trey songz and female (texas chainsaw 3d)

Tania Raymondei and Trey Songz star in “Texas Chainsaw 3D.”

*When it was announced that  singer Trey Songz would play the lead character in “Texas Chainsaw 3D,” a lot of folks who didn’t know of him, naturally said “who?”

In fact some of those in the dark about the Grammy nominated singer were the suits at Lionsgate, the studio behind the film.

“People at Lionsgate were uncertain, saying, ‘We’ve never heard of him. We don’t know who he is,'” said John Luessenhop, the horror film’s director.

At that point,  Tim Palen, the studio’s chief marketing officer, Googled Songz, and found he was a two-time Grammy nominee with 5.6 million followers on Twitter and 14 million fans who “like” his Facebook page. Recalled Luessenhop: Palen immediately “goes, ‘Oh my God, cast him right now.'”

As the film’s robust $21.7 million debut proved last weekend, Lionsgate made the right call in settling on the 28-year-old Songz. According to exit polls taken by research firm Marketcast, one of three moviegoers under the age of 25 said Songz was a major reason they showed up to the poorly reviewed movie.

“Texas Chainsaw 3D” marked the first major film role for Songz, who plays the love interest of the movie’s leading lady, Heather (newcomer Alexandra Daddario). Though the part highlights his abdominal region as much as his thespian talents, reviewers — judging Songz against the low threshold for acting in horror films — thought he was perfectly competent.

So why Songz of all people you may be asking? Well, Luessenhop, who had helped Chris Brown and T.I. make the move from music to film, first encountered Songz while watching him perform during the 2011 BET Awards.

“He was lowered from the top of the stage and landed like some immortal,” Luessenhop said. “He was a good-looking guy with a good smile, but he also seemed like an accessible person. So I said, ‘I gotta find out who this is.'”

Get the full story at LA Times.

Watch this interview with Alexandra Daddario and Trey Songz