Robert Pattinson talks about picking strange roles, proactive fans and more in 3 interviews
Here's some weekend reading to dissect. 2 interviews were conducted during Cannes and the final one is a translation but reads well. Enjoy some ClassicRob!
The Sunday Times - From Beauty To Beast: The best thing about Robert Pattinson is how weird he is. If he weren’t acting, he’d be the one in the office grinning with half a mouth and going out of his way to avoid the water cooler. He’s friendly, but weird — with a laugh like Butt-head if he’d gone to a nice independent school in Barnes. We met in May at the Cannes film festival, once he’d finished his cigarette under a sky barely holding its rain. To call his clothes “grunge” would be a disservice to the thought that goes into grunge. It’s just messy: lumberjack shirt, T-shirt, trainers, white jeans. “I’m so hung-over,” he moans, as I turn the tape on. “I feel absolutely disgusting.”
The room is packed with soggy hacks. They sit in clusters, for 15 minutes of R-Patz, for a quote about Twilight to spread over the internet. The vampire saga is over, but remains undead. From 2008 to 2012, those five films, based on Stephenie Meyer's novels, made £2 billion worldwide and fostered a fan base still fervently in love with their leading man. To many, he will always be Edward, the immortal who cared and fell in love with Bella (Kristen Stewart). They added to the mystique by becoming an off-screen couple, too. Throw in his key role in Harry Potter and it’s unsurprising that the pallid hunk has spent much of his life in the headlines. It’s been an odd coming-of-age for the youngest of three, who grew up in a polite London suburb and, as I find out, doesn’t really like big films.
What he does like is his latest role, in The Rover, an indie thriller from the director David Michôd, who hasn’t even seen Twilight. This pleases Pattinson, who talks avidly about the film even though he went to a party last night and “forgot” he had to work. There are few more normal 28-year-old multimillionaires. We talk about a recent interview for Dior in which he spoke, foolishly, about French girls because, “I was being asked ‘What’s your favourite part of scent?’” He shakes his head at the inanity of the question. “I also told someone I use moisturiser, and then saw it written down — I’ve spent all this time trying to get credibility and there’s a fucking headline about moisturiser!’”
The thing is, he’s mortified. All he wants, and needs, now is credibility. He’s loaded: five Twilights and some fashion contracts have sorted that. So, over the past few years, since David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis in 2012, he has been seeking weird, dirty roles. He’s the only actor to have had sex in a limo — on screen — twice this decade. In The Rover, he defecates in a dusty shrub. I put a quote from Catherine Hardwicke, who shot the first Twilight, to him. “Rob’s obviously ridiculously photogenic, but he’s also so talented. I see him creating stylised, odd, wild characters.” He squirms at the first part, but loves the second.
“I’m picking things so strange, they can’t be judged in normal terms,” he says. His brain is creaking; his voice, soft and tired. “If anything’s relatable in a mass way, I don’t know if I can do it. That’s just not how I relate to anything. If there are certain character beats, I’m not going to be able to achieve them. So I like making it my own game. You can invent a new set of emotions that don’t even really make sense to you.”
In The Rover he plays Rey, a bloodied drifter in a future Australia, ravaged lawless by some unspecified crash. He may be a soldier and, as Pattinson puts it, is “handicapped”. The actor is excellent, bringing the baggage of his better-known work to a sombre, serious film — Sad Max, if you like — that pits him against Guy Pearce’s angry Eric. The pretty one sings along to a song that goes: “Don’t hate me ’cause I’m beautiful.” Rey’s teeth are awful: pyramid-sharp and crooked. They remind Pattinson of “the kids at school who didn’t brush their teeth” — the “weirdos”, he smirks. “Always the ones who played too many video games.”
This is what’s fun about Pattinson — or, at least, his hung-over version. There’s no filter. Most big shots would hold back from a slur about people who play video games, as most of them watch their movies, too. But he doesn’t. I suggest that the mentally and physically crooked Rey is his Miley Cyrus moment, a public ruining of something innocent. “It’s like doing Miley Cyrus,” he repeats, grunt-giggling, but I don’t think he ever thought of himself as pure. He certainly doesn’t care. He doesn’t even have a publicist. I could have asked who he’s dating, but any answer about that from a globetrotting young heart-throb in May, for a piece in August, felt hopeless. On the way out to Cannes, I read up on his love life. There were rumours about the model Imogen Kerr, and Katy Perry, and Katy Perry’s stylist.
I ask what he thinks he will be remembered for, how Google will autofill his name in the future. Stewart — his Twilight co-star, about whom he recently said, “Shit happens” — will always be there. So will Twilight. What else? “Gay?” he laughs. But it’s not really up to you, I add. Yours is an image controlled by manic fans, ones who retweet any news about any role hundreds of times a minute. “They’re very proactive,” he nods. “Good publicists. But I don’t like referring to them as ‘fans’. I think it’s gross when people are, like, ‘I love my fans!’ You don’t even know them.” He continues, saying he thinks that’s probably dubious as he’s “quite insecure”, before booming, theatrically: “ ‘How can you ever love me? You don’t!’ ” I have no idea how much of this conversation he will remember.
More under the cut!
I grab five minutes with Pearce — who broke away from his teen-sweetheart part, Mike in Neighbours, with a series of sketchy roles in tough films — to see if he has any advice about how to escape a past. He doesn’t envy his co-star, far better known than even he was in the 1980s. “I’m glad I haven’t had to deal with it,” he says, frankly. “It’s pretty full on. Rob’s got a good sense of humour, but it gets to him, totally. He sees Twilight stuff and goes, ‘Eurgh, whatever...’ ” Pearce can’t help. It’s hard to outrun a quickly lived past. Pattinson went to the same prep school as Tom Hardy, albeit almost a decade later, and I imagine he envies his fellow alumnus’s slow-build career.
“People always ask, ‘Can you actually act?’ ” Pattinson tells me. He’s frustrated. “Well, what the hell do you think I was doing in Twilight? Good or bad, I was acting. It’s the same articles every single time.”
I ask if he has been turned down for roles because of what went before. “One job. It’s only ever been one job, when someone said, ‘I can’t cast you because of Twilight.’ ” And the film was? “Oh, just some film that flopped anyway.”
He has a list of 20 directors he wants to work with. There is “no career plan”, but he wants “people to have a good time with, to tell your friends about”. As yet unseen are films he has done with Werner Herzog and Anton Corbijn. He has made two Cronenbergs in two years, the second being the Hollywood satire Maps to the Stars. He’s sticking to his word.
“Your last job is your last job, and you’re potentially not ever going to get another job again,” he says. “So, you know, ‘I worked with Werner Herzog’ — that’s better than saying, ‘I’m doing Whatever 3’, when you get a bunch of money and shoot for 11 months and promote for eight months and then everyone says it’s shit. I think doing a movie for anyone except yourself is crazy.”
He rambles at length, as passionate people do, half monologue, half conversation. Revealing snippets come thick and fast. “I hear actors say they don’t read reviews or care about it, and I think they’re making it up. Everybody cares about it.” Or, when I ask about a YouTube video called Robert Pattinson Hates Twilight, he shrugs: “I’ve said so many dumb things.” He then accuses critics of giving “more leeway to mainstream movies made as entertainment”, and thinks the “crazy”, much derided Cosmopolis will find an audience on late-night TV. I hope so. It’s a smart film. “When people make difficult things, it’s hard enough for anyone to see it,” he says. “They are reliant on critics to buoy it up a little bit.” He’s annoyed they often don’t.
If The Rover — shot in a town of 50 people, “who live there to get away” — is the remoteness Pattinson craves, then Maps to the Stars is the celebrity he knows. On the shoot for the former, he “stopped wearing fake-dirt make-up and just looked dirty”. In the latter, he wears an awards-show suit and drives around Beverly Hills in a limo with famous actresses. It’s nebulous, with Julianne Moore as a washed-up diva, John Cusack and Olivia Williams a terrifying power couple with awful children, and Carrie Fisher as Carrie Fisher. “I thought it was hilarious,” says Pattinson. “Subversive, combative. But that’s Cronenberg.” He has seen brats like the film’s Benjie (Evan Bird), who has too much too young and loses it all, but doesn’t know why people turn out like that.
Near the end, Pearce bursts through a big curtain and tries to make Pattinson leap into his photoshoot. The younger man curls up. “I hate having my picture taken. Hate it,” he protests. He’s pushed. He flat-out refuses. “I’m way too self-conscious.” He doesn’t want to be the focus of attention any more. Playing leads, he says, isn’t fun. Big movies, he says, aren’t fun. “You just don’t get interesting parts, and you also have to work out tons for a movie you might not like. It’s a big hassle.” He just wants to make weird films and his own weird music. Not that he will release the latter. “I can’t deal with criticism very well,” he sighs. “I’ve already got it from one angle. I don’t need it from anything else.”
The whole day reminds me of the sharpest thing I’ve seen Pattinson say, a joke on an American chat show that sums him up well. It was with Jimmy Fallon, two years ago, when the host said that “millions of Twilight fans” were heartbroken by the end of the saga. “Bittersweet, isn’t it?” he asks. His guest pauses, making as little eye contact then as he did with me. “Erm,” he replies, “for them.” After our interview, I hear him struggle with questions about superheroes, and if he could survive an apocalypse. Later, he heads for another cigarette in the rain. “I’m quite good at being by myself,” he told me earlier and, as I watch him, soaking, I believe him. Actually, somewhere in his mind, I think he’s already by himself, all the time.
The Herald Scotland: We're up on the sixth floor of the Cannes Film Festival Palais, on a rather splendid little terrace overlooking the crystal-blue waters of the Cote d'Azur. And, guarding the room we're about to meet in, is this diminutive silver pachyderm - the sort of mildly tasteless bling you tend to see on the French Riviera. Pattinson is evidently tickled: it's not every day you see something quite so silly.
Then again, you suspect he's seen a lot of bizarre things in his time since exploding on to the scene as teen vampire Edward Cullen in the mega-hit Twilight franchise. That was six years ago, during which time he's got used to seeing gaggles of screaming girls wherever he goes. Heaven knows what they made of the recent black-and-white Dior Homme commercial he shot - a sizzling, sexy spot scored by Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love. Maybe that's why he has that permanently dazed look.
Today, he's looking relatively unscathed by the fame that follows him like a familiar. It might be close to 6pm, but Pattinson has a brilliant means of affecting that just-got-out-of-bed look. Dressed in beige trousers, a green-and-navy lumberjack check shirt, black Adidas trainers and a black bomber jacket, it's a casual street feel that suggests more Urban Outfitters than Armani Couture. Factor in the stubble, sleepy green eyes and tousled hair and it's like he's splashed on eau de hipster.
With two new films to bang the drum for - The Rover and Maps To The Stars - it's Pattinson's second time in Cannes in two years, following his arrival as a limo-dwelling billionaire in David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis. That was a turning point, he says. "I'd never even been to a festival before. It makes you think differently about things. You realise what you like. Cannes means a lot to me. I'm basically aiming for everything to get into Cannes."
At 28, this boy from Barnes, in south-west London, is craving credibility. "Rob really fights to be seen as an actor, rather than just as a movie star," says director Anton Corbijn. "He's really trying to prove his worth." Corbijn has just finished working with him on Life, which casts Pattinson as photographer Dennis Stock at the time he undertook an assignment to shoot a pre-fame James Dean. Looking down the lens, rather than being deluged by flashbulbs, was doubtless intriguing. "It was interesting for him to be on the other side of the camera for once," adds Corbijn.
Of course, it's been difficult, given his on-off romance with Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart. Two years back, the media-crowned R-Patz and K-Stew were in Cannes together. "It's nice to have someone who is really ambitious and has good taste," he told me at the time. "I've always liked my friends and people around me to be quite good pacemakers. You don't want to have a bunch of arse kissers around. You want it to be a competition. You want the people you respect to be good."
Then the unthinkable happened. Stewart was snapped kissing Rupert Sanders, her (married) director on Snow White And The Huntsman. It virtually kept the gossip rags afloat for that summer, as Pattinson moved out of their LA home and went on Jon Stewart's chat show (where the host brought out Ben & Jerry's ice-cream to console him). After reportedly getting back together, and overlooking her "momentary indiscretion", they finally split in January last year.
More recently, Pattinson has been linked to just about every A-list starlet going - from model Imogen Kerr to musician Katy Perry and actor Riley Keough, who happens to be Elvis's granddaughter and a friend of Stewart. Naturally, Pattinson is coy on the subject of his singledom, but he's still willing to talk about Stewart - at least when it comes to their work ethos. "I think both of us have had pretty similar ideas about what we want to do. I think. Well, actually I didn't … I didn't really know what I wanted to do until two years ago."
Smartly, the only relationships he's building right now are with directors, meeting and greeting even before scripts are on the table. "I got sick of just waiting for something to happen," he says.
Strangely, despite his unfathomable levels of fame, he's not the sort of actor the Hollywood studios have come calling for to front huge summer blockbusters. "Maybe after the first Twilight, I had offers for that kind of stuff, but I've never really been part of the group that gets offered that stuff. You get quite defined by Twilight in terms of big franchise stuff."
It seems the intensity of the Twilight years has sent him searching for more soulful, adult experiences - as demonstrated by his two new movies. In The Rover he teams up with Guy Pearce for an apocalyptic Australian tale set 10 years after a global economic meltdown. Taking place in an arid landscape full of scavengers and thieves, the film begins with Pearce's character Eric seeing his car stolen. Refusing to relinquish his possession, he gives chase - and along the way meets the slow-witted Rey, played by Pattinson.
The pair form an uneasy bond in a world of chaos. It's a unique role for an actor usually cast as either the romantic hero (Twilight, Water For Elephants) or the arrogant alpha-male (Cosmopolis, 2012's Guy de Maupassant adaptation Bel Ami). When writer-director David Michod met Pattinson, he hadn't seen the Twilight films. "Still haven't," says the director, smiling. "I just met him while I was meeting all sorts of people in LA and I really liked him. He came in to test for The Rover and I knew almost immediately that I'd found my Rey. It was as simple as that."
Shot in Australia's Flinders Ranges in scorching temperatures, Pattinson says he revelled in the discomfort. "If you're trying to do something where you weren't playing someone who is filthy and disgusting all the time, then it would have been annoying - if you had someone [from the make-up department] constantly getting rid of your sweat. But when you can wallow around it, it's nice." Pattinson, it should be noted, once admitted to Jay Leno that he rarely washes his hair. "There's a scene - me and Guy up against a fence. I remembered it; we'd both been out in this ridiculous heat and kind of being a bit insane, and I realised it just wasn't make-up any more. We were both so sunburned and looked like such shit. And even the look in your eye … there wasn't anything to eat out there either, so I was literally eating pieces of bread with barbecue sauce on, for six weeks. I was turning into a lunatic."
Michod, for one, is aware that The Rover is not your usual R-Patz fare. "I don't know what his fans will make of the movie," he shrugs. It explains why Pattinson was desperate for the role. "I've never worked so hard for an audition. I was obsessed with it. But once I got the job, I've never felt more free in a part. There were no constraints to it at all. The first thing I asked David was, 'Is Rey mentally handicapped?' And he said, 'I don't know. Decide.' It was really open."
His second new film, Maps To The Stars, sees a reunion with Cronenberg - proving again that in showbusiness it's not what you know. "He just offered it to me. I hadn't even seen the script, but I was like, 'Yeah, definitely.' I like him and I like all his movies."
A venomous Hollywood satire that deals with the warped and corrosive nature of fame, it's one of the best-written pieces you'll see all year, not least as it showcases Julianne Moore's Cannes-winning Best Actress performance as Havana Segrand, a desperate Hollywood has-been.
When Pattinson finally did read the script, he was immediately taken. "It's the weirdest story in the world," he smiles. He plays the brilliantly-named Jerome Fontana, an aspiring actor who makes his crust driving a limo (presumably a sly nod to his Cosmopolis role) and befriends Mia Wasikowska's character - a shy, disfigured girl who arrives from out of town to become a personal assistant to Havana. One of the most eye-catching scenes, however, sees Pattinson and Moore enjoying athletic sex in the back of his limo.
It's not his first time at this particular rodeo, having enjoyed more than his fair-share of limo-bonking in Cosmopolis - notably with Juliette Binoche. "None of them were supposed to be sex scenes, and he [Cronenberg] changed them all afterwards," he protests. "I always find sex scenes are the most random thing to see in a movie. Two actors pretending to have sex. Why? It's so stupid." Quite whether this means he'd like to eliminate sex scenes from movies or indulge in authentic copulation on screen is not clear.
Presumably it's the former - given the experience he had with Moore on Maps. "That was kind of hilarious. That was the first time I'd met Julianne as well. It was so hot in Toronto [where the film was shot], and she's one of these people … she doesn't sweat at all. But I sweat like a crazy person. And I was trying to literally catch drops of sweat from hitting her back. It was so embarrassing. Afterwards she was like, 'Are you OK? Are you having a panic attack?' It was so embarrassing."
Still, at least the scene will help stamp out those silly rumours questioning Pattinson's sexuality after an interview he gave to the US magazine Details when he spoke with Jenny Lumet, who worked uncredited on the script of 2010's Remember Me, a romantic drama set in the build-up to 9/11 starring Pattinson and Emilie de Ravin. In it, in reaction to the magazine's photo shoot that put him among a cluster of naked models, he claimed he was "allergic to vagina".
Ironically, it was as a means of meeting girls that Pattinson's father Richard encouraged him to act. He joined an amateur group, Barnes Theatre Company, and was soon cast in a role in a production of Guys And Dolls. Both his father, who ran a business importing vintage cars, and mother Clare were immediately encouraging. "When I was not trying very hard at school, my dad was like, 'Just leave school and get a job.' No-one ever said, 'You need to do your exams.' It was more like, 'If you're not going to take advantage of things, don't do it. Do so something else.'"
Pattinson's upbringing alongside his older sisters Lizzy and Victoria sounds harmonious. His mother used to work at a model agency - and the teenage Pattinson began by getting work in this field (though he later claimed he had "the most unsuccessful modelling career"). His first acting break didn't exactly go to plan either, as he was left on the cutting room floor of Mira Nair's 2004 adaptation of Vanity Fair. A year later, however, he was cast in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, playing the handsome Quidditch star Cederic Diggory. Around the same time, he was due to appear in a Royal Court production of The Woman Before, but was fired before opening night and replaced by Tom Riley.
"Getting fired from that was probably the best thing that happened to me because I was going around saying 'I'm such a firebrand, such a rebel. I got fired because I wanted to keep my integrity as an actor.'" He almost blushes at the recollection. "I just remember saying so much bullshit to people afterwards."
It's moments like this that make Pattinson such an engaging and honest interviewee. He recalls the aftermath, auditioning for A Few Days In September, a Juliette Binoche movie. "I wanted it so bad," he recalls. But, to rub salt into the gaping wound, the role went to his replacement on the play, Tom Riley. "Because Tom replaced me so close to the play going on, there was a really good review of his which [mistakenly] said it was me. So I took it to America with me, and I was like, 'I've been doing theatre.'"
Thankfully, his saviour came in the shape of Edward Cullen. "If I hadn't done Twilight, I'm not even sure if I'd be acting any more. I was doing jobs for £500 for four months." He cites Little Ashes, in which he played Picasso. "I got Twilight afterwards, completely by fluke. I had no money, and I had to pay a tax bill." Now it's so different - with an estimated fortune well over £40 million. While Time magazine placed him among their 100 most influential people list, a Russian astronomer even named an asteroid he discovered as 246789 Pattinson.
In all this time, Pattinson hasn't stopped challenging himself. You'll next see him playing Colonel TE. Lawrence, made famous by Peter O'Toole in Lawrence Of Arabia. The film is Queen Of The Desert, which tells the story of English writer, traveller and archaeologist Gertrude Bell, played by Nicole Kidman. "Obviously it's big shoes to fill, but it's not like I'm playing Lawrence of Arabia," says Pattinson. "It's Gertrude Bell's story, and Lawrence was just … they were just friends. They were best friends for a period."
There's talk too that he might team up with Robert De Niro in Idol's Eye, the story of a gang of crooks robbing a pawn shop. While that might be a daunting prospect, there's a relish in Pattinson's eyes; he's finally being accepted as an actor, not a tween heartthrob. As a result, he's been able to banish self-consciousness. "You find it a lot in acting, especially when you feel the need to prove yourself all the time. The main enemy is getting trapped within yourself. It happens all the time."
The Rover (15) opens on August 15. Maps To The Stars (cert TBC) is released on September 26.
Best Movie (Italy) Translation: He wears a green and yellow plaid shirt, black sneakers with thick soles and thick cotton socks. He wears a pair of light colored pants, which seem to have been worn by him for a week. When he speaks, he keeps his head slightly angled, he breaks his sentences; suddenly he stares at me, with a crocked smile and watch me like he was thinking “Do you really care about this?” Of all the stars that you can meet, Robert Pattinson is the one that disguises himself the best. His diversity and his potential are in this askew allure, like his face, like an odd predestination. He seems to be here by accident, and by accident famous, lost and amused, without complacence. For instance, talking about his sex scene with Julianne Moore in Maps To The Stars, he is able to say: ”It was our first encounter; it was my first day on set. In Toronto, where we were filming, the weather was steamy hot and I was sweating a lot. She is one of those absurd people that don’t sweat at all. Ever. So, think what a situation, I was trying not to wet her back with my sweat! And I must have looked so weird to her eyes because she kept asking me: “Are you alright?”
At 28 years old he seems to find himself in a zone of his career that he likes. Escaped from the post Twilight frets, he committed himself in avoiding scripts made to keep him stuck to an image of himself that he doesn’t recognize, and he is becoming a constant presence in very important film festivals. After the double commitment with Cronenberg (Cosmopolis and Maps To The Stars), he filmed Queen Of The Desert, by Werner Herzog (a movie about the legendary life of Gertrude Bell), and in the meanwhile in autumn his movie, The Rover, will hit the scene in the Italian theaters. The Rover is the new movie of David Michod, a young Australian director, well known for his fabulous film noir Animal Kingdom (2010) that was screened in Cannes. Guy Pearce was cast in Animal Kingdom in the role of a policeman and in this new post-apocalyptic thriller, all filmed in the Australian outback, he plays the role of a man robbed of his last owning: a car that hides a secret. So begins this story in which he (Guy) chases after the men who stole his car, with the help of a disturbed and confused guy that has the face of Robert Pattinson.
HOW WAS WORKING WITH GUY? THERE ARE SOME INTENSE SCENES BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU
“It was amazing! His character is totally different from him, he (Eric) has to keep (me) constantly under pressure. He reminds me of a sort of Terminator, with less scary facial features. It is easy to fall in playing a caricature in those situations, instead of being really terrified. It was weird to share the scene with someone that had to be so manichaean, all black or white. It has created very interesting dynamics.”
AND WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER? HE IS A STRANGE GUY THAT IS NOT ABLE TO EXPRESS HIMSELF.
“I had a quite clear idea about him, when I first read the script. Never in my career I worked so hard for an audition. I rehearsed my lines 12 hours a day for weeks, I was obsessed with them. I worked with my voice, trying to find a peculiar accent. But once I had the part, I’ve never felt so free in my acting. I didn’t have any limit. The first thing I asked to David was: “Is my character mentally challenged?” And he answered “I don’t know, you decide.”
AND WHAT DID YOU DECIDE? EVEN AFTER SEEING THE MOVIE IS THERE STILL A DOUBT?
“I answered to myself that he is a person who has been said “You are a disabled”. Actually he is a shy and insecure guy who grew up in a hard setting, with people constantly beating him up and telling him to shut up. He arrived to a point in which he thinks he doesn’t have to think anymore, it’s enough to follow other’s orders. So he gave up his own personality. A bullied guy in a way. And when Eric speaks with him and he asks him a question, he doesn’t know what to do because it never happened to him before. For this reason Eric that is seen by everyone as an asshole, is actually the only one that really sees him.
AFTER SEEING CAMP X REY WITH KRISTEN STEWART I THOUGHT THAT SHE IS GOING THROUGH A PERIOD, IN HER LIFE, WHICH RESEMBLES A LOT TO YOURS. DO YOU TWO STILL COMPARE YOUR MUTUAL CHOICES ABOUT YOUR CAREERS?
“No. Not really. But we both had the same concepts about which kind of movie we wanted to do. Until two years ago, I didn’t have a clear idea about what I wanted. Filming Cosmopolis, presenting it in Cannes, really helped me to understand what I really like. Cosmopolis has been an unexpected experience that allowed me to get to know a world I love: I would do anything to be in Cannes every year.
SINCE WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THIS… WAS IT A RELIEF TO KNOW THAT CRONENBERG HAD NEVER SEEN TWILIGHT?
“For me it makes no difference. I any case I would have auditioned for that role. I’ve always tried to do different things for every role I played. It doesn’t really matter to me if a director has seen my previous movies, because, in any case, I will do something different and unique for him.”
RECENTLY YOUR CHOICES HAVE BEEN ORIENTED TOWARDS DIRECTORS WHO LOVE TO MAKE A DARKER KIND OF MOVIE, LIKE CRONENBERG OR HERZOG OR MICHOD HIMSELF. HAVE YOU EVER FELT THIS PASSION FOR THIS KIND OF MOVIE?
“It’s not important to me. Herzog’s movie, for instance, will be not so dark. It’s more an adventure kind of movie. I made a list of the 20 directors I would like to work with: with them all I will play anything, no matter what. It’s enough for me to work with them. In the last years I understood that if you work with the best directors in the end you will be always content with the final result. And you will be always put in a challenging situation.”
20 DIRECTORS, BUT YOU STILL CAME BACK TO WORK AGAIN WITH CRONENBERG
“I said yes, without even reading the script. I like to work with him and I like his movies. I realized, in the last years, that I’ve been having entertaining relationships with some directors, even before any script was written. I was tired of waiting. And then, suddenly, everything started to work perfectly.”
WHO DID YOU MEET?
“I went out to some dinners with James Gray, trying to work with him. We still keep in touch, you never know! (he laughs). Usually we go out to have a drink together, but I never stalked them with strange letters!”
DO YOU TOTALLY EXCLUDE TO DO SOMETHING SIMILAR TO TWILIGHT IN FUTURE?
“I have had other offers for similar roles. But I’ve never been part of that kind of actors “for Majors”. Surely being part of Twilight has put me in that position in a certain way. But I don’t feel comfortable at all in the middle of a blockbuster or a franchise. Apart from Twilight and Harry Potter, the only other big production I have been part of is Water for Elephants. And anyway it was not a huge production, with its 35 million dollar budget. And it wasn’t a franchise. After Twilight I made decisions that was okay for me. I did what I wanted to do.”
IN THE END, CAN YOU TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT QUEEN OF THE DESERT?
“In few words I wanted to work with Herzog, even in a small role. He is an interesting person, and I was more nervous to meet him than to play my role. The movie tells the story of Gertrude Bell. I play the part of Colonel Thomas Lawrence, even if I’ve never seen Lawrence of Arabia. I know it is incredible! My role is a minor character in the main character’s vicissitudes. Herzog is great person; he can tell you an infinite amount of crazy anecdotes. He is eccentric and funny, incredibly sure about himself.”
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