Exclusive interview with Robert Pattinson! Rob talks Remember Me, Bel Ami, and what makes him happy!
Yesterday I attended a roundtable interview with Robert Pattinson for his upcoming romantic drama Remember Me. I’m a new writer at Collider and it was my first time attending a press junket and participating in a roundtable interview. Let’s just say it was an interesting experience. Anyway, in the coming days, expect more from the junket and I’ll also be contributing TV and film news.
Since Rob was there to talk about Remember Me, I was only able to get a small bit of information for you Twilight fans. But about Remember Me, Rob was very passionate about the film and seemed very eager to dive deep into his character, Tyler Hawkins. He spent a lot of time unfolding the elements of Tyler, and discovering how much he had in common with him. Hit the jump for everything Rob had to say. Remember Me gets released March 12.
Was there a time where you were sitting with Alan Coulter and the producer and something clicked for you? Can you talk about why you were attracted to this character, and about taking that step to produce?
Robert Pattinson: Well, the producing thing. (laughs) I’m kind of embarrassed about the producing thing because I wasn’t really acting like a proper producer. I only really came on after the shoot just to kind of help Alan and Nick make sure that the product was what the product in which we all wanted to make in the end. It was the summer after the first Twilight thing. I read it then and I met with Alan and Nick. I thought they were really great, and I talked to them for hours about it. I think basically what I commented to them about was, what shocked me was I was reading a ton of scripts and it just didn’t fall into any, the way the dialogue was written and the plot was structured, it didn’t fit into any kind of normal category. It didn’t seem very formulaic. I had just read tons and tons of formulaic scripts in one genre or another and it was just such a relief to find that. There was also something about Tyler, the way he reacted to things seemed very relatable to me, and I hadn’t seen another character like it in like 100 scripts. So that’s why when the period came up between
He’s a rebellious character, especially against his father. Were you attracted to that idea?
Pattinson: I mean, I don’t know if it was so much about just the rebellion that interested me. I liked how it seemed like Tyler didn’t really know what he was rebelling against. It seemed like no matter what his father was like, no matter what everyone around him is like, he’d still be rebelling. There was one interesting thing, I liked how he wasn’t fighting against everybody, he only chose to fight against his father. I think it was a pretty broken family to begin with, and I think he just takes out all of his rage on his father because his father is the only one who can take it. I mean if he tried to attack his mother, she’d probably end up killing herself or something. She’s too wounded to be able to take that. I don’t think it’s particularly typical rebel. It just comes in fits and starts all the time, so I think he’s kind of faking it. I think what he’s really rebelling against is himself.
Were there any scenes that were cut from the movie that you wished stayed?
Pattinson: I don’t know, I haven’t seen the final cut. (laughs)
What was your favorite scene to film, then?
Pattinson: I like the scene where Tyler confronts his little sister’s bullies. Basically because I kind of fancy which I would have myself just kind of being the tough guy. Actually there was more of a take that was cut out, or they didn’t use. When I pushed the little girls desk that was bullying her, and the first take I pushed it too hard and she fell on the floor and the desk on her. She looked absolutely terrified after, and it just became this turn into a psychopath. (laughs) And they had to cut it out, because they were like “you wouldn’t just go to jail for vandalism, you’d go for child abuse.” (laughs) That would really change the story. That was quite fun.
Both characters seem to really be embracing life, and I think audiences will really come away with that. What do you think is the overall feeling around love. What will people learn from watching this film?
Pattinson: I think one of the things, which I always liked about it, is that he doesn’t. Like when you meet someone who you feel whatever for, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s a finish line, and that’s like “oh you’ll be alright now afterwards.” I think that worked in the relationship with Allie and Tyler. I think it’s to show that its sort of ok to have, if you just have one moment of happiness, where you can feel that you’re happy, even if it just lasts for a minute. It’s worth a lot. Because I think people now, everyone does all of these things because they think they should be happy like all the time. Doing therapy, and taking anti-depressants and all of these things. If you’re happy all of the time, it’s difficult to acknowledge when you actually are happy.
What makes you happy?
Pattinson: I don’t know. It’s like these weird little things. It’s like what I was trying to put across in the movie, when funny little things happen, it’s not just meeting Allie, it’s all of these things kind of melds together and it hits you from left field, and you’re just like “oh yeah, I’m happy” (laughs)
This movie is so steep. The locations are amazing in the film, and it feels so authentically New York. What’s interesting to me is so much of the cast aren’t New Yorkers and don’t have a New York accent, and you’re Brooklyn accent is on point. I wonder if, working on that, what kind of research you did, or if you knew a lot about New York in 2001. And what it was like to film in the streets of New York?
Pattinson: My sister lived in New York for like 5 years and I used to go visit her all the time. I don’t know. When I read the script there seemed to be a sort of voice that was just there as soon as you read it. I’ve never had a dialect coach or anything. Ironically I’ve only had a dialect coach for this film I’m doing now, which I’m doing now in an English accent. (laughs) I guess I’ve forgotten how to do an English accent.
But what was it like for you to film in Queens, at NYU, what was that like?
Pattinson: It was nice. Obviously it was great for doing stuff at NYU, you’re filming at NYU, which is perfect. I like this bar, I went in there a few times before we starting shooting. That’s not really research. (laughing) Oh yeah I just went to a couple of bars. (laughs)
So that was a sum total of your New York research?
Pattinson: (laughs) No, I mean it was nice. I was sort of staying, it’s difficult to go out and stuff there at the time. I’ve gone out more in New York since. There’s funny little things which happened, experiences which I had in New York which were put into the script. Like a friend of mine, the whole fight in the beginning, how that was all set up, it happened to a friend of mine the day before we did the rewrites to the script. We were down in Alphabet City, and this guy jumped out of the car with a little mini baseball bat and just hit my friend in the face. The whole thing. It was literally the day before. The whole thing was put into the movie. (laughing) Annoyingly, I didn’t react in the same way. (laughing)
Pattinson: (laughing) I didn’t see what was happening until it was too late. (laughs) Even when the police asked me, they asked all the people around to give a testimony. The police looked at me and was like “oh it’s alright you don’t have to give one”, and it was because of the Twilight thing. I was like “no, I want to give a testimony!” (laughing) “I want to be a witness!”
Alan spoke a lot about your focus that you had to maintain while shooting because of the constant paparazzi attention and the screaming fans. What was that like for you to shoot such an emotional movie under the eye of people Twittering about it, and people screaming at you?
Pattinson: It’s like the first two weeks were kind of crazy, because I was all around NYU and Washington Square park and there’d be tons of people around anyway. I think it was annoying people as well, that all of these crowds came and disrupted peoples days, so that was really difficult at the beginning. But, I think after that you just get used to it. You just block certain things out. I was trying to figure out a way to use the sort of rage that was built up, but you couldn’t really use it for that character. If the same thing had happened during this movie that I’m doing now, it would have been perfect and I could have gone around hitting paparazzi and stuff and it would have been great because I would have been staying in character. (laughs) But it didn’t really work for Tyler, he’s not that kind of guy.
Do you see yourself trying to sort of make a big gap between Twilight and everything else you do so people realize there this…something so different from the phenomenon that everybody focus on?
More to you…
Pattinson: No, I don’t really focus on trying to do it, I don’t think. I pick scripts the same way, I think, that I’ve always done. I barely like anything, and so it’s kind of easy to pick your jobs. The things which I’m signed onto now are all completely different. Like I’m playing a white Comanche in one thing and the parts completely in Comanche. Bel Ami is, I thought there was a kind of irony in Bel Ami as well, because a lot of the women are attracted to this character and then he kind of screws them over and steals their money and stuff. (laughs) Which I thought was quite funny compared to the Twilight character. (laughing) It’s kind of the polar opposite. It wasn’t intentional, I just thought Bel Ami was very funny, and it’s a very interesting character. With Remember Me, I’d never done a simple story before, and it’s not that simple, but its playing a normal guy and trying to relate to things on a normal level it’s kind of relief in a lot of ways.
It reminded me of James Dean on a slight, with the rebel without a cause. Did you think of him in sort of a classical way? When you said he’s rebelling against himself, that this is just someone who’s just someone who’s sort of in a fury about the way the world is.
Pattinson: I think it’s a fairly typical state to be in. I think there’s that element, but I was also interested in the kind of, in Tyler there was a lot of elements of sort of arrogance things about him, which I thought were quite interesting. To have a loss in your family, and then I think a lot of the fighting in his family is because he feels like the attention has kind of gone off of him a bit. You have these petty things, which turn you into this iconic rebel or whatever, and it’s just based on these silly things, kind of like almost despicable emotions that you have about it. I tried to make that apparent in Remember Me. There’s a reason why James Dean stereotype is so common, especially in actors, I think. I think its pretty real. It’s also an ideal for young guys I think. I think, anyway. Because as soon as you stop struggling against something, what have you got to do? That’s the whole point being young, struggling against things.
Your chemistry with the younger sister character was so strong. Can you talk about what you had to do, and if there was anything different you had to do finding that with a child actor?
Pattinson: She did everything; I mean completely. On the first day I met her. Me, Alan, and Emilie were sitting around discussing our scenes together and she hadn’t really said anything, and I kind of asked just to be nice. I was just like [ducking his head down and talking just above a whisper] “so, you know what do you think about it?” And she’s sitting there with her pencil and engaged in this whole diatribe of her characters back story and everything, and in the most interesting way. And she’d be writing notes, about all of the stuff we were saying, like quoting what we were saying. She’s phenomenal. She’s going to be a massive actress, I think. She’s the best improviser I’ve ever met. You can literally say anything to her, and she’ll completely stay in character. Even if the camera is not on her, she’ll stay completely in character the whole time. Also, she’s no actressy as well. She’s kind of like one of those weird, hyper-intelligent, hyper-mature kid. Then I saw her with her little friends and just like a little girl when you see her with her friends. I just don’t understand how that happens at all. She’s so easy to act with, you don’t have to do anything, just look at her. It’s the first time since the day I began acting where I just feel completely unselfconscious, because I could feel that she wasn’t at all and it rubs off on me. I love when she was like “you’re so retarted” (laughs) That’s just an 11 year old girl thing to say.
How was it to work with Emilie?
Pattinson: She’s great, yeah. And completely different to what I…what I thought was going to be cast.
Are you a fan of LOST?
Pattinson: I’ve never seen it
What are your thoughts on the
Pattinson: I really don’t mind either way.