Pattinson's new role shows he's come a long way since Twilight
'It's very odd,'' Robert Pattinson says. ''There's something strange and disturbing about the whole relationship.''
The Twilight actor is talking about the two characters at the heart of his new film, The Rover, which finished shooting on Saturday in outback South Australia.
He plays a young man, Rey, caught up in an uneasy, dangerous alliance with a stranger, Eric (Guy Pearce), in a not-too-distant future.
The Rover is the much-anticipated new film from David Michod, the writer-director of Animal Kingdom. The title refers to Pearce's character: damaged, solitary, utterly without hope.
Pattinson has been casting his net widely since his lead role in the wildly successful Twilight movies brought him celebrity and a certain amount of paparazzi attention. He's quick and sometimes self-deprecating, and has a surprisingly hearty laugh. Looking for roles post-Twilight, he says, ''I don't know if I'm necessarily any good at sculpting a career or anything. But I know what I want to do.''
He wanted to be part of The Rover because ''it was an original script and it was one of those parts where you read it and you think, 'I'd love to do this, but I know I'm never going to get it.'''. There, ''already self-defeating before I've even started'', he says.
In this film, he's a long way from the debonair 19th-century Frenchman of Bel Ami or the New York billionaire of Cosmopolis, two of his recent roles. The near-future that Rey inhabits has a broken-down, improvised, desperate feel, and Pattinson's appearance is in keeping: unkempt and unshaven, with make-up that discolours his teeth.
Rey is an American who has come to Australia with his brother. He is, Pattinson says, ''the kind of person who has been brought up to believe they're incapable of living independently. Someone has always been looking after him.'' When he's separated from his brother, ''almost the first person that comes along, he grabs them. It doesn't matter how he gets treated''. And Eric treats him very badly at first.
The Rover was shot over seven weeks, ending with more than a fortnight in the remote small town of Marree, 685 kilometres north of Adelaide, whose population of 90 more than doubled with the presence of the movie crew. Almost every part of Marree has been incorporated into the world of the movie. The filmmakers said it felt like their own Hollywood studio backlot.
The Rover takes place ''in an unspecified relatively near future, after a number of years of quite seriously steady Western economic decline,'' Michod says. ''It's not post-apocalypse. This is an Australia that has broken down into a kind of resource-rich Third World country.''
He did not start with the idea of this near-future, but with the enigmatic, shifting relationship between the two central characters. He wrote the role of Eric for Pearce, but did not start thinking about Pattinson until they met in Los Angeles.
He had not - and still has not - seen any of the Twilight films, but had been told that Pattinson was interesting. He found Pattinson was ''really smart, and not the sort of pretty boy I was expecting. As soon as it was time to start testing… he was my first choice, by a long way.''
Credit => Sunday Morning Herald / Via => Robert Pattinson Life