TORONTO – For a man who emerged as the fully formed and fully fanged vampire heartthrob in the Twilight saga, Robert Pattinson almost seems too fully dimensional, too human, too real to be locker pin-up material. But he’s managing.
The British actor who played Edward opposite Kristen Stewart’s Bella Swan says he’s learned to adapt to a complete lack of control when it comes to public perception, which is one reason why he loves working with David Cronenberg so much.
Pattinson played the lead in Cronenberg’s 2012 outing, a limo-bound narrative about greed, corruption and self-contained narcissism called Cosmopolis. And he returns to Cronenberg’s bizarre landscapes in Maps to the Stars, a truly odd Oedipal yarn woven through a Hollywood loom.
Pattinson plays a limo driver to various celebrities in this new effort that also stars Mia Wasikowska, Julianne Moore and John Cusack, and while he says his character, Jerome, was relatively blank on the page, he knew he could trust Cronenberg to let him grope for a while, and get a good feel for what was needed.
“David is very funny,” Pattinson says. “I just like him as a person, and it helps that I really like his work. I like the way he runs his sets: They are so comfortable and I feel more confident on them.”
Pattinson says Cronenberg never panics when faced with the unknown. He allows the story and the characters to evolve organically.
“On Cosmopolis, I was terrified because it was such a wordy script and I hadn’t done any rehearsals, and I hadn’t had any talks with him about the character until the Sunday before the Monday we started shooting. And I tell you I nearly had a nervous breakdown because I assumed he thought I knew exactly what I was going to do and just pull it out…. “ Pattinson laughs, with a sweet little twinkle.
“So I called him up to ask one question…. just to ease my way into telling him that I didn’t know what I was doing. Then he just explained his way of working, which is he doesn’t know what is going to happen until you are on set doing it in its final stage, so there is no real point in rehearsing and no point in even discussing it that much unless you have a massive problem.”
Pattinson says he had no problems on Maps to the Stars, only massive amounts of fun, thanks in large part to Julianne Moore — who emerges as the central character in this multi-pronged narrative about show business, identity and one aging actress’s bid to play the part of her own Golden Age actress mother in a new biopic.
“Julianne was so into it,” Pattinson says. “I think it’s one of the best things she has ever done. I love what she is doing in it and I didn’t have to think at all, it was totally reactive, she was a virtuoso.”
Pattinson says even the sex scene he shares with Moore in the limo felt entirely fresh even after the raunchy limo sex scenes in Cosmopolis, “I don’t think I have laughed so hard in my life. All her coverage, I was laughing my head off.”
Pattinson admits he has a slightly warped sense of humour that aligns with Cronenberg’s, but he believes it’s a healthy coping mechanism for the craziness that is show business.
“I never wanted to be an actor as a kid…. And I’m pretty good at taking roles in stuff that nobody sees,” he says, laughing. “But there are a lot of egomaniacal psychopaths out there.
“But I have met a lot of actresses who are like Julianne’s character. Their sense of self is so caught up in something that is dictated by an audience and an audience of people they do not know and will never meet. And when they stop having success, their sense of self disappears.”
Pattinson says you can be a huge star and still face a major career stall. “People can just get bored of you.”
The only way to maintain some sense of personal integrity is to make movies that feel purposeful, and embody characters that speak to the human condition with some sense of internal truth. But those are getting harder and harder to find, Pattinson says.
“I don’t know if people want to have flawed heroes, to be honest… The good guy has to be raised by fishermen peasants who are entirely pure people, and the bad guy is raised from broken despair in hell. There’s this reductive approach to narrative right now that I don’t understand,” he says.
“We’re getting cartoon characters, basically. And I think it makes people frustrated and annoyed. But at the same time, if the audience is consistently fed cheeseburgers all the time you can give them the nicest piece of sushi and they’ll still be, like, bleh.”
Source via @lifeloveartfilm