Idolised by millions of teenaged girls around the world and voted several times the sexiest man alive, Robert Pattinson told me at an interview at a Santa Monica luxury hotel that although he has accepted his fame, he is still not at peace with it.
He seems to be enjoying the adulation, but the shy Brit feels embarrassed by the excessive attention. The poor guy can’t walk the street without being chased by armies of paparazzi and throngs of screaming girls.
“When it first started, I never really realised I had to embrace it to a certain extent, and I guess I think a little bit more strategically about it now. But in terms of living my life, it’s still pretty much the same thing apart from just working all the time.”
Unlike many other young stars, The 24-year-old actor doesn’t squander his fame in debauchery, drugs and clubs. “All I want is to keep working,” he says.
And that’s exactly what fame has bestowed upon him. He is actually one of the hottest stars in Hollywood, commanding a 7 figure salary for playing the most coveted roles in the business. “When you are famous, the quality of the writing and the projects you get are better.” he giggles.
Pattinson invaded the consciousness of humanity in 2005 when he portrayed Cedric Diggory in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” but it was the romantic vampire hit “Twilight,” that elevated him to a favoured pin-up status.
“Before Twilight, I’d just been a piece in a machine and the sum of the parts was worth more than the parts,” he giggles. “But now when I promote a movie, I am aware of how my personality comes across rather than the character in the movie, as people used to perceive me before I became famous.”
Recently, he has starred opposite Reese Witherspoon in the adaptation of “Water for Elephants,” in which he plays the lead character, Jacob Jankowski, a veterinary medical student at Cornell, who is left with nothing when his parents are killed in a car accident. He drops out and joins a second-rate traveling circus trying to survive the 1930s Depression.
In spite of his inexperience in circus and not doing much preparation, Pattinson delivers an impressive and convincing performance, eclipsing the performances of the rest of the cast and keeping the teetering film flowing. Although he has visited circus only once when he was 7, he eschewed visiting one or watching movies about the subject prior to the shoot.
“I didn’t really look at any other circus movies because I guess Jacob is supposed to be looking at it fresh but I looked at a lot of Gary Cooper movies just for the movement of the â€˜30s because he has a similar frame to me and I like that movement.”
Watching a documentary about the 1930s depression and sensing the authenticity of the set helped Pattinson to loose himself into that era and Jacob’s character. “As soon as you walked out into the desert where the set was, you feel you are in the 1930s,” he marvels.
Having spent a few months on set with elephant Kai, Pattinson feels more connected to her than to his human fans. “I definitely understood the female elephant. She seems to be a lot more logical. She likes peppermint and she’ll do some tricks with it, that’s about it. As for fans, I don’t really know how they think at all,” the animal lover says laughing.
The idol of millions is not only a pretty face. While not working, he spends his time at home, reading and writing. In fact, he is so unimpressed with the quality of scripts he reads and films he sees that he has formed his own production company to produce his own work.
“I used to write a lot of stuff when I wasn’t getting acting jobs to kind of dream about writing parts for yourself. The more I read scripts and watch movies, the more I ask ‘Why is that getting made and better stuff isn’t?’ So I think ‘Well, what’s the point of just producing something when you feel you can write something?’. So as soon as I have some time off I’m going to try and do that.”
Indeed, the hard working actor doesn’t even take breaks and still doesn’t know how to relax. “I think generally when I am on vacation I wear myself out more than I do when I am working. I am generally healthier when I am working,” the giggly star says.
His Water for Elephants co-star, Reese Witherspoon, who was stunned by the amount of attention he gets, had told me earlier that he was chased by throngs of women wherever they went. “I tried to take him out, but he wouldn’t have any of it,” she says. “He is very quiet; reads a lot and watches old movies; works hard and never complains,” she added in wonderment.
Not only does he not complain, the young actor says that his life is complete. “If you start thinking I need to fulfill certain criteria you’re going to be disappointed. So generally I’d be happy with living for quite a long time and other than that I don’t know,” he giggle.
Well ladies, you gotta look somewhere else, for Pattinson is not a player! Actually, I am surprised that women want to be with such a gorgeous guy, because his beauty is quite feminine and most likely they are going to look unseemly standing next to him. But if you insist then here is what he says about his kiss-of-death woman: “Someone who is strong enough to maintain her identity, funny and talented.”