The vampire strikes back
As you’re neither Amish or a character from Lost (correct me if I’m wrong), we won’t do you the dishonour of introducing you to Robert Pattinson, 24 years old, the vampire that sparkles under the sun, the actor who was unknown two years ago but who conquered the Hollywood fortress and drives girls around the world crazy. You already know all that. You almost certainly know that The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (directed by David Slade, director of Hard Candy), comes out in theatres July 7th, a mere seven months after New Moon. The vampire saga which is now worth more than a billion dollars at the international box office isn’t ready to hang up it fangs as the fourth instalment, Breaking Dawn, is already announced for November 2011. Pattinson is getting tons of offers and is currently negotiating an important turn in his career: become the new Johnny Depp or join Orlando Bloom and Hayden Christensen in the frozen aisle section. As he was finishing Bel Ami, a Maupassant classic and getting to beginning filming Water for Elephants, a Francis Lawrence drama (I am Legend) with Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz, R-Pattz got caught by Premiere for an exclusive interview.
P: The last time we spoke you were filming New Moon. Now one year later we meet again for The Twilight Saga Eclipse. I have trouble following it’s going so fast…
RP: Only two months went by between the filming of New Moon and Eclipse, during which I filmed Remember Me. Everything, went by so fast that I feel like I never really left Twilight. That being said, I still felt lost when I arrived on the set of Eclipse. I didn’t have any preparation time and it took me a few weeks to adapt.
P: What did you expect from David Slade and was he different on set from what you imagined?
RP: I had absolutely no idea what to expect from a Director who was specialized in movies more for adults, who doesn’t back away from very explicit brutality. I sincerely wondered how this universe would merge with the Twilight universe, which isn’t known for its unbearable violence. David had very specific ideas of what he wanted to do, with a work method and approach that was totally different from Catherine Hardwicke or Chris Weitz.
P: For example?
RP: Eclipse introduces many new characters; the atmosphere is less confined than the others. Twilight was based on the romance between Edward & Bella, New Moon on the relationship between Bella & Jacob with Edward in the background. Eclipse allows each character to have his “moment”, the spectrum is larger. The film also has more rhythm; it’s less based on intimacy.
P: Knowing that there was a huge battle at the end between vampires and werewolves, did you sometimes feel like you were filming a war movie?
RP: You couldn’t have said it better; we went through training for almost a month before we began shooting to learn how to fight and do stunts. It was nothing remotely like the previous instalments, where rehearsals were rather basic. Now it was purely physical preparations. The funniest thing is that vampires and werewolves each had their training camp.
P: You had instructors that were yelling at you and ordering you to do push-ups?
RP: Constantly! To say that when I went to rehearsals I thought it would be like the 2 other movies: Kristen, Taylor and I rehearsing the script in a room… I was surprised.
P: The choice of David Slade as a director stunned and showed courage from Summit who produces the saga…
RP: I don’t know if it was intentional, but each Director that worked on Twilight had nothing to do with the previous one. Catherine and Chris had styles that were totally opposed, as artists as well as people. It’s the same with David, they all practice three movie styles that are very specific. It’s a good thing: I rather go to set and not know what to expect. I’m actually impatient to discover what Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) will do with the forth instalment. Once again it will be nothing related.
P: All this juicy stuff happens in Breaking Dawn: the sex scene, a birth scene where your character must perform a c-section with his teeth.
RP: I know! I wonder how they’ll bring that to the big screen. We’ll end up having to ban it for people under 16… Can you imagine if they decided to go full out and Twilight suddenly became this totally hardcore series for adults with nude scenes? Summit would suddenly become the most progressive studio in the world. It would be funny.
P: I’m sure Stephenie Meyers would love that. Fans have actually launched a petition to keep the book integrally and so the movie is prohibited to people under 16. As the major part of the Twilight fan base is quite young they’re basically protesting to get banned from seeing the movie.
RP: (Laughs) I’m sure they’d buy the DVD and would appreciate it even more
P: When you read the script of Eclipse which scenes where you more looking forward to film?
Up to now the majority of the scenes in Twilight were between Kristen & I. I was happy to be able to play my role with other actors. In the first two, I always found that Edward had something contained and reserved. In Eclipse, he freaks out a bit. Like that it seems simple but it’s the fact that he has less tact in this film. To the point where I sometimes felt I was playing another character.
P: If I played a guy as serious as Edward Cullen for months, I’d need to let off steam when filming ended, probably by getting wasted an entire night.
RP: But I already spend the entire time getting drunk (laughs). No but seriously as soon as I finish a Twilight movie I start a new project right away, therefore I don’t have time to take a step back regarding all that. At the beginning of May I went to re-shoot some Eclipse scenes as I had just finished Bel Ami, and I was completely lost. I had trouble with the accent and finding my marks… But once I was in makeup and they put the contact lenses in everything came back. For the first time I realized that I had missed this character and it would be weird when the adventure would end.
P: Really? We would think that the end of Twilight would be liberating for you.
RP: I got the role of Edward Cullen when I was 20 and I’ll be 26 when the fourth film comes out. I just realized that Twilight is an important step in my life. The funniest thing is that I’m playing a 17 year old the entire time. (Laughs)
P: Breaking Dawn will start filming at the end of the year. Are you impatient or do you feel like the movie is a contract obligation to be honoured?
RP: I feel like it’s going to be interesting. The story goes in directions so different and I’m curious what it will turn out like. We stop playing around — Bella saying “Turn me into a vampire” and me replying “No, no, no.” – She becomes a vampire in this movie. We get married, sleep together… All the tension from the three previous films is resolved in Breaking Dawn. I don’t have the script yet but it’s promising.
P: Rob we know each other well enough now so you can tell me the truth: Do you lose all your power if we cut your hair?
RP: We’ll know soon enough as I’m getting my hair cut this afternoon!
P: You know how to keep the suspense going… I’d like to come back to Remember Me, which surprised me by its severity and maturity. Do you think the darkness of the movie played a part in the timid success at the box-office?
R: Remember Me was never made as a blockbuster like Twilight, it was always a small film with a low budget and that there would be no major promotion. In total it brought in 60 million dollars worldwide: not bad for a movie that cost 16. I’m happy that it wasn’t a huge flop, but at no time did I worry about the box-office.
P: It’s been said that the movie was a test regarding your movie star status which seemed pre-mature for me…
RP: I know! I read all these articles that spoke about Leonardo DiCaprio, and how fans followed him after Titanic. But for me, Twilight has nothing to do with this. Fans go see the movies because they love this story. I never felt like I had a role in the success of it all. Like I’ve always said, it’s the character that people love, not me. I hope to be able to reach out to people due to the quality of the films that I make and not because people will hope to see a new Twilight as soon as my name is in the end credits.
P: We heard all types of stories surrounding the filming of Remember Me, like those of paparazzi that came out of the water when you were shooting the beach sequence. You’re changing their entire profession.
RP: No one can really understand this situation unless you’ve lived it. The Remember Me crew was hallucinating when they saw 40 cameramen trying to steal pics of the set. Most of the actors hadn’t seen one Twilight movie and didn’t understand what was going on.
P: They were asking you why you paid so many photographers to show up on set?
RP: That’s it: “Hey Rob, I didn’t know that you needed that much of an ego boost!” (Laughs)
P: You say that being a celebrity opens doors but closes others. Which ones would you have liked to keep open?
RP: I’d like to not be paranoid of meeting new people. When I walk down the street I’m scared of meeting anyone’s eye in case they recognize me. I have to hide constantly, it’s a bit unsettling. At the same time I live this weird way, I can’t be as open as I wish I could be. You learn as you go. Over the years, you learn to manage the situation more and more, I’m more at ease with the craziness surrounding Twilight. I think you reach a peak at some point: either you lose it and become a recluse and turn your back on humanity or you learn to accept it.
P: You seem more relaxed than last year…
RP: That’s the case. I’m beginning a new movie which I’m so enthusiastic about; I just finished another one that I like. I know well enough that things wouldn’t have gone so fast for me without those fans who follow me everywhere and people that recognize me on the street. You have to be realistic.
P: Do you think you’ve overcome the craziness of the press or do you think there are still surrealistic experiences to live?
RP: I have no clue… The advantage is that you don’t stay the object of so many stares forever. New actors will come and the attention of people will move on to them. All this only lasts a while. The hysteria reached its peak during Remember Me, but it has already dropped since. When I was filming Bel Ami in London it was clearly calmer. I could go around freely.
P: Regarding Bel Ami, you know that French people will be waiting with this movie with a knife between their teeth…
RP: I’m aware of that, believe me. I would never have the courage to do promo for this movie in Paris I’m so stressed. I met Marion Cotillard during a party before filming began and I asked her to read the script carefully because there was a perfect role for her. She asked me: “Why make Bel Ami in English? It’s weird isn’t it?” At that moment I understood how the film will be received in your country. I hope it will succeed and that you will be open minded about it. What impresses me is that the book is not well known elsewhere. I only discovered it after reading receiving the script and it immediately became one of my favourite books.
P: At the moment you’re rehearsing for Francis Lawrence’s Water for Elephants…
RP: Yes with Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz. I’m really excited and terrified at the same time to find myself face to face with actors such as these.
P: If Christoph Waltz asks you to give him a glass of milk start asking yourself questions.
RP: For sure! He has a great role in the movie: he plays the Mr. Loyal of a circus, a person who’s a totally cyclothymic and a bit crazy. I’m trying to steal his wife.
P: I admire your courage.
RP: Don’t you?
P: How would you react if everything stopped tomorrow?
RP: The end of the world you mean? I think I’d live well (Laughs). Actually I have no idea. I would find something else to do. The wave I’m surfing on right now is really helping me, but I haven’t accomplished everything I wish to accomplish.
P: I’d see you playing music in bars in the middle of nowheres in France.
RP: You couldn’t have said it better: when I was 19, I filmed a short movie in Brittany for 2 weeks. Every night I’d go play music in their pubs, it was fantastic. One of my favourite memories.
- Interview by Mathieu Carrat
Robert Pattinson will be in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse by David Slade. Out in theatres July 7th
Thank You Thinking Of Rob