Izumi Hasegawa: What did you learn for Eclipse?
Robert Pattinson: I had to learn how to run properly. In the last two, I’ve always run in a limp/skip, and I had to sort of look like I could run more solidly this time, so I spent a lot of time on a giant treadmill, like one of those wheels mice run around on, and got filmed doing it to improve my form. That was one of the things.
IH: What drives you to succeed?
RP: Probably fear of failure [laughs] and inadequacy complex.
IH: What kind of car do you drive?
RP: I just drive rental cars. I don’t have a car.
IH: Your character, Edward, is considered a romantic hero, but he’s also very possessive. Can you talk a little bit about what you think halfway through playing Edward at this point? Has he changed?
RP: In the first two movies, it was just because of his desolation from reality, so when he finds one thing to hold on to, that’s where possessiveness comes from. I think, as the series goes on, he accepts more and more. He is a part of the contemporary world. I think all the things that were deemed to be flawed before start fading away, and that’s how I’m trying to play him. I think he’s coming out of his shell a little bit in Eclipse, so by the end of Breaking Dawn, I’m hoping he’ll be a normal 17-year-old guy — just a little bit pale.
IH: Did you ever compete for a woman with another guy the way Edward does with Jacob?
RP: Did you say, “Have you ever slept with a woman with another guy?” I was like, “I don’t know if that’s appropriate!” Compete, no I don’t! I’m not good at doing it. I just kind of leave it alone. And also if you are the one for the girl in the first place, maybe you’re forced into fighting a little bit, but I would never be in Jacob’s position. Then you’re just the guy that broke up a couple anyway.
IH: I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about working more closely with Taylor [Lautner].
RP: It was good because I never do anything else but with Kristen [Stewart]. I mean brief things, but letting Edward have petty emotions like being jealous of Jacob and not being able to control himself around him because he gets under his skin so much — it became much easier to play much bigger scopes of emotion once you let someone else get through your armor. So doing that with Taylor was great. He’s really good too.
IH: Was there a scene in particular?
RP: In some scenes, it was just quite cool to have him there. I like the scenes where Bella has to reveal something about herself in front of Jacob and me at the same time. It’s an extra thing to relate to. Most of the time it’s just with Bella, and she’s trying to convey something to me, with Edward always being totally sympathetic to her seeing another guy and seeing it’s not just about our relationship — it’s about some other person. It kind of made it a little more interesting.
IH: Do you believe in a soul like Edward, and if so, what exactly?
RP: Definitely. I can’t remember who said it, but a soul and a heaven must exist because good people aren’t rewarded enough on Earth. I always liked that idea — end of the life but existent of the soul, if that makes sense.
IH: Have you ever gotten in a fight with someone for the love of a woman?
RP: I have to think. Yeah, probably. But I don’t know if it was about love — it was more pride. [Laughs]
IH: You’ve had a new director with each film. Do you have to kind of explain to each director about the character?
RP: It’s interesting. After the first one, everyone had very specific ideas and everyone was butting heads the entire time: “No, this is what it’s about.” Then, when Chris Weitz came in for New Moon, he basically came in with the opinion that he liked the first one — he liked what the actors were doing, so just follow along that road. Then, when David [Slade] came, he was like, “I want to do everything completely different, not like the first two,” so we talked about the character development and consistency from the two, and he was like, “It doesn’t matter — let’s just do something completely different,” which is good because then it’s challenging. It’s easy to get stagnate if you play the same character. In New Moon, I felt like I was developing something a little bit deeper, and then with Eclipse, I felt like I was doing a completely different movie, a completely different character. So it was nice and challenging.
IH: What was David’s biggest imprint or his biggest change on you?
RP: He was really fighting to make it not so solemn — just the speed of it, just to speed things up, which is a massive deal because Edward always, in my eyes, has been so calculated and everything is not rash — any of his decisions — and David wanted to speed up the whole thing and make him more vulnerable.
IH: You were on the first soundtrack. Would you contribute again on any more of the movies?
RP: I’ve done a couple of things. I’ve always just been playing around. It was nice to be involved in the first one. I just saw Twilight on TV for the first time a few days ago. [Laughs] When my song came on, I was just thinking it is so bazaar that I actually had a song in the movie. I’m kind of amazed Catherine [Hardwicke] did it. It really shows how none of us thought it was going to be so massive. I never thought people would buy the soundtrack or anything, so it’s a little more nerve-wracking now. I don’t know, maybe.
IH: Taylor had a great line when he gets to say he’s hotter. How was it filming that scene, and were you upset you didn’t get a comeback as Edward? Would you like to address that issue right now?
RP: There’s nothing you can say. “Yeah, you are! At least I’m not hotter than you.” I don’t know. Yeah, it was quite fun. Jacob has quite a few catch-phrase type of lines, with me especially. For some reason, I find it quite funny when I’m doing stuff with Taylor. There are a couple scenes where we have confrontational scenes — I sort of push him around a little bit, and I was supposed to grab his shoulder and it wasn’t even in the script. I thought I’d really scare him and grab him and it would freak him out and turn the whole scene upside down! Then I grabbed his shoulder and it was too big to actually get a grip on, so I just dropped my hand. That was kind of embarrassing. I got him badly, though he kept having to dress up in a little grey spandex wolf suit all the time and try and to be intimidating in that with Kristen patting him on the head and stuff. That was quite fun!
IH: There are so many fan-sites, not just to you but to Edward. Do you check any of those fan-sites, and are there any that stand out to you?
RP: I’m not really sure. It’s kind of incredible, the information they get so quickly. Sometimes I’ll check them to see what my schedule is on stuff, especially on the weekend when I can’t get through to my agency or even to see my e-mails sometimes! But it’s strange being in Twilight because so much of the fan base is on the Internet and having a community with each other. You see people turn up on sets of other movies I’ve done and take a picture. The main reason is so they can have a thing within their online community, and you know it’s going to be up within five seconds. But yeah, it’s strange.
IH: Are you afraid that everything else you do is compared to Edward Cullen?
RP: I’ve always been of the opinion that if something explodes really quickly, it takes the same amount of time for people to think of something else. I mean, I don’t know. I hope not. Maybe it’ll be a good thing. I have no idea.
IH: Like you said earlier, most of your scenes are with Kristen. Both of you are very serious and talented actors, so how do you guys prepare for those scenes? Do you get together and nit-pick everything over, or do you prefer to just get on set and see what happens?
RP: I do because, for some reason, I can’t understand anything and I think I’m going really into the depth of the character when it just seems so obvious to Kristen. Her mind works completely differently. She can just feel things immediately, and I like to be more cerebral about things, in completely the opposite way of Kristen. I don’t feel confident unless I know more about the reasons why I’m doing things. I don’t really do that for other parts, so I guess that’s what I do for Edward. But since the first one, I always like to go in depth about things.
IH: Can you talk about your upcoming projects?
RP: Bel Ami is about a character called Georges Duroy. He’s a broke ex-soldier in Paris in 1890, and basically he has no drive. He just sort of is jealous of everything, and basically I quite liked the story. It’s kind of like kids nowadays — everyone feels entitled. You see someone who wants to go into a job but doesn’t want entry level. It’s like, “I want $100,000 a year out of the gate.” That’s exactly what this guy is like — he’s completely talentless. The only thing he does is, by accident, finds this guy — he’s in the army within a brothel, and this other guy wants to impress him so he gives him some money and invites him around. It ends up being like he invited the devil into his house. He seduces his wife, he seduces his wife’s friends, every single influential woman he can get he has an affair with and ends up screwing over the entire society and making millions and millions of francs. It was really fun — a completely amoral, evil character. It’s a story about how the shits can completely win sometimes by doing absolutely nothing, stabbing everybody’s back. Water for Elephants is a story about a guy in 1931 whose parents both died in a car crash when he’s at Cornell University studying science, and he jumps on a train out of desperation to find something else and it ends up being this circus train — B-rate circus — and he ends up falling in love with the star attraction who also is the wife of the ringmaster, and all chaos ensues after that. Unbound Captives is like a western but sort of romantic drama/western, and my character is the son of Rachel Weisz and gets kidnapped by Comanches when he’s four and is raised by them. My mother spent her entire 15 years or something trying to find me, and I come back and can’t speak English anymore, and I don’t recognize her and she can’t recognize me, and I come back and look like a Comanche and I have kind of massive ADD in it as well. It’s about learning how to live in a new environment again.
RP: Weirdly, one of the producers told me, “Wow, you look so enthusiastic in that fight scene — much more so than any one in the series.” I did a bit of practice with Bryce. It’s really hard to do stuff with her because she’s the gentlest person and she’s always laughing when you do anything, so we did a little bit kind of halfheartedly, and then she’d be afraid of hurting me. I thought something’s gonna go wrong at some point, so we basically waited for the day. Most of the vicious stuff I did was with a stunt double who was really really tough, but the bits with Bryce we’re just kind of rolling around and grabbing onto each other. But yeah, it was fun.
IH: Do you understand the fantasy about you and Kristen being together in real life? And what’s the truth?
RP: Do I understand the fantasy of it? No, not really. People like stories — that’s my basic conclusion. They just want everything to be about Twilight. The truth is…that I wish I had a few more hours of sleep today so I could think about better answers. I don’t know.
IH: What would you say to someone who is like, “Why should I go see this movie?”
RP: I don’t know what to say to people. It’s become so big, it’s become part of the cultural environment. It’s really difficult for me to go out and see it. For the first one and the second one, I knew exactly what to say to people. If you don’t know what the story is by now, then you’ve probably never been to the cinema before. How about why not go to the cinema for once? I think, if you’re a fan of it, there’s a lot of the film that plays into what the fans of the series want. If you’ve never seen them before, a lot of people who have seen it tell me it’s the most accessible of the three. It’s a solid story by itself, and it’s more of an action film. Even when I was watching Twilight the other day, now that I’ve seen it, you do need to read the book to get it. I was like, “What?” and I’m in it!
IH: What do you think is Edward’s evolution in Breaking Dawn?
RP: I haven’t read it yet! I’m starting it a month after this job, and it’s something I’m quite glad I haven’t read yet. I didn’t intend to not read it until now. It’s quite exciting. I have no idea. I just heard brief rumors about what happens in the story, but I don’t really know what happens at all.
IH: What’s the one part of your costume that always transforms you into character? And how are you going to go about getting your long hair back for Breaking Dawn?
RP: Probably the contact lenses. They make me miserable as soon as I put them in. That’s what creates sort of the pouting and brooding character. You’re just like, “ugh.” I’m thinking maybe Edward got a haircut. It might be easier. But I didn’t even think about that when I got it cut — that is a bit silly. Vampires can cut their hair, though, so I like the idea of Edward having a shaved head in the last one. That’s pretty cool.
IH: How long have you known Breaking Dawn was going to be two films? And have you met with Bill Condon yet?
RP: I found out about Breaking Dawn when the press release came out! I met Bill Condon briefly a few weeks ago, kind of by accident, just before the MTV Awards, in a bar. He seemed great. He seemed like a really really nice guy. I haven’t talked to him in detail about anything, but Gods and Monsters is an amazing movie. I think it’s gonna be good. I don’t even know where they’re going to shoot it yet or anything!
IH: Filming the tent scene, what was it like working in a small space? Did you think you were going to crack?
RP: The tent scene, for some reason, on that day…we re-shot it as well, but the first time we did it, I was really freaking out. I don’t know why. I think it had to do with claustrophobia or something. We were actually shooting in a tent, and I just couldn’t get it together! I kept forgetting my lines and was so nervous. I just wanted to punch anyone who was near me! We did about three takes, and Kristen is supposed to be asleep on the floor, and she saw that I was freaking out. Halfway through the take, she suddenly opened her eyes and was just staring at me and kept trying to make me laugh through the entire take, and it’s like the most serious scene in the whole movie! I just wanted to strangle her for the first two seconds, but then I could not stop laughing the entire time. We got literally one take where it went kind of right, and it was because of that, when I was trying to hold back. I guess it made me more alive or something. They did re-shoot the scene in the end, so maybe I’m a little bit mistaken.