ROBERT PATTINSON: BITTEN BY FAME
The actor attended our interview at the Four Seasons hotel in Los Angeles dressed in casual jeans and a short sleeved shirt over a t-shirt. His hat, covering his almost-orange hair, and the electronic cigarette he smokes between answers catch attention. He’s tired; this is his thousand interview in a long day of talks with journalists, after a promotional weekend talking about his role in the final movie of the Twilight saga.
It’s to be admired that Rob puts all of those factors aside, smiles while he chats with me and always tries to give a sincere, smart and unique answer.
Talk to us about Edward in this film. A lot has happened since you began playing him.I’ve had to deal during the whole series with fundamental means, and at this point, I think Stephenie [Meyer] had already gotten over that aspect of his personality. The moment Bella turns into a vampire, they’re both fine. She’s the best vampire-human turn that has ever happened, so he has nothing to worry about, and nothing happens to the little girl they have together, she’s a great daughter. I think one of the differences in this movie is that he’s more excited over things. He has something that motivates him, and that’s always interesting to play. Finally, he doesn’t have to worry about anything, he knows he has to protect his daughter, but he doesn’t doubt how to do it for a second. It was very attractive to play him as a secure person, a complete change.
Are you going to miss the character or are you glad to leave him behind?I don’t know. If Stephenie had written another book after Breaking Dawn in which something crazy happened, I would like to play him. But you don’t long for something unless it exists [laughter and a mischievous look]. I never even imagined that the fourth book would be divided into two parts, because when I signed to make these films, they hadn’t divided the last two parts of Harry Potter. Nobody knew that the new tendency of making a series was dividing the last book into two parts [laughs].
I think shooting the last two films wasn’t easy…Filming them at the same time was tough, and, when we filmed this one, there were different direction units because there’s a lot of action sequences. We were filming things that none of us really knew how they’d end up fitting in the finished version. In the first version of the film, there’s a scene of the final fight, that’s supposed to be a secret, but everybody knows and it’ll last around 45 minutes. A really, really long fight scene. It took us two and a half months to shoot it in the studio with a green screen, fake snow and a lot of filming hours a day. We spent so much time surrounded by green that when we left the studio it all still looked green. It was crazy.
How has this saga changed you?
It’s interesting. A lot of people go nuts when they get to do a film with these characteristics. Especially in those moments where you completely lose your social life and end up with a new one. I was lucky to have had the same friends for ten years before all of this happened, and I had no interest in meeting new people [laughs]. So not a lot changed, really. You also need to try to not see people in a different way, and sometimes it’s very easy because you spend a few years in which the whole world asks you the same things over and over again. Not only journalists, people in general, people in your daily life, and even strangers, they all ask the same thing and it’s weird. Besides, you know that after they’ll be telling something about you and that’s an even weirder feeling. So you need to concentrate on reality again and again [laughs].
Do you see yourself doing a franchise again soon? Or do you prefer stand alone films?If it’s a good franchise there’s no problem. Every film that’s being done now ends up being a franchise [laughs], but I have to tell you that there’s something beautiful in distributing a film with a big studio behind it; there’s a certain guarantee that people will see it. You’re going to have a good team of people working. In that sense, I like the way studio’s systems work.
We’ve seen Kristen Stewart reach certain prime professionally, precisely because of this system. Have you become braver and have you been taking more risks by her side?A lot more. I remember when they sent me the script for ‘Cosmopolis’, we were about to start filming ‘Breaking Dawn’ and I asked everyone whether I should accept it. I knew I liked it, but strangely I didn’t know what to do. I asked Kristen to read the script and she told me: “What the hell are you talking about? You have to do this! It’s Cronenberg!” [laughs]. That influenced my decisions, of course. Kristen is living proof that you can be successful only doing things that she finds specifically interesting. She never makes decisions thinking about her career and it’s something that works more and more as time passes. It’s good that this method works for someone.
Did the Cosmopolis experience change you?Just getting that part changes you a lot, and not having to force anything to play it. I can’t believe that I haven’t done a film since then. It’s ridiculous. It’s making me a bit crazy.
How long have you not been working?Practically a year, but in that time I’ve had to promote like four films [laughs hysterically], which is also ridiculous. I feel like that’s my whole job because it’s all I do. Before, I thought having a Twilight movie after every project would make me be less afraid. But, as soon as this is over, you realize that it’s not easy to make decisions. I think, in part, it has to do with the fact that I’m getting older. Now I can do different things, I start to fit into different roles and, of course, I can’t play a high school student [laugs].
So it hasn’t been an intentional pause…There was a while where I couldn’t find anything at all. And, suddenly, a few months ago, I found a bunch of things, all at once. But none of those projects started until the fall. Fall, spring and summer are full, four movies at once, but it’s taken me a long time to be able to organize it. I really want to start working again.
Mission: Blacklist, which is about the US soldier whose interrogations led to finding Saddam Hussein, is actually your next project…I think so. The director’s in Iraq, staying in the same palace where the guy we’re making the movie about stayed. He’s sending me pictures. It’s crazy. We’d like to film in Iraq, but it’s going to be very difficult because of safety. I wonder if Afghanistan would make a good Iraq double [laughs].
Is writing something that attracts your attention? What kind of books would you like to be the author of?Surely something like ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ [laughs hysterically]. I would really like to do that and invert the roles: making the woman the one who punishes the man. It’d be so much fun. Something like ‘Misery’, but really he loves to be in that situation.
You’ve been chased by the shadow of fame for years. Do you do anything to avoid all public attention?
Nothing works. Sometimes you try the typical things like a hat and sunglasses. It ends up being a thing of where you go to, it has to be places where people wouldn’t expect to find you. Sometimes that works, but not always. Once I went to an Indian reservation in New Mexico, there was a little town in the middle of nowhere with 200 or 300 habitants, I got out of the car and literally five minutes later someone was approaching me and saying: “Robert?”. I couldn’t believe it. But normally the only annoying thing is paparazzi or anyone who follows you. It’s irritating. When people really like you, that’s great. You don’t get tired of that. I’d say 90 percent of people that approach me are a bit intimidated. They tell me things like: “My three year old cousin is a really big fan.” They’re never the fans [laughs].
Our talk ends with this new showing of humbleness from the actor. A lot of things have changed in his life since he put on the pale make-up of Edward Cullen for the first time, but it looks like fame hasn’t gotten to his head.