Robert in "Premiere" French Magazine - Mai 2012
"Filming Cosmopolis with Cronenberg changed something in me. It gave me balls"
It's 1:30pm in the halls of the Solo House, a private club on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, Members only ... If the hostess let us in the elevator with a smile, it's because we prononce the magic words :' We have a meeting with Robert Pattinson at 2pm.'. Surprise, the actor arrives too 30 minutes in advance ... with a heay beard. he didndt let it grow to throw off the paparazzis but to prepare himself for a next role in a movie about a rock back, The Band. But the project that reunites us today is Cosmopolis, the adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel for david Cronenberg. Electric shock movie set to be at Cannes this year.The Canadian director surprised everyone by giving out the role of Eric Packer to the Twilight star. This 28 years old yuppie from New York that decides to travel through the city in his limo so he can get a haircut, while demonstrations makes chaos prevail in the streets and threats are hanging over the millionaire's head.
A ride to hell that will change him forever, the 'him' could apply to Pattinson as well, who delivers a shocking performance with a perfect timing. Mid-November, when the last Twilight movie will be out, the teen hearthrob can definitely let the grown up actor, revealed by Cosmopolis, take his place. The transformation starts now!
P: Rob, last time we talked, you were coming out of the Cosmopolis shooting and you told me: 'I didn't understand what we were doing and when I asked David, what it was about, he told me: 'I don't know, we don't care'. But after seeing the movie, I found it extremely clear.
RP: For the first screening, I was alone and I came out of it puzzled. At that time, the music didn't register in my brain yet. I then saw the movie again with other people and they were really responsive. They couldn't stop laughing and I thought: "Oh, well it works afer all (laughs)" I can't wait to see how the audience will react to it. It's the first time I can watch something I made as 'a movie' maybe because Cosmopolis belongs entirely to David Cronenberg. It's really his movie.
P: It's yours too, let's be real ...
RP: It's still pure Cronenberg, there's no doubt about it. Most directors try to take you by the hand and tell you: 'I'm gonna help you go where you need to go'. David films a scene and then go: 'Ok, that's good, let's move on!' But he's really sensible to the actors' performances, he's not going to give you a lot of instructions but he has an uncanny accuracy. Nothing escapes him, you just need to lose your focus for a second and he notices right away. It's almost unsettling to work with someone like this. At the wrap party, I asked him if he saw some edited scenes and he told me he saw the whole movie! He already edited it. Since I was so curious, I asked him, 'So, do you know what it is about?' 'Not at all, but it's good, it's funny.' He then quoted Fellini to me, asserting that a movie is dead when it doesn't raise questions anymore.
On the set, David was delighted by the confusion that ruled, including among te more experienced actor, like Paul Giamatti.
P: The director is supposed to have a head start ...
RP: And he's supposed to fear nothing as well. I never worked with a screenwriter who was this confident in his abilities. If he was stuck on a way to film a scene, he did something else. He knew the script by heart so he could afford it. It's kid of unnerving at first, but since I'm in every scene I memorised the whole scrit, like a play.
P: It's healthy for an actor to be fearful, isn't it?
RP: On the first day of shooting, I wasn't showing off. While we were getting ready for the first shot, Sarah Gadon (who plays his wife) asked me: 'So how did you prepare for your role?' I broke down and left the limo really pissed off and yelled: "How dare you judge me like that? Are you trying to test me or something?" *laughs*
P: Cronenberg told us that you were stressing out about filming the movie ...
RP: I'm going throuh a phase were I'm trying to determine what I can accomplish or not as an actor. It's even more complexe when you know you have a past, even tho people like David don't pay any attention to it.
P: I recommend David to see the last Twilight movie, that is almost 'Cronenbergian' at some times ...
RP: *laughs* I can't believe there's still one more to come (Breaking Dawn Pt 2 is out November 14th) and I have some reshoots to do in a few days.
P: You thought Twilight was behind you?
RP: Yes, I'm not the same as I was at the beginning. First, I'm older ... When I have to go on the makeup chair, I see all those wrinkles that came with time, it's scary. I thickened/filled out too. Since I didn't have any clothes when we shot the first movie, I stole some from the movie when we done and I can fit any them anymore!
P: when you first went to Cannes in 200, you triggered off a riot on the beach where 700 fans were waiting for you. The security had to carry you out to your car to get you out of there ...
RP: This year they won't even notice me: 'We don't care, he's not in The Hunger Games!' *laughs*
P: It is looks like you have a date with one of your Twilight costar on la croisette, since Kristen Stewart will be there for On The Road too. The Festival almost looks like graduation day ...
RP: I'm thrilled to go. Filming Cosmopolis with Cronenberg changed something in me. It gave me balls. *laughs* I have 5 projects lining up right now that follow the path the movie opened for me. Before, I spent my time doubting myself. As soon as I read a script that I liked, I was working myself up, asking myself if I was good enough. Now, I tell myself: 'Fuck it! If they want to hire you, go!"
P: You haven't shot any movie since Cosmopolis, as if you were waiting for more offers that the movie would bring you. Is that the case, here?
RP: More or less. Breaking Dawn had me busy till the end of the year & there are not a lot of movies shot in the winter. I started panicking three months ago, but that's when all those projects started to come. If everything goes well, I will start shooting in the fall.
P:Two years ago, you seemed surprised that some people would hire you for certain movies & you said that you would still act as long as you would have that opportunity. I feel like the way you think about acting has changed. Now you know where you want to go.
RP: I've always wanted to make good movies. But before, I was more the type to get drunk & say: "If people don't like me, they can go fuck themselves!" (laughing) It's different nowadays : I want the people that I respect to respect me as well. It seems easy when you say it like that, but sometimes, you need time to undertsnad that having the respect of others is what is the most important. And whining about it won't make you succeed. When David came out of nowhere to ask me to be a part of Cosmopolis, I asked him tons of questions. I wanted to know absolutely what he has seen in me, what he thought about me... But he couldn't answer me.
P: The Cosmopolis teaser had the effect of a bomb on the internet...
RP: I've been doing movie for 8 years & I've been criticized often & all of a sudden, this teaser is released & everyone is excited. "It looks great! His acting is good in it!" It's ridiculous! It's what makes you understand how the critical mind of some people work.
P: Most of the critics said you sucked without having seen you in any movies. And you were good in Twilight!
RP: In some scenes maybe... I tried anyway.. I'd like to ask a question to those people who think I just started acting well: What do you think I was doing in twilight? Do they think it's how I act naturally? No, I had to take decisions as an actor. I find it funny when I read stuff like (He uses a dramatic voice) "Will Cosmopolis finally prove that he can act?" What does that even mean?
P: Before he was discovered by Burton & Fincher, Johnny Depp & Brad Pitt were more or less known as 'pretty faces'. I feel like the same thing is happening to you with Cosmopolis.
RP: The good news is that the way the industry perceives actor is changing, even if Brad Pitt is to me, one of the most unfairly underestimated actor in the world. It's not said enough but he never delivered a bad performance. Nowadays, no one wants to make drama for adults because people say no one is going to see them. No one. Except Brad Pitt. It's how you make a carreer last. We still see those kind of movies in the world of independant movies, but those dramas, held by stars have almost disappeared. It must be because those stars lost their part of mystery. How do you want to play roles like that if people know everyone about you & your life?
P: Before, talented actors were turning into big stars. Nowadays, we become a star before we've had time to prove that we're a talented actor.
RP: Celebrity is one of the only thing that we can access without having any qualification. And when you dare to say something negative about fame in the media, you're sure that you're going to get a lot of crap. People don't want to hear about that at all. It's not jealousy, it's just that they don't want you to shatter their dreams.
P: You have to maintain the illusion, no matter the price...
RP: The paradoxe is that they want to maintain it & shatter it at the same time by accumulating as many things as possible about your private life.
P: Am I wrong or it seems like you're going to favour ambitious projects, without giving up to the Hollywood sirens?
RP: It's almost more dangerous to try the Hollywood adventure, in fact. Recently, I read the script for a big movie worth 80 million dollars that I liked a lot. it was the first time a studio was sending me a script that I liked and I was really excited. I was telling myself: "This is it, I finally have that cool blockbuster that i was looking for!" But when I went to the meeting, I was told that I was too marked by Twilight & that it wouldn't be possible. I was disappointed. Then I read the script again & realized that, in the end, it wasn't that good. (laughing)
P: It's like destiny was trying to tell you something...
RP: Possible. It's said often that you need to alternate the projects that you do for yourself & the ones you do for the studios. But I don't believe that. If you shoot a shitty film.. well, you just made a shitty film. The money it will make at the box office won't change a thing about that. And success is never a sure thing: look at "wrath of the titans" which just failed at the B.O...
P: Have you ever tried to accept a role for money?
RP: Yes. But something always happened at the last minute & it ended up not happening. Of course, I've done five Twilight, but I never did that for the money, even if I would have found that really unfair to let that money go to somebody else. (laughing). I learned one thing & that is that everything that makes you win money is never "free". I feel like, the more money you gain, the more problems you have on the side. Like.. to barricade your house for example. When someone tells me: "But it's just a movie!", I want to tell them: "Yes, but you can pay it for the rest of my life!"
P: It's hard to get your soul back once you've sold it.
RP: Especially in Hollywood, where everyone is judging you. I've always admired Nicolas Cage, who always did whatever he wanted with his carred without caring about what others thought about it. And after 15 years, they finally realized that he was a genius. He's not only one of the most fascinating actors in the world, but he's also a real artist.
P: The hostility that Twilight received might have made you used to not live your life according to how people perceive you..
RP: When you suddenly become known, you have no control over what people think of you anyway. You need to learn how to fight the storm, especially when you understand that you're just a pawn within an enormous machine.
When you're doing interviews, one after the other, to promote a movie but no one asks you about your work, you end wondering if you'r even an actor. I often ended up in front of people who had probably never seen any Twilight & only wanted to know what it was like to be a celebrity.. "People recognize you in the street, they take your picture all the time & it's really weird, Here you go.."
While i'm talking about that, something happening to me at the beach not long agao. I was trying to learn how to surf - So I looked like an idiot, you can't even imagine -, when I thought I had seen paps, trying to hide behind rocks. When I got the confirmation, my body acted on impulse & I ran in their direction. But in the middle of my run, I started asking myself what I would do once I was in front of those guys. I wasn't afraid of being beaten up, what you would be scared of in those kind of situations, but I was scared of ending up in court if I hit one of them. Fortunately, Those paps were such cowards that they left immediately. I have no idea what would have happened if they had not left.
P: The good news is that the hysteria will be over soon...
RP: I'm going to be 26 & I can tell you that it's starting to freak me out that I'm appealing to girls that are 13 yo. I'm often wondering how things will change now.
P: Things will change starting this months, when the public will discover Cosmopolis.
RP: I've always felt like people judged the performance of actos as if we were in American Idol. That we need to cry or sream really loudly for people to find you good. That way, I'm trying not to delude myself.
P: I'm surprised that you're still able to keep your head on your shoulder. Have you ever found yourself acting like a star/diva?
RP: It might have been different if people kept telling me I was a genius all day long, but that's not the case.
At the beginning, I tried to break through as a model, withouth being offered a single job. When you've done more that 2, 000 castings & the guy in front of you doesn't even look at you once in the eyes, looking at your pictures one after the other while saying "No, no.." in a disgusted tone, you end up being immuned to a lot of things.