In The Twilight Saga: New Moon, the second chapter in Stephenie Meyer's phenomenally successful series, the romance between mortal and vampire reaches an intense and dangerous new level, and reveals a conflict that will haunt Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) as the story continues. Delving into the age-old rivalry between the Quileute tribe and the vampires, which comes to a head with her best friend, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), and her love, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), Bella quickly learns that the supernatural world that she longs to become a part of will put her at more peril than ever before.
As the reluctant vampire who has millions of females swooning all over the world, Robert Pattinson has been working non-stop since signing on for the first Twilight film. Having just wrapped filming on The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, the actor also hopes to make Bel Ami and Unbound Captives, before returning for the final chapter, Breaking Dawn, tentatively set to film in the Fall of 2010.
At the film's press day, Robert Pattinson talking about getting used to life with the world watching your every move.
Rob: I guess it's inevitable that you become more comfortable. You still fight against some things. There's nothing really scary about the franchise itself. I like all the people I work with. I generally have very few disagreements about the script or anything while we're doing it, especially on New Moon. It just seemed so relaxed and easy. I've been on three different sets, since January 14th. I've had like three days off. I'm going to be on set all next year as well. I don't know what doing errands and things is really like 'cause I haven't had a sustained period of time where I've been off. I don't know how it's really changed. I still feel like I'm pretty much exactly the same, which is maybe not a good thing.
Q: Can you talk about working with Chris Weitz, and how the syllabus he gave the cast helped you?
Rob: I've never had that, from any director. It was 40 or 50 pages long, in addition to a bunch of letters and emails, trying to show that he was on the same page as us and was completely with us, in making the film. And, he didn't falter from that attitude, throughout the whole movie. It probably sounds ridiculous how much praise he gets. I was just with him and his wife in Japan, and she was even kind of sick of it. But, he is like a saint. He's one of the best people I've ever met, let alone directors. In a lot of ways, it shows in the movie. It's got a lot of heart, especially for a sequel in a franchise. He's just a great person to work with.
Q: Appearing in most of the movie as only a series of visions, did you feel disjointed from your cast mates at all? Did you wish you were in more of the film?
Rob: Those scenes were the hardest scenes. They weren't really, at the time, but after I saw the first cut of the movie, they changed them quite a bit in the edit and ADR. It's not Edward. It's a manifestation of Bella's loneliness and desperation. It was always very difficult. I asked Kristen, "How would you play it?" It's her opinion, so that was hard. As for being alone, I've always felt a little bit aloof as the character, throughout the whole series. I think that's how he is, so I didn't feel any different.
Q: What was it like to film that break-up scene between Edward and Bella?
Rob: There's something weird about it. One of the main things I felt doing that and what really helped was people's anticipation of the movie, and the fans of the series' idea about what Bella and Edward's relationship is and what it represents to them. It's some kind of ideal for a relationship. And so, just playing a scene where you're breaking up the ideal relationship, I felt a lot of the weight behind that. Also, it took away a fear of melodrama. It felt seismic, even when we were doing it. It was very much like the stepping out into the sunlight scene, at the end. You could really feel the audience watching, as you're doing it. It was a strange one to do.
Q: Have you ever had your heart broken, like Edward does when he leaves Bella?
Rob: No, I don't think so.
Q: What were your thoughts while you were filming that scene in Italy, where Edward reveals himself in the sunlight?
Rob: I just came to a realization about that scene. It was one of the closest moments I really felt to people's emotional attachment to the character because there were so many extras there who were just Twilightfans, who had flown in to be in the town square. Just taking that one step into the light, it's been the one moment, since the first Comic-Con, where I've felt the whole weight of anticipation and responsibility to all the people who are so obsessed with the stories. It was a good moment. It was very nerve-wracking, but I probably felt the most in character that I've ever felt, throughout the whole series, at that moment.
Q: If there was a fight between Edward and Jacob, who would win?
Rob: I don't know. I think it's actually a fact that Edward would win, if I read the books correctly. So, I guess I can hold onto that, for my ego.
Q: What about in a fight between you and Taylor Lautner?
Rob: I did hear, the other day, that Taylor had agreed to an interview where the interviewer was going to fight him. I don't think I'd ever agree to that. And, after looking at Taylor's martial arts videos from when he was like nine, I wouldn't really want to do anything. Maybe if I had some kind of weapon.
Q: What personality traits do you share with Edward?
Rob: I guess stubbornness, in some ways, about some things. He's pretty self-righteous. I get quite obsessive about things, and possessive as well.
Q: With what?
Rob: I have very, very specific ideas about how I want to do my work and how I want to be perceived, to the point of ridiculousness, sometimes. I don't listen to anyone else. That's why I don't have a publicist or anything. I can't stand it, if someone is trying to tell me to do something, which is maybe a mistake sometimes. I like being meticulous, and it's quite difficult, as an actor, to have that much control. The good thing about the Twilight series is that it does give you a lot more control over tiddly little things, which I want to have. I'm a control freak about it.
Q: Do you appreciate Edward more, with each movie? What are your favorite things about him?
Rob: When I read New Moon, it gave me ideas about how to play him in the first film. It's the one I connected to the most, and the one that humanized Edward for me the most, as well. In the first one, he still does remain, from beginning to end, an idealistic character. But, in the second one, he makes a mistake that's acknowledged by everybody, including himself. Also, he is totally undermined by more powerful creatures, and he's undermined emotionally by people as well. That's what humanized it.
Since I read that book, I always liked him as a character, and I've tried to play that same feeling throughout the films. He's the hero of the story that just refuses to accept that he's the hero, and I think that's kind of admirable.
Q: Love plays such a major part of these films, and so many fans want what happens on the screen to happen in your real life. How do you separate falling in love in real life with the women that you're cast opposite?
Rob: You've always got to remember that you're being paid. There's a lot of connotations that come with that. That's one of the major separations.
Q: Do you agree with the decision to make Edward appear as a vision and not just as a voice?
Rob: I was always very worried about that. Even before we started shooting, people were asking questions and saying, "Oh, are you worried that people will think there's not enough Edward in it?," but he's not in the book. I was so worried that it was just going to be random scenes. There was talk, at the beginning, of showing his backstory in South America, going around moping. That would have been terrifying for me, and I think it would have been catastrophic for the film as well.
I fought as far as I could to keep it as limited as possible, mainly because it just doesn't happen in the book. But then, at the same time, it's scary just to do a voice-over because it could end up being very cheesy. I guess there was a medium. I'm not just there. I was supposed to be playing this vision and, if you play it as realistically as possible, it becomes an interesting thing to try to figure out. It was interesting for me, at the time.
Q: How did you fight for that?
Rob: I just talked to Chris. He wasn't ever going to just do things for the sake of doing them. He was always on the side of the story. Even since it's been edited, there were loads and loads of the apparition sequences cut out. A lot of them, Chris cut out without me saying. But, when I was doing ADR, I was saying, "It will be more interesting and mystical if you cut out more of these shots. It becomes more eerie and more realistic, the less of these visions you have." Just having head-on shots makes it something other than a vision. It becomes a super-imposed image, which is not interesting.
Q: This franchise has made you a bankable leading man. How has that changed your career, and where do you want to be in five years?
Rob: I don't know. I've only done one movie outside of the series, which was Remember Me. That's going to be out sometime next year. But, even that, I did with the same studio. I'm still a little bit blind, as to what my actual economic viability is, outside of the series, but it's definitely different. You get offered stuff that you never would have dreamed of getting offered before, but that's scary as well 'cause you don't have to audition for anything. You're just like, "I don't want to do a movie just 'cause it gets made."
It's a scary situation to be in, in a lot of ways. You have to question yourself a lot more. Before Twilight, I did any movie that I got and tried to make the best of it afterwards. Now, you're expected to come into the movie and provide not only economic viability, but a performance as well. People are like, "You can't just mess around. We're employing you to be a star and an actor." It's difficult and it's scary.
Q: Isn't that what you dream about when you start out in the business?
Rob: You do. When you haven't gotten a big movie behind you and you're not bankable, everyone is like, "He's not bankable enough," so you can't get the roles that you want to get. And then, when you do, especially with a movie like this where there's a perceived specific audience, people start thinking, "Oh, you need to get in with this audience. You need to do this or that. You need to look a certain way." There are some limitations to it, whereas when no one is watching your movies and you get a part, you can do whatever the hell you want. That's just the way it is. So, there are good and bad points, either way.
Q: With everything that you've got going on now, how do you keep your life from just being a blur?
Rob: It is just a blur. There are random moments which stand out, but I've been working so much this year that it's almost like living in an alternate reality. The hours on a film set are so long that you're doing doctor hours, and every doctor that I've ever spoken to says the same thing, that you have no idea what's going on, other than working. You're away from your family and friends, and all that stuff.
Q: With all of the fan encounters that you've had, has there been anything that's just made you laugh?
Rob: Yeah, a lot of the time. Recently, I have less direct interaction with people because there's way more security and stuff on set. But, I always find it funny when older people come up. There was a woman who came up to me the other day who must have been in her 90's. It's very unusual. And, they say exactly the same things as 12-year-old girls. That is kind of bizarre.
Q: When you are shooting the more romantic things, what goes through your head?
Rob: It's weird. I keep getting told by people, "Pump up all the stuff about the action, so the guys will go and see it," but it's ridiculous. It's like saying that guys can't appreciate romance. I don't think you can say that about Gone with the Wind. I've watched Titanic and I didn't think, "Oh, this is a girl's film."
Especially in New Moon, and actually in the whole series, I've never played it thinking, "Oh, I'm in a series of girls' films and I'm doing something just for girls." I don't feel like I'm doing an animated Tiger Beat, every week. I like doing romantic scenes. I felt like a lot of the storyline in New Moon is very heartbreaking and true. I didn't think I was doing something, just for the sake of romance. I thought, in a lot of ways, that it was a really sad story.
Q: Are you a romantic person, in real life? What is the most romantic thing you've ever done?
Rob: I haven't done that many romantic things, in my life.
Q: Have you ever serenaded somebody?
Rob: Oh, no! I don't think that would ever be romantic. You need to have so much balls to do that. Jesus Christ! I actually can't think of a single romantic thing I've ever done. That's terrible.
Q: Have you ever given anyone flowers?
Rob: Yeah, I did. I put a flower in someone's locker when I was 15 years old. This girl, called Maria. Maybe I was 14. She actually thought it was from someone else, and the other guy claimed it as well, which was just great.
Q: What was it like watching Taylor transform physically?
Rob: I didn't see Taylor until just a little bit before we started shooting, so when he came back, I had the same reaction as everybody else. I was like, "Now I have to go to the gym."
Q: What has it been like to develop the romantic triangle?
Rob: It was weird because I hardly did any scenes with Taylor. We just did the scenes at the beginning and the scenes at the end, and he had his entire storyline develop without me being around, which is interesting because I had no idea where his performance was going. It wasn't really a competition or anything. It was independent. Whereas, in Eclipse, we did scenes together, all the time, with Bella. It really shows the dynamic in that film.
Q: Who is your favorite movie vampire of all time, and why?
Rob: I don't really know. I always think of the wrong people. I'll be like, "Ethan Hawke in Interview with a Vampire," and someone will say, "He's not the vampire." There's a bunch. I actually really like Wesley Snipes (in Blade). I think he's great.
Q: What's the weirdest or funniest thing you've ever read or heard about yourself?
Rob: Recently, some magazine had on the cover that I was pregnant. I was just like, "Wow!" And, it was without a hint of irony or anything. I didn't really know what to make of that one. I don't even know if that qualifies as libelous because they can just say, "Well, it's obviously fiction," but it's written in a non-fiction magazine. I saw a couple comments under the article saying, "That's why he always wears jackets. He always wears layers to hide it."
Q: How do you maintain the balance of letting your fans and the public know who you are, outside of just being Edward, but also keep your private life private?
Rob: I think you just do it through doing jobs. It's such a risky thing, doing interviews. I try to limit the amount of interviews I do. No one is that interesting, especially when you're not really saying anything. And, I don't particularly want to be some kind of character in society. So, I guess the only thing you can do is do jobs and see if people respond to that.
But, I'm always holding onto the fact that I don't really know who I am, so hopefully I won't compartmentalize myself because of that. I'm just completely ignorant of the whole thing. I've never really struggled with anything, up until recently. I've got to stop being so self-depreciating 'cause people are starting to believe it. They'll be like, "That guy is an idiot," so I've tried to stop doing that.
Q: Was it a big shock to have Bryce Dallas Howard on the set of Eclipse, instead of Rachelle Lefevre?
Rob: Yeah, it was a shock, but she's lovely. She's really, really nice.
Q: Have you been told a tentative time that you might film Breaking Dawn?
Rob: I think the tentative for Breaking Dawn is Fall of next year. I think. They may well change that.
Q: What movies have you committed to in 2010?
Rob: Depending on how things go, I'm doing a movie called Bel Ami in February, which is an adaptation of a Guy de Maupassant novel. And, I hope I'm doing a Western with Rachel Weisz and Hugh Jackman, called Unbound Captives, sometime around there as well. They've got to try to work around everybody's schedules and stuff.
Q: Who do you play in Unbound Captives?
Rob: I'm playing a kid who is kidnapped by the Comanches, when he was four years old, and he's brought up by them. His mother spends her entire life trying to find me and my sister, and when she finds us, we can't remember who she is or anything about the Western culture that we grew up in. They speak Comanche, the whole movie. You can't really be more different from Edward.
Q: Is that why you responded to it?
Rob: No. I actually sign on to that after I had done Twilight, in the summer, just a couple of months after I finished. It was really before anything had happened, so I wasn't really thinking about it. It was just a cool script and it reminded me, in a lot of ways, of Giant, which is one of my favorite movies. I think that's why I responded to it.
Q: Is James Dean one of your favorite actors?
Rob: One of, yeah.
Q: Are you going to have to learn Comanche for your role?
Q: Have you had time for your music?
Rob: I'm trying to.