance in the “Bates Motel” season 5 promo trailer.

“Only Girl in the World” is my jam, and as much as I love Rihanna and everything she stands for, “Bates Motel” is making a mistake by getting her to play such an iconic role.

I’m about to bash Rihanna’s talents. But, before the haters make an appearance, let me tell you why. What else is Rihanna good at selling other than music? Her sex appeal. Also, let’s get real for a second here — does Rihanna really have any acting capabilities?

Other than being the reigning queen of the resting b*tch-face and not caring about the general public opinion, Rihanna has been recently been getting a number of acting roles, for the big screen as well as the small. We all saw her fantastic outfits in the pictures from the “Ocean’s Eight” set, and while I’m excited for an all-female reboot of “Oceans,” I was not in favor of Rihanna being a part of it.

Rihanna does not know how to act. Her personality and sexuality is exploited by producers to garner a bigger audience. Sure, this is a money-making industry, but there’s no need to deny the thousands of struggling yet talented actors the opportunity to make a name for themselves.

“It adds diversity to television,” you might say. But don’t forget about the numerous actors of color who are still stuck playing age-old stereotypes. On a well-thought out show like “Bates Motel,” the TV elites are once again denying young new talent from entering while Rihanna adds another couple million to her bank account.

There’s no need for Rihanna to play a fictional version of herself. Her acting is like watching Rihanna be Rihanna onscreen. I am not denying the fact that she is immensely talented, but her talent and her genius is in her music. Rihanna has bombed a lot of film projects she has been a part of. Exhibit A: “Battleship.”

And to be specific, I have a problem with her portraying Marion Crane. Crane is a very important part of the essence of “Psycho.” Janet Leigh’s portrayal of Crane in the 1960s movie is what defined her career. In that aspect, if Rihanna screws this up, she is in danger of screwing up the legacy of “Psycho.”

Another aspect of “Bates Motel” I had always admired is the show’s readiness to bring in formerly famous, talented actors who have been flying the radar — Max Thieriot hasn’t been in the focus of the media since he played Seth in “The Pacifier” alongside Vin Diesel. For a show that values talent over publicity, to bring in Rihanna could only mean that they are in need of a series boost in ratings. This disappoints me, because “Bates Motel” in itself is a brilliant show. I never would have thought that getting Rihanna was just what the show was missing.

In spite of my bemoaning, this is definitely not the end of Rihanna’s acting career. Because as long as production houses look for profits, Rihanna’s screen time will float on the success of her music career.

Malvika Randive is a freshman writing and rhetoric major. Her column appears weekly in Pulp. She can be reached at


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