MoviesOnline recently sat down to chat with Robert Pattinson at the Los Angeles press day for his new movie, “Twilight,” an action-packed, modern-day love story between a teenage girl and a vampire.
Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) has always been a little bit different, never caring about fitting in with the trendy girls at her Phoenix high school. When her mother re-marries and sends Bella to live with her father in the rainy little town of Forks, Washington, she doesn't expect much of anything to change.
Then she meets the mysterious and dazzlingly beautiful Edward Cullen (Pattinson), a boy unlike any she's ever met. Edward is a vampire, but he doesn't have fangs and his family is unique in that they choose not to drink human blood. Intelligent and witty, Edward sees straight into Bella's soul.
Soon, they are swept up in a passionate, thrilling and unorthodox romance. To Edward, Bella is what he has waited 90 years for – a soul mate. But the closer they get, the more Edward must struggle to resist the primal pull of her scent, which could send him into an uncontrollable frenzy. But what will Edward & Bella do when a clan of new vampires – James (Cam Gigandet), Laurent (Edi Gathegi) and Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre) – come to town and threaten to disrupt their way of life?
Robert Pattinson is a fabulous guy and we really appreciated his time. Here’s what he had to tell us about his exciting new movie:
MoviesOnline: Ben Barnes says hi and wishes you luck with all this.
Pattinson: He's been doing it for months.
MoviesOnline: What was the quote that you said about "The Gates of Hell?"
Pattinson: People are reacting to that? Just at Comi-Con, I think of it as a great noise. If you're doing a movie, when you're entering Hell, you've got 7,000 girls screaming, it sounds exactly how you'd imagine the sound would be. I think that's what I was thinking.
MoviesOnline: When you were starting out, did you look forward to an audience and what was the appeal of acting?
Pattinson: I don't know what it was in the beginning. My first job I was playing Reese Witherspoon's son and I hadn't done any acting in school. I wasn't in a drama school or anything. You turn up on set and I'd done one amateur play and you kind of end up doing a film with Reese Witherspoon and you have a trailer and stuff. It was the most ridiculous thing. And I was thinking, I should be an actor. I'm doing a movie with Reese Witherspoon. How is this happening? I don't know what I was thinking then. I never really thought about for the audience. It's an excuse, it's the one job where you can do whatever you want and people have got to accept it. If you went in an office and said I need to punch out some windows to do this database (laughs), you'd get fired. But you get a lot of slack as an actor. You can just go nuts all the time.
MoviesOnline: Stephenie was saying you had a disagreement about part of your character. Can you talk about that?
Pattinson: I keep getting asked that. I don't know what it is. I have to ask Stephenie what it is. I think it has to do with there were two things: why he treats Carlisle as a father when he's a 108-year-old guy and he knows he is not his father; and she said that he treats him as a father because he deserves to be treated as a father because he wanted Edward to be his son and Edward believes Carlisle is such a good person. He will ignore his age and treat him as a father, which initially I thought was ridiculous. And then I thought, that's actually a really bizarre character trait so I kind of started to agree with it at the end.
MoviesOnline: Can you compare the experience of making this film this versus "Harry Potter?" Is it similar?
Pattinson: It's different. When I was doing "Harry Potter," which I did, there already had been three made. It was already a slick machine by the time I got into it. Whereas with "Twilight," people didn't realize really what it was, the extent of what it was, and it kept growing and growing. We kept having to reformulate it as it got bigger. You start off thinking you're making an independent movie, with a small or medium size studio. We definitely weren't making it as a blockbuster. There are no big names in it or anything and then more and more hype starts happening. Luckily, it didn't happen when we were shooting it. It happened towards the end of when we were shooting. It's funny. We had to change little ideas. The whole time we were sort of scrambling to figure out how do you set this thing up for a franchise? How do you make the characters interesting enough for three movies? They don't change. He doesn't age. Because it's a supernatural thing, you've got to lay down the ground rules of how the vampires move and where you can shoot and stuff. There had to be tons and tons of thought put into it. It was really just off the cuff. And the weather kept changing as well. We had to reinvent whole scenarios with another two or three movies in mind.
MoviesOnline: How familiar were you with the books?
Pattinson: I wasn't familiar with either. Well, obviously I'd heard about "Harry Potter," because everybody had heard of "Harry Potter." But I'd only read the one that I was in because I knew I was going to do the audition. And "Twilight," I hadn't heard of it. I was living in England. I hadn't heard of it.
MoviesOnline: You also didn't know about baseball.
Pattinson: (chuckles) Everybody's been saying that! I keep getting asked that question as well.
MoviesOnline: How did you react to the fans expectations for your character?
Pattinson: I was expecting that though. I would have had the same reaction. I was embarrassed even going into the audition. I thought I'd be judged going into the audition. Anyone who shows up. You look at the synopsis: Edward is THE perfect man. He has impeccable face, body, everything about him is amazing. Even turning up for the audition, it's like, (modestly) hey (waving). It's just so stupid. I was happy when it was 100 percent negative reaction. (Laughs.) I was like, thank you. I'm not perfect. I'm rugged. All my things were like, "He's a bum." I was like, Cool! I'm going to be a character actor.
MoviesOnline: Is this your first brush with an American accent?
MoviesOnline: How difficult was it?
Pattinson: To be honest, not that hard. I didn't have a dialect coach or anything. I had a very specific voice with which to do it. I only had a standard American accent to fall back on. There were certain elements of other different characters’ voices I wanted to put into it. But it wasn't very difficult. I mean, I grew up watching American movies. All my favorite actors are Americans. So it was osmosis.
MoviesOnline: When you were a teen or kid, was there a movie you couldn't wait to see?
Pattinson: I'm sure there was. (He can't come up with anything.) I can't wait till "The Wrestler" comes out.
MoviesOnline: You didn't answer the baseball question.
Pattinson: I'm terrible. I'm completely malcoordinated. I can't... I'm terrible at all sports. Also, I don't see the point as well. I had a baseball coach who was like... Catherine was so determined to make me look like a professional baseball player, and literally I couldn't take it seriously. They were like, you've got to have a ready position. So for the rest of shoot, every single time, there's like confusion, the blocking or anything, I'd say, look, I'll do it in my ready position, no matter what the scene was. Like the sex scene or whatever. I'll come out in my ready position. (chuckles)
MoviesOnline: You've got two songs in the movie. Are you going to have a singing career?
Pattinson: I don't think so. I might make an album but not through a record company or anything. I'd like to do something independent. I don't care if people buy it or not. I'd just like to have it just for myself so I can work with good musicians and stuff.
MoviesOnline: Have you written a lot of songs?
Pattinson: Not a lot. All my friends are musicians in London. They're very talented. My best friend wrote one of the songs on the soundtrack with another friend of mine, this guy Marcus Foster who did Bobby Long. I went to school with Marcus. He taught me how to play guitar and stuff. He's an amazing writer and singer and I thought to help somebody out. I've got nothing to lose.
MoviesOnline: No tour planned?
MoviesOnline: Are you popping in for open mic nights in LA?
Pattinson: The last time I did one it ended up on YouTube and ruined the whole thing for me. It tainted it.
MoviesOnline: How much of the stunt work did you do?
Pattinson: My hand-eye coordination is bad. I did quite a few of them. But I had a good stunt double as well. He's a professional free runner. I can do something and get injured and look like crap playing it or he can do it and make it look really good and no one notices the difference. After a while, I tried to do the Tom Cruise thing. Every time, like walking into a door or something, I eventually gave up. But I did a whole bunch of it. But I managed to pick up so many injuries whenever I tried the simplest of stunts. I went to pick up Kris and I almost ripped my hamstring. It's not even a stunt.
MoviesOnline: You're saying she was heavy, right?
Pattinson: No. She weighs like 50 pounds. I literally did one squat. And this was after three months of training. I don't know what it takes.
MoviesOnline: Are you accident-prone?
Pattinson: Yeah. I think I probably am.
MoviesOnline: How was it playing Salvador Dali in Little Ashes?
Pattinson: I did that before "Twilight." I was going to give up acting before that. I did the casting about two years before for "Lorca." (Federico Garcia Lorca) They said, we found a Spanish guy who looks just like Lorca to play Lorca. Do you want to play Dali? Which is like the opposite part to Lorca. They told me four days before shooting. I was just so disinterested in acting at the time. I just thought oh, a three-month vacation in Spain. OK. I went there and it was so intense the whole time and everybody was speaking Spanish and I don't speak a word of Spanish. The whole crew was Spanish. I was the only English person there for the majority of the time. It gave me a reason to really focus on the script and the research to a ridiculous degree. It was the only thing I did for the entire time. I had this whole series of photos. And figuring out the way he would move his body. There's a picture of him pointing. I spent days trying to figure out how did he get his arm like that. It was probably unnecessary but it was the one time I felt like slightly satisfied. But I wanted to bring that intensity to every job. And even though this was essentially a teen movie, when they were talking about it, I thought it doesn't have to be a teen movie. Nothing has to be what it's predefined as. So I fought with people a lot on it. I kind of relented after a while because I didn't know what I was doing. (chuckling) But I was determined for it not to be a cheesy, cash in movie. I hope it isn't. I haven't seen it. It probably is. (Laughs.)
MoviesOnline: Why were you disillusioned?
Pattinson: Just how mainly because most films when they're being made now they're designing it to make money even before it's started shooting, which is like how are you going to know if you're prejudging an audience, which is completely impossible to do. Audiences bought this so they're going to like this. It's impossible to do. But you're going to make the same movie again and again. No one's going to break out of it. I just thought I don't want to be adding shit to the pile so I might as well complain about it and not be part of it.
MoviesOnline: What was plan B?
Pattinson: I was doing music. Then I knew because my sisters were saying you can't make money out of music. I thought why not just see what happens with acting if you don't bow down to anybody. If you get fired, you get fired. I got fired before a few years ago. I was like whatever. Maybe something might come along. You can't not do it. And I really love films. So I'd like it if there was another golden age (of films) like the '70s. I don't think that will be for a while.
MoviesOnline: Is your Dali movie in English?
Pattinson: Yeah. It's half in English and half in Spanish.
MoviesOnline: Are you looking forward to the next "Twilight" movies?
Pattinson: Definitely the second one. The second one's my favorite book and I think you can really change the character in the end. He's distraught and every ounce of confidence he has in the first one is gone by the end of the second one when he's essentially committing suicide. He can really completely change his image, like, nothing we see in the rest of the books. I can create something quite special with it if they let me. (laughs.)
MoviesOnline: Would you want to be immortal?
Pattinson: No way.
MoviesOnline: Do you want to get old?
Pattinson: I just want to get to 32. That's the age I'm looking forward to.
MoviesOnline: Do you wish they'd let you cut your hair?
Pattinson: I did cut it. No one's even noticed. (laughs)
“Twilight” opens in theaters on November 21st.