Interview: Robert Pattinson On New York And The Downside Of Fame
I admit, I wasn't expecting all that much out of Robert Pattinson. He's become very, very famous for playing men of few words, be it prettyboy Cedric Diggory in the fourth Harry Potter, the icy and wary Edward Cullen in that vampire thing, or the brooding Tyler in Remember Me, which is by far Pattinson's biggest role yet as a non-vampire. I was waiting for him to walk into the interview room in a cloud of smoke, hair tousled back and scowl on his face, simply daring us to ask any questions.
Saying I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement-- Pattinson was a funny, generous and totally relaxed interview, willing to laugh at himself and admit when his questions veered off into nonsense, and doing his best to answer Twilight questions even when the publicists hovered in the background to make sure we didn't get off track. The hair was totally normal too-- I guess his stylist had the afternoon off. Read below for our conversation with Pattinson, about what drew him to a romance like Remember Me, how he sees his character Tyler as an extension of himself, and the perils of unexpected fame. I was really impressed with how open he was in talking about what he does and doesn't like about the craziness that surrounds him on a daily basis. Really, I was impressed in general. Find out why below.
On Remember Me and how he relates to his character
What surprised you about being an executive producer on this film?
I wasn't a proper producer. I only came on at the end. I always liked what Allen and Nick's idea for the whole movie was, and at the end, I didn't want it to be messed about with, by the studio or by whoever. Whatever I could do to help protect that.
What led you to take this project?
I read it just after Twilight, in the summer, and there was just something about it. I liked the way it didn't fit into any formulaic structure, and it didn't seem like a teen movie. The period in-between the second and third Twilight films was only two months, and you can't shoot that much stuff. It seemed like the perfect movie to put in there.
Do you agree with Tyler's worldview?
I don't think Tyler really had a worldview. That's kind of what I liked. He's sort of rebelling against nothing. He doesn't have any particular desires, no one's taking anything from him. It's almost the reason why he wants to rebel, because there's nothing to rebel against. I felt relatively similar to him in a lot of ways, just being desireless. Especially when I first read it. I wasn't doing anything when I first read it.
Are you a chain smoker like Tyler is?
I'm now chain eating Nicorette gum. I'm furiously addicted to that now, which is very annoying. On planes and things, it does not help at all. It just makes you desperately want a cigarette.
[Director] Allen [Coulter] and [screenwriter] Will [Fetters] were saying it can be hard for young people to play young characters and see beyond that age. How were you able to do that?
Maybe it's bad, [but] I think the only way to make anything truthful is to try and relate as much of it as you can to yourself. I think I related tons of it to how I thought I felt about stuff. I was saying to people before I started shooting that it's the closest to myself, and I'm trying to play myself in it.
How was working with Emilie and dealing with the challenge of the fans outside on the set?
Emilie was really understanding about all that stuff. She had a bunch of people come out for her too, for Lost. Once they realized we were both there it became double craziness. She was always cool about the crowds and stuff. That was the first time she'd been on a film in a while. Both of us, I don't know if we were trying to break away from anything, but it's kind of a relief after you've been doing the same thing for ages. You want to give everything to this one project, and she really did.
On filming in New York with fans coming to the set every day.
It sounds like filming in New York was stressful, but what was enjoyable about it?
It's the fantasy idea of living in the East VIllage. It's the kind of life I would have wanted to have if I was a student. It's a very active culture-- even the extras in New York, everybody's got an opinion about everything.
How much of that did you get to experience yourself, though?
My sister used to live here, for five years, and I'll be honest, I experienced a lot more of New York then. I was kind of stuck in a hotel room a lot of time [filming Remember Me].
Was it hard to act with all those people around the set?
Just at the beginning. It's strange, in New York you can't shut down streets. It is weird, you've got like 40 people taking photos on the other side of the street, and there's nothing you can do.
On his music career and his musical contributions to Twilight
What can people expect from you musically in the future? Do you see yourself doing a music movie?
Yeah. I'd really like to. I've been talking to people about stuff for ages, about various different things. it's quite difficult to do. I think it's a bit risky as well.
Has your songwriting process changed for you in recent years?
I used to write a lot by just doing gigs, and just turning up to open mics with two lines of a song, and the pressure would force you to make something up. And I can't really do that anymore. That was my main process of writing songs, get songs that are totally uninformed by self-consciousness. When I sit down and try to write some lyrics, it just looks like rubbish. I can't function with two things at the same time. I don't even listen to music when I'm doing [films]. I think after doing another movie after this movie now, then I'll try and write some music, hopefully at the end of the year.
Have they asked you to do any more songs for the Twilight movies?
No. They'll never ask me ever again!
On his career, the downside of fame, and where he wants to go from here.
Are you enjoying your career right now?Are the acting opportunities worth the craziness and the fame?
It's annoying not being able to meet people, thinking that someone's going to sell something or Twitter things. You need that, just to be a person, just to be able to talk to someone in a normal way. You see all these actors holing themselves up and not doing anything ever because of that. That's the only frustrating thing about it.
Do you see this movie as an important step to show people you're more than Twilight?
I think it's an important step. I don't think it's to show people I'm more than Twilight. I have the same mentality about [the Twilight sequels]. I try to make a Twilight film to show I'm more than Twilight, whatever that means. You try and improve, you try and take things from each job you get. I've just sort of fallen into it. I'm just trying to figure out how to do things.
You've made a lot of distinctly independent films to kind of counterbalance Twilight. Do you plan to keep seeking these out?
Not necessarily. I just liked the script of this. The next few things I'm doing, I just liked the script. I'd be way more nervous doing a big kind of blockbuster which would go into the marketplace saying, "This has to be huge." I like doing ensemble things with established actors who are really good, and scripts that are kind of different, and hope people will be interested in them.
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