Biting off more than he can chew?
Bela Lugosi never had to deal with hordes of screaming teenage girls like Robert Pattinson does.
But that's just the appeal of Edward Cullen, the brooding vampire Pattinson plays onscreen and the love interest in Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" book series. Last fall's "Twilight" movie began the love affair between Edward and the shy human girl Bella (Kristen Stewart); the sequel, "New Moon," out Nov. 20, finds Edward banishing himself from Bella's life.
To get a modern image of a vampire, Pattinson initially watched movies such as "Interview With the Vampire" and "Blade." But he really discovered who Edward was by researching outcast roles not involving the undead. "Rebel Without a Cause was a big influence on the first ["Twilight" film] -- it influenced the hairdo and stuff," Pattinson says, laughing. "In lots of ways, it has a very similar character arc: An everyday girl brings this relatively strange individual out of his slump."
A James Dean type -- that is, Pattinson -- always attracts teenage girls in flocks. "It's like The Birds, with teenage girls," says "New Moon" director Chris Weitz. "You turn around, and there would be a line of girls standing there."
Pattinson, 23, a native of London, takes all the swooning over his lanky, 6-foot-tall frame and wildly styled hair in stride. "I'm not entirely sure what it is," he says. "I'll probably realize afterward how I could have controlled it a little bit more. But I am still like a deer in headlights."
And there's the fact that many haven't yet separated Pattinson the actor from Edward the vampire. "Right at the beginning, everyone just called me Edward," he says. "I don't really mind either way. There's something about that character that, for some reason, has sparked an interest in massive degrees in so many different people.
"If you want to compete with your own character, you have to really fight. I don't know if I could be bothered to fight," he says, chuckling again. "I just let it go by."
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