Robert Pattinson: King of the Night
We might have first noted Twilight's cinema version of the beloved vampire Edward Cullen when tall, gorgeous Robert Pattinson played doomed Cedric Diggory in the 4th Harry Potter film. Of course, when news leaked that he was chosen by director Catherine Hardwicke and "Twilight" novelist Stephenie Myer to play the perfect Edward, fans, who wanted everyone from "Smallville's" Tom Welling to Johnny Depp for the part, were mostly furious....but the actor is growing on them bigtime! We've met him and can see why.
Let's get to the dish! Perhaps even something you haven't read before. We met Robert, we chatted with him, we learned that, before he was cast as troubled painter Salvador Dali in the indie-film Little Ashes, Rob was disillusioned and ready to give up acting for a possible music career. The actor is also friends with another uber-hunk Prince Caspian's Ben Barnes. We interviewed Ben the day before chatting with Rob and were asked to pass on our greetings and good wishes. We also learned that Ben used to groove to soul music in high school with Rob's older sister. Small world for these two hunks, evidently.
Let's set the "you are there" scene; a room at posh hotel Beverly Wilshire right next to famed Rodeo Drive. The lighting...low. Rob's outfit... casual black, snap-close jacket over white tee and jeans. His famous tousled brown/bronze hair had finally been trimmed, according to Rob, but it was still long enough that we didn't notice. A shadow beard added to that "dangerous" look and you can't miss those huge blue eyes. Rob is comfortable slinking down in his chair as he speaks... now on to the good stuff!
TeenHollywood: I just spoke with Ben Barnes and he says hello.
Rob: Oh cool (he laughs).
TeenHollywood: He said good luck with this media blitz.
Rob: Yeah, he's been doing it for months! Cool.
TeenHollywood: Can you talk a bit about the "entering the gates of hell" comment you made at Comic Con about the massive shriek of the fans?
Rob: People are reacting to that? I think of it as a great noise. I just thought that, 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.
TeenHollywood: I guess that's part of becoming a star. When you were starting out in acting what was the appeal for you?
Rob: I don't know what it was in the beginning. My first job I was playing Reese Witherspoon's son (in Vanity Fair) and I hadn't done any acting in school. I wasn't in a drama school or anything. I'd done one amateur play and you 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 never really thought about it for the audience. It's the one job where you can do whatever you want and people have got to accept it. If you were going to an office, (got upset) and said 'I need to go punch out some windows because I have 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.
TeenHollywood: Stephenie Meyer was saying you had a disagreement about how to play Edward. Can you talk about that?
Rob: (laughs) I've heard that and I don't know what it is. I have to ask Stephenie what it is. I think it has to do with (me asking) why Edward 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 absolutely ridiculous. And then I thought, 'that's actually a really bizarre character trait' so I kind of started to agree with it by the end.
TeenHollywood: These two filming experiences: "Harry Potter" and Twilight, must have been quite different for you?
Rob: It's different. When I was doing "Harry Potter," 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 how to make it as it got bigger. You start off thinking you're making an independent movie, with a small or medium sized 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.
TeenHollywood: I guess the fans really got wind of it eventually.
Rob: 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.
TeenHollywood: We heard that you had a little difficulty when you first read that Edward was supposed to be the perfect man. Also, you got a horrible initial fan reaction. How did you feel about all that?
Rob: Yeah. I was embarrassed even going into the audition. I thought I'd be judged. Anyone who turns up, you look on the synopsis (of the character) and you see "Edward is the perfect man. He has an impeccable face, body. Everything about him is amazing' and like even turning up for the audition is like 'hey, here I am' (he waves). It's so stupid so I was quite happy when the reaction was a hundred percent negative. I was like 'thank you. I'm not perfect. I'm like rugged' (laughs). All the blogs were like 'he's a bum'. I was like 'Cool!. I guess I'm going to be a character actor.
TeenHollywood: Well, that's all changed now. How familiar were you with the Potter or Twilight books?
Rob: 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.
TeenHollywood: Your "Cullen" cast members said that you weren't too swift on playing baseball either but you picked it up?
Rob: (chuckles) Everybody's been saying that! I'm terrible. I'm completely malcoordinated. I'm terrible at all sports. Also, I don't see the point as well. I even had a baseball coach. 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 with 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'. (we both chuckle)
TeenHollywood: Hilarious. How much of the stunt work did you do?
Rob: My hand-eye coordination is bad but 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 (his own stunts) but I eventually gave up. But I did a whole bunch of it. 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.
TeenHollywood: So you're saying that Kristen Stewart is heavy?
Rob: (laughs) 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.
TeenHollywood: Are you accident-prone?
Rob: Yeah. I think I probably am.
TeenHollywood: Is this your first brush with an American accent?
TeenHollywood: How difficult was it?
Rob: 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.
TeenHollywood: When you were a teen or kid, was there a movie you couldn't wait to see just like many fans can't wait for this one?
Rob: I'm sure there was. Can't remember but right now I can't wait till The Wrestler (starring Mickey Rourke, Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei) comes out.
TeenHollywood: You were once ready to throw in acting for music and you've got two songs on the film soundtrack. Are you going to have a singing career?
Rob: 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 (laughs) I'd just like to have it just for myself so I can work with good musicians and stuff.
TeenHollywood: Have you written a lot of songs?
Rob: 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 and 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 I'd help somebody out. I've got nothing to lose.
TeenHollywood: No tour planned?
TeenHollywood: Are you popping in for open mic nights in LA anymore?
Rob: The last time I did one, it got put up on YouTube and ruined the whole thing for me. It kind of tainted it.
TeenHollywood: That's a bummer. You play the artist Salvador Dali in a film. Very, very different from this one. How was that experience?
Rob: I did that before Twilight and I was going to give up acting before that. I did the casting about two years before to play Lorca and 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, okay'. 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.
TeenHollywood: So you got swept up in preparing for the role?
Rob: Yeah. 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 (he laughs). But I was determined for it not to be a cheesy, cash-in movie. I hope it isn't. I haven't seen it yet.
TeenHollywood: Why were you so disillusioned?
Rob: Just mainly because when most films are being made now they're designing it to make money even before it's started shooting. Prejudging an audience 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'.
TeenHollywood: Was music your Plan B?
Rob: Well, I was doing music but my sisters were saying 'you can't make money out of music' so I thought 'why not just see what happens with acting and don't really 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. 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.
TeenHollywood: Is there a moment you're looking forward to in the next Twilight movies?
Rob: Definitely the second one. The second one's my favorite book and I think you can really change the character at 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 by his reappearance at the end when he's essentially committing suicide. He can really completely change his image, like, nothing in the rest of the books. I can create something quite special with it, I think... if they let me. (laughs.)
TeenHollywood: Would you want to be immortal?
Rob: No way! I just want to get to 32. That's the age I'm looking forward to.
TeenHollywood: Do you wish they'd let you cut your hair?
Rob: (running his fingers through it) Hey, I did cut it. (with a pouty look) No one's even noticed. (laughs)