Robert Pattinson Twilight Interview
The heartthrob dishes on his contribution to the soundtrack, his take on the emo thing, and dealing with all those screaming fans.
Last weekend a group of us movie-website folk descended upon Beverly Hills to talk to Robert Pattinson. They didn't give us much time, but here is what we learned about the newest sensation:
Question: So are they still going to let you cut your hair?
RP: I already did cut it. Someone asked, "Is it true you haven't washed it for six weeks?" and I said "I haven't washed it for four years!
Question: How did you end up on the Twilight soundtrack?
RP: By accident. I think Nikki gave a CD of stuff I'd recorded on my computer to Catherine. I'd recorded it years ago. I think Catherine put it into a cut and I didn't even realize what it was at first. It kind of fit really well. I didn't really think about it other than I didn't know I was going to be on the soundtrack. I wanted to do it [under] another another name because I thought it would be distracting ... which it has been. It was probably all a big mistake. But I like the idea. I think the song fit there. I didn't think it sounded like me, so I thought it would just kind of work. I'm not trying to get a music career out of it or anything.
Question: Is it harder to act supernatural or American?
RP: I never really saw him as an American guy, the character, even though he's got an American accent. I'm not playing a jock, which is typically American. Like you don't have to do hand signs or anything or little handshakes, that type of stuff. So I guess the supernatural thing.
Question: But you did have to learn how to play baseball...
RP: I've been asked this everywhere. "So I understand you're crap at baseball..." I just didn't care. I think sports are stupid. Catherine Hardwicke was so determined to make me look like a professional baseball player. She had this coach trying to teach me the "ready" position, like a little squat. I was like, "Seriously, I'll do it on the day. You don't have to teach me." But Catherine wanted to see it, in front of all these extras. It was just very embarrassing. So for the rest of the shoot, whenever Catherine couldn't decide how to block a shot I'd say, "I think I should be doing my ready position." But yeah, I'm terrible at baseball. I'm terrible at every sport apart from running, but I'm terrible at that now too.
Question: Talk about the use of music here, how the music sets up the feel of the Cullens.
RP: It's the outsider thing. It's always been associated with goth culture. It's become more mainstream now; everyone seems to be emo now. Because young people feel like they don't connect with anything anymore. There is no such thing as an insider anymore. Everybody feels like outsiders. Vampires are kind of the definition, anyone who preys on the rest of humanity is obviously going to be an outsider in society. All the other supernatural things are ugly, or they're silly. I don't know what music is inspired by fairies ... or zombies. It's quite difficult to say, "I'm obsessed with zombies, they're so cool!"
Question: Do you consider Edward to be emo?
RP: I don't really know what emo is to be honest. Does it mean you're in touch with your emotions? I think he's kind of the opposite. He's spent his entire life repressing everything. He's kind of ashamed of himself when he lets his facade of formality break. When Bella comes into his life. He doesn't want to feel anything. He wants to make his world smaller and smaller because he doesn't feel like he belongs in it. He either want to be a human or die because his existence is completely pointless. That's why he doesn't talk to anyone. He doesn't really feel anything in the book apart from when Bella comes. He's literally counting the cracks in the wall and stuff. Every single day is exactly the same thing. If he feels anything he shuts it down immediately. He doesn't let himself feel anything at all, so I guess it's the opposite. Or he's a closet emo.
Question: So you've read the book ... what was it like to have to live up to this expectation of being the most beautiful man?
RP: I read the book like five months before casting. I read the first 50 pages, up until when he gets introduced and I was just like, "No." Because I was really fat last year as well. So it was just like embarrassing. I thought the whole thing was embarrassing, even turning up to the audition. I hadn't read the whole book before the audition, but even [from] the four-line synopsis -- "Edward is the perfect being. He's so witty and beautiful. He's crazy and funny. He'll open doors for you. He'll drive you in his Volvo." -- I thought even turning up would be embarrassing.
I still believe the initial reaction, when I was first cast, was the true reaction. Everyone now is like "Okay, I love the books so much I'll go with it. He's beautiful. Whatever." But the initial reaction was 100 percent "He's completely wrong for it." And I agree with them. I didn't play it like some guy who knew he was beautiful. I still don't really feel it. I don't feel it at all.
Question: So were you looking at all the blogs for reaction?
RP: No, initially I did. But my mom sent me some stuff, which she thought was really funny, when I was already in America. They had this picture from this Viking film I did where I looked like someone had beaten me in the face with a frying pan. I was wearing this disgusting wig. And they were like "THIS is Edward." It was a petition, which they were going to send to Summit saying, "We will not go and see the movie." It got up to 75,000 signings. This is about three days after I got cast. I was thinking, "Thanks for sending that mom!" That was my welcome into Twilight.
Question: But now people want all the Robert Pattinson news they can get. Can you say anything about Little Ashes?
RP: I did two little movies last year. Without Twilight I don't know what would happen to them. They would get like one theater. Tiny. I love it when people come up to me and say, "I'm not actually a fan of yours from Twilight, I'm a fan of yours from the poster of Little Ashes." It's so funny.
Question: Has your life changed? Can you still walk down the street?
RP: I don't [do] too much walking down the street. I'm always doing interviews or going into rooms where everyone is screaming. I go to different cities in the world for screaming sessions.
Question: Do you ever wish for a time before the internet?
RP: Definitely. It feeds the worst part of your soul. When you have nothing to do and you go on, when you're too tired to read a book. I'll read the news, you go on to the New York Times, you get bored and go on IMDb. Then you realize how pathetic you are. I have to delete my history. It is kind of addictive, but at the same time pathetic.
Question: How do you handle that swing of emotions, from 75,000 signatures to being on the cover of EW?
RP: It's the same thing either way. I prefer sticking with the people who said they hated me. At least you've got to fight for something then. My dad said success and failure were both impostors. That's the best way to go about acting, especially when everything is so extreme. Little girls saying, "I want to have your babies!" And it's "Like, you don't. Seriously." I don't even want to have my babies.