Leo Carax’s film Annette made a big impression at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, with its melodrama-soaked storyline, zany puppetry, and an original rock opera score courtesy of American art-pop duo, Sparks.
Now, Carax has revealed that Rihanna was originally meant to play a small part in the musical drama.
Annette stars Adam Driver as a manic comedian who falls in love with the glamorous Ann (played by Marion Cotillard), a world-renowned opera singer. After a steamy night of musical sex numbers, Ann gives birth to the titular character Annette, a child sensation who also happens to be portrayed, unsettlingly, by an Annabelle-style puppet.
Speaking to USA Today, Carax explained that Rihanna was supposed to make a cameo as the puppet’s pop star rival at one point in the film. “She was supposed to play Rihanna. When baby Annette becomes famous, there was a duet between the puppet and Rihanna. But then Rihanna feels upstaged by this baby,” he said.
In early 2017, Variety reported that Driver and Rihanna were set to star in Annette, in what were assumed to be the leading roles. A spokesperson for the singer dismissed this, and Carax, instead of replacing her role, cut the scene entirely.
Annette premiered earlier this year at Cannes Film Festival where Carax won the award for Best Director. The film is Carax’s English-language feature debut.