EX TEEN IDOL
Actor Robert Pattinson is used to the Red Carpet, where he, thanks to the Twilight series, was often waylaid by teenage girls. Now he plays a Red Carpet photographer in Anton Corbijn’s LIFE.
One of the first things that director, Anton Corbijn, did after he had cast Robert Pattinson was to put a camera in his hands. In the role of Dennis Stock, photographer of the international photo press bureau Magnum, the camera, he thought, had to become a part of his body. He had another reason: Pattinson had to feel how it is to be behind the camera instead of being in front of it.
The role that Pattinson plays in the new movie of Anton Corbijn, that got a special Gala Screening at Berlin, feels a bit like the world is upside-down. In the movie the world star and teen idol stands in between the photographers at the Red Carpet where in real life the 28 year old actor is waylaid by photographers.
Life is about the complicated relationship between the relatively unknown David Stock and the Hollywood star James Dean. Stock did an iconic photo shoot with Dean in 1955. He is the man behind the world famous picture of James Dean on Times Square in which he walks straight at the camera huddled in a dark coat, cigarette in his mouth. Stock met Dean (played by Dane DeHaan) just before his big break. A photo shoot could help both of their careers, he reasoned.
Pattinson felt an immediate connection with Stock. ‘A tragical figure really’, he says in a hotel room in Berlin. Would it have not been more logical for Anton Corbijn to have him cast as James Dean? If someone knows how it feels to be famous from one day to another it’s him. Because of his role as Edward Cullen in the fantasy film series Twilight his life changed into a chaos of screaming teenage girls and paparazzi.
“Still it cannot be compared”, emphasizes the actor. “People look at James Dean as if he is some kind of spiritual leader: tell us how we should live. They never saw me like that.”
Life is set in the weeks before the premiere of James Dean’s debut movie ‘East of Eden’ (1955). Everybody predicted that he would become world famous. The actor realizes that ‘everything around it’ is just as important as acting and that the studio has him in its claws. It suffocates him. That is something Pattinson doesn’t recognize: “We had no idea that Twilight would become so successful. Only the week before its release we saw a growing interest on the internet.” When the craziness exploded Pattinson found it all very surrealistic. “I had no expectations of what would happen, so I didn’t get disillusioned as Dean did. I see it as a door that opened, I didn’t know what was on the other side, but I was curious and took a look. Later I realized that “oh, this is not going away”. The door closed behind me.
Now three years after the release of the last movie the craziness is diminishing. In the movies he is now, he plays small roles, like the role of T.E. Lawrence of Arabia in ‘Queen of the Desert’ by Werner Herzog or the limo driver in Cronenberg’s ‘Maps to the Stars’. According to Anton Corbijn this is where the connection with his role as Stock is. Because Pattinson became popular at such a young age, he now wants to prove himself, says Anton Corbijn. That he plays a photographer who wants to prove himself is an interesting parallel.
In his career Pattinson makes wayward choices that turn out well. If everything goes well with the financing, he will be seen in movies of cult-director Harmony Korine (Spring Breakers, Trash Humpers) and James Gray (We Own the Night, The Immigrant). Pattinson is a huge huge fan of their work. “They were the first directors I personally approached when I noticed that the scripts I wanted to do where not offered to me, so I decided to contact the directors I admire myself.”
This week the news has been released that Robert Pattinson will be in the western-thriller Brimstone by the Dutch director Martin Koolhoven. "The story is fantastic; I have an idea how I want to do it. It's a dangerous role, but I can't say much about it. And the cameraman is the same one as in in 'Rundkop' and I think that movie is fantastic."
In the meantime Koolhoven is getting crazy of the messages he gets on Twitter from Pattinson fans worldwide. It is hard to imagine all these teenage girls watching a Harmony Korine movie. Pattinson: “I do not know very well what my fans like. I remember that I had to film a scene (????) with Don DeLillo (the 78 year old author) and he was ambushed by 15 year old girls that wanted him to sign their books. Great. If even only one of them read the book, I have the feeling I did some good.
EIGHT DAYS ON A CAMEL
During the Film Festival in Berlin Robert Pattinson can also be seen as T.E. Lawrence in Werner Herzog’s ‘Queen of the Desert’. A small, but challenging role: with the same role in ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ the actor Peter o’ Toole wrote movie history. During the press screening there were laughs when he first appeared on the screen with the famous keffiyeh on his head. "Eight days on a camel that is about the only thing I remember. If the role would have been bigger, I would not have done it. Werner Herzog made T.E. Lawrence into a funny person. Also I do not look like the real T.E. Lawrence at all."
IMPORTANT NOTE: When in a personal mail Floortje Smith (reporter) is asked about some details, she replies: “He is very cute and nice. Good in Life as well. I’m very curious of what he is going to do next.”
She listened to the interview tape again and said: “He said that you never know with small movies you can only be sure when you are on set, but he really really wants to do these movies.” About the Korine project: “That is apparently happening too, but I mean… people… different cast and the budget suddenly changes and all that stuff. But I love the movie. It is great and my part that is completely insane as well.”
Scan + Translation