Robert Pattinson loves watching Hollywood Movies, but doesn’t like making them – TV interview

 

 

The Twilight franchise assured his fortune, made him a teen hearthrob and brought him worldwide fame, yet Robert Pattinson seems indifferent. With such superstardom, international appeal and good looks, he could be making Hollywood blockbusters and amassing more wealth and fame, but instead he has been chasing roles in small and often obscure art-house movies, such as Bel Ami, Little Ashes or Cosmopolis, whose box office gross could never get remotely near the Twilight’s $3.3 billion.

Money and fame, however, is the last thing on the 28-year-old actor’s mind, he tells me when I interview him for my BBC arabic Alternative Cinema show at the Cannes Film Festival, where two of his art films were premiered: David Cronenberg’s Maps To the Stars (in the main competition) and David Michod’s The Rover (in Un Certain Regard). Most likely, the screaming fans, who came from distant lands to catch a glimpse of him marching up the red carpet, won’t be making any such efforts to watch these films that he is so proud of.

“I hope they will do and enjoy them,” he grins. “I just try and do things which are challenging and hopefully people appreciate it. I make these films for myself, because if you’re trying to please anybody, you can’t predict  what an audience wants or what the critics say or anything about what a movie is going to do. I think what made me happiest is working with directors who for one thing I love their movies, their previous movies and it feels like a special experience working with them.”

Those directors are auteurs, usually on the fringe of mainstream cinema, which Pattinson grew up watching from a very young age. The list includes Werner Herzog, David Cronenberg and Olivier Assayas. So when he received the offers from Cronenberg to star his movies, Cosmopolis (2012) and Maps to the Stars (2014), he leapt to these opportunities without even reading the scripts. And he spent two anxious months preparing for the audition for the part of a simpleton in Australian director David Michod’s dystopian crime drama, The Rover. He had liked the director’s previous movie “Animal Kingdom,” and was eager to work with him. The audition lasted 4 grueling hours. Amazingly, the entire film budget was less than $12 million, a far cry from Pattinson’s $20 million wage on the last installment of Twilight.

“I’ve just done a lot of parts where I was very, very still, and I am quite a sort of physically awkward person; I feel more comfortable being awkward, so it was easy. I don’t feel contained especially with this kind of character where you are kind of free to do pretty much anything. So it was very freeing just being a bit of mal-coordinate person,” he laughs.

Shooting the film in the Australian desert was also a welcome escape for the young star, who is invariably mobbed by paparazzis whenever he steps out of his house. “I just love it,” he exclaims. “Not only there’s no people trying to find you, there’s no-one at all and so it was much easier for concentration, and you are not worrying about someone trying to sneak up on you, so I found it incredibly peaceful and relaxing.”

Evidently, this freedom, peace and relaxation has paid off.  In spite of the film’s lukewarm reception, Pattinson’s performance was unanimously praised by the critics, setting him on his coveted path of a grown-up artist.

Ironically though, in spite of his appreciation, love and passion for independent art-house movies, The English actor confesses that he watches mainly Hollywood movies for enjoyment, attributing this behavioural incongruity to his “weird” energy.  “I don’t really gravitate towards working on them mainly because they just don’t come in to my orbit really. I don’t really see myself in a lot of parts that are kind of mainstream,” he explains, albeit adding that he wouldn’t mind playing a vampire again.

Pattinson is not the only one of Twilight’s alumni who is endeavouring to recreate his image as a serious artist. His colleagues, Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart, have also distance d themselves from mainstream roles and dived into the world of independent cinema, as if they were trying to distinguish themselves from others who attained an undeserving fame, and join the ranks of those who are famous for their contribution to art, society and humanity.

Speaking to Pattinson on several occasions over the last six years, I got the impression that his fame is akin to a prison that deprived him of the freedom that he used to have, but he acquiesced to it because he considered it part of the job. “You can’t really do a lot of the stuff you used to be able to do and that’s a little bit of a struggle but once you get through that thing, which I got out of 2 years ago, you just had to accept that your life is something else, and now I can’t really remember what my life was like before, and so it’s much easier to deal with,” he smiles.

Of course, fame has also endowed him with the freedom of picking up his desired roles and work with his idols, for which he is grateful. “I consider myself extremely lucky, which always makes me a little bit nervous,” he laughs.

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Robert Pattinson prefers an elephant to women

Robert Pattinson prefers an elephant to women

Robert Pattinson prefers an elephant to women

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 ‘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.”