It's weird that you get 8-year-old girls coming up to you saying, "Can you just bite me? I want you to bite me." It is really strange how young the girls are, considering the book is based on the virtues of chastity, but I think it has the opposite effect on its readers though. [Laughs]
Do you think that's part of it, though? One of the things that seems to make Edward so attractive to younger girls is that you can have it both ways. He's the ultimate bad boy, and someone that you shouldn't want, who would never harm you.
That's exactly what it is. It's a certain type of girl. I don't know what it is — when you look at fan sites [you can tell] — but there's definitely a very large fleet of people, it's actually Americans, that want those type of guys. In the book she knows the whole time [he's not going to hurt her], but Kristen [Stewart] and I tried to make it more not caring, more unpredictable. It's what I liked about the story — he's literally holding himself back every single turn, never lets up.
He's such a sort of gentlemanly character, and Kristen and I really, really emphasized that — especially when there are intimate scenes. When we did the blocking for the kissing scenes, we would be going way further than [director] Catherine [Hardwicke] thought.
And why did you want to push it in that direction?
I guess to sort of scare little girls and stuff. [Laughs] I mean, people who read the books won't be expecting it, and, for a younger person's film, it's also quite shocking. When I read that scene in the book I thought it was kind of sexy, and then when you translate it onto film, the kissing is a little like a thing out of a TV series. So I thought, "How can we make this thing a little bit on the verge of wrong?"
I think a lot of people have already judged the film before they even started shooting us, and I didn't want to be part of a film that was just a cash-in thing. So we tried to take as many risks as we could, and tried to make it a little bit more serious than people expect. It's quite difficult to take too many risks.
Were there any risks that you wanted to take that you ended up just not being able to do?
Edward's constantly saying, "I'm a monster, I'm a monster, I'm a monster," and doesn't end up being one. We shot the final scene first, and I wanted the fight to not just be a fight, but to literally have him turn into that monster. In the book he very much comes in to save the day as the hero, but I noticed when we were doing the blocking it's the first time he's seen a lot of her blood — and I thought it would be interesting [for him to start] wanting to kill her and then fighting himself for that.
There's a part that we significantly cut down in the PG-13 — when I start winning there are all these stunts, but stunts are so protracted that you couldn't get what me and Kristen wanted to do, which was to literally try to pull his head off. [At that point] it's like you've turned into this beast. Then there's a scene where I try to attack [my father in the movie] when he tells me to stop. I think it's him looking at me, saying, "I thought you were the one. You're my protégé, and you're really, really not."
After that point in the movie, he's certain that once she's seen that's who he [really] is, and there is no way there's a happy ending. I kind of wanted to make it really, really depressing; I just sort of got further, and further away from the book as I picked up on little pieces.
I think a lot of people who like the book and like the love story at the end will be sort of baffled by it. But I also thought that's the best type of love story, where the whole time he knows his thoughts and he knows he has so many doubts and he has so many things about weakness. Like, he couldn't kill himself because he's afraid he doesn't have a soul. He couldn't be a proper vegetarian vampire, can't be a proper real vampire, can't be a real man, can't be anything, and it's all like, he's completely impotent about everything. Then he finds this one thing, which makes him feel alive, and he can't even protect that. He can't do anything. He thinks he's a very insignificant human being — well, thing.
Then it makes it so much more amazing the second when both of them literally could just die when they leave each other, and I wanted to make that kind of operatic Carmen type of thing. At the same time you've got to try and please some people [laughs], and you couldn't really go too dark with it because of the book.
I wanted them to touch three times: when he saves her life and it hurts him to touch her, when they try and kiss when he tries to kill her, and when he's sucking the blood out and trying to kill because he's so afraid of what would happen. Then the director gave me a copy of the book with these highlights of all the times that he smiled and all the times that they touched. So...
Have you ever had a situation where fans sent you something kind of crazy or very extreme?
I got sent a lot of different books on Scientology by a Scientologist fan. It's quite funny actually, almost the whole series on Dianetics. She wanted me to be a Scientologist. But I mean it must have cost quite a lot with all the packaging. And I got sent this really well-bound book with all these Unibomber-type notes. I thought that was incredible.
What did they say?
Similar type of things — "Will you marry me?" sort of stuff. I thought it was pretty amazing, just like, long, hundreds of pages.
Did you read the whole thing?
Yeah pretty much. I mean, there's only so much adoration you can take before you start thinking, "Is a thank you note enough, or do I actually have to say yes to one of these people?" [Laughs]
Do you think people have trouble distinguishing you from your character?
Yeah. Then they always get really embarrassed and they say, "Sorry! I called you Edward." [Llaughs] I think people will really want something to pin their ideas on. In Italy [before the movie came out], I was literally walking straight out of the novel. But it's probably a good thing.
You said that when you read the fan sites that they're all kind of similar voice.
I get a lot of e-mails from my agent saying [fans send] complaints about my security and all that stuff, and they're really professionally written. It's something about fans of books — they're obviously much more literary. When you're in crowds, everyone's like, "We love you!" But the actual letters and stuff you get are amazing, and that's the most surprising thing about it. They're surprisingly well written, everyone's got really good vocabularies and they correct each other's grammar and things like that. It's quite funny.
I don't really know how it defines the group of people, but you always think, "you're an obsessive fan, but you seem like a logical person, so I don't understand how the two things go together."
Do you have any gay teenagers contacting you?
Not really. It's really just increasingly more and more straight guys than gay guys — unless my gaydar is just not really working. It's just started happening recently. They're all kind of a little bit embarrassed about it, but they'll all go up and still get their book signed or whatever. I'm so used to like writing to girls I always keep writing like, "Love, romance and kiss, kiss, kiss" that I have to like cross it out, "Oh, sorry about that."
The Q & A is really long, Rob talks a lot about the character and how he portrayed that on screen and interpreted the book. I put some good bits in this post but you can read the whole thing HERE.
Thanks to the uber fabulous Stella-D for the link.