Robert Pattinson has terrible, rotted teeth and is caked in dirt for his leading role in The Rover. The star could not be happier with the transformation after years of being a heart throb in the Twilight films.
"I am trying to eliminate any bit of vanity," says Pattinson of his grimed up role. "I want to avoid any opportunity to pose (for the camera). Or whatever. Because if you get that opportunity to pose, you will probably take it."
The results have been impressive. Pattinson has earned some of the best reviews of his career in the David Michod film, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and opens in the USA June 13.
The post-apocolyptic story features a grimy Pattinson joining up with a former soldier (Guy Pearce) who is trying to get back his last precious possession on Earth — his stolen car.
The unglamorous lead role, along with a supporting role in David Cronenberg's film Maps to the Stars, has earned Pattinson a return trip to the Cannes festival which he attended for the first time in 2012 (with Cronenberg's Cosmopolis).
Pattinson says the 2012 trip set in motion a game plan to return to Cannes as much as possible.
"I decided right then I wanted to get every film into Cannes. It was something I have been specifically aiming for, 100%," says Pattinson. "It's just the best place to promote movies and this festival has this cachet."
In Cannes 2012, the press conference monitor had to warn journalists before Pattinson took to the stage that he would not entertain questions about vampires.
This year, Pattinson seems to have finally gotten past that. He feels like a fixture at Cannes rather than a novelty. The word Twilight was not even mentioned in his press appearances, even if one Japanese television reporter asked Pattinson to simply say something to his fans back in Japan during a press conference (it was awkward).
"It's strange. I have a disassociation now. It's odd to live that same life," says Pattinson of his Twilight past. "But I have always had that disassociation. I've never understood the crowds screaming. This is a job."
The Rover also gave Pattinson the distinct advantage of being deep in the Australian Outback, where Pattinson was able to shoot a movie outdoors without fear of paparazzi jumping out of bushes.
"So there wasn't some jackass trying to get a picture of me making a stupid face," says Pattinson. "We were in a town of 50 people. They wouldn't know who to sell a picture to even if they wanted to."
He says the freedom allowed him to feel completely at ease out in the open and aided his performance. "It changed the whole way I worked completely," says Pattinson. "It was totally losing self-consciousness. It was like working underwater. It was nice."
He talks excitedly about working with director Olivier Assayas on their next, untitled film.
"His stuff always gets into Cannes and it's such a great script," says Pattinson. "But I don't want to speak too soon."