For the uninitiated, Pattinson stars as vampire heartthrob Edward in the film adaptation (out Nov 21) of Stephenie Meyer's ludicrously popular book series. The actor's previous credits include a (spoiler alert!) tragic turn as Cedric Diggory inHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), but his OMFG-level success seems to have popped up overnight.
"Hey, is that the Lost Boys soundtrack?": Robert Pattinson with Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart. (Photo credit: Peter Sorel)
When I met Pattinson in San Francisco later that same Monday, the mood was substantially more subdued.
It turns out that, in many ways, he's a lot like Edward. No, he doesn't sparkle in the sunlight, but he is pretty damn charming. And like his vampiric counterpart, Pattinson's just trying to be a normal guy. Maybe Twilight wasn't the best project to choose, but back when he signed up for the role, the actor didn't quite know what he was in for.
"I went into it having absolutely no idea what it was," he admitted, "and then shot it having pretty much no idea. I mean, some people turned up to the set occasionally, but I kind of expected that. I knew it was a popular book."
What Pattinson didn't know was the level to which certain Twilight fans have devoted their lives — nay, their souls — to the series. They're called Twilighters, and they descended in droves on this year's Comic-Con in San Diego. It was the actor's first encounter with the fandom.
"The word 'twilight' got projected on the wall and they just screamed for a 45-minute press conference, the entire time just screaming and screaming," he recalled. "Up until that point I wasn't really expecting anything."
Ah, supernatural romance. (Photo credit: Peter Sorel)
Even after the eardrum-killing experience, Pattinson's still adjusting to life in the spotlight. Speaking to him, it's clear his down-to-earth demeanor is the real thing. He's doing his best to be no different than the rest of us — and he swears the same goes for Edward. That whole vampire thing, it's merely incidental.
"I never saw him as a vampire," Pattinson said. "You just have to commit to saying, OK, [you're] going to live forever, you're a thousand times stronger and faster than a human being, and then you have to drink blood in some form or another — and just ignore the fact that it's a mystical thing, and imagine you're a human who had to live like that."
Fair enough, if not a bit unconventional. Though gaining popularity, the idea of a normal vampire — Joe the Vampire, if you will — is a relatively recent phenomenon. Pattinson concedes that his Edward isn't the mirror image of Meyer's.
"Elements of the character in the book, I thought, girls wouldn't find that attractive," he said. "Being too polite and being too much of a security blanket is just not sexy at all. And so, I kind of strayed a little bit in the movie away from being too gentlemanly."
A sexier, more uninhibited Edward? I doubt the fans will mind. Besides, he's still a vampire, regardless of where Pattinson decides to take the role. What is it about bloodsucking fiends, anyway? Why did Buffy fall hard for the eternally brooding Angel? What does True Blood's Sookie Stackhouse see in the uber-dull Bill?
"It's all to do with being seduced," Pattinson posits. "It's not really to do with brute force. Plus, there aren't that many supernatural things that can be attractive. You can't really have a sexy zombie."
Zombie Strippersexcluded, that's probably true, but I'm still not sure I'm satisfied. Oh, well. I don't have to understand the vampire crush to know that they're hot, just as I don't need to be under Pattinson's mystical thrall to get his appeal. I mean, seriously, have you seen his hair?
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