Robert Pattinson steps out of Edward Cullen’s shadow.
Welcome back Robert Pattinson. After the end of the Twilight saga, in which Pattinson played the beloved vampire Edward Cullen, the actor seemed lost. What to do next?
His financial manager believed buying a US$6mil (RM19.4mil) mansion in Beverly Hills would be a wise investment. After all, he had all the money he could ever want. Meanwhile, acting offers poured in, but the choices he made were none too wise.
Then there was that split from the love of his life, Kristen Stewart. How could she have cheated on him with her married director (Rupert Sanders who helmed Snow White And The Hunstman)! But that was then.
Now, suddenly Pattinson’s career is in overdrive. He stars in two films that were the talk of the recent Cannes Film Festival: David Cronenberg’s corrosive Maps Of The Stars and David Michod’s dystopian The Rover. But that’s the least of his life changes.
No longer cloistered in a four-bedroom mansion, Pattinson now lives a solitary life. He still keeps in touch with his Twilight co-stars such as Kellan Lutz, with whom he loses money playing poker. But he’s the first to concede: money doesn’t consume him.
No longer a home-owner, he now lives in a rental, but still in a posh gated community in Beverly Hills. He sleeps on an inflatable mattress moving from room to room, no furniture to speak of. He’s mislaid much of his possessions, including his wardrobe and his DVD collection.
At a recent press conference in Beverly Hills for The Rover, he’s as unassuming as he always was. I remember once asking him about being fired on opening night at London's prestigious Royal Court Theatre. Instead of showing mild embarrassment he responded: “It was the best thing that could have happened to me and a good lesson.”
After a small but significant role in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, he flew to LA with his agent’s blessing. Things didn’t go well at auditions, even the one for Twilight, but author Stephenie Meyer saw something there. At 21, he might be a little old for the part, she thought, but she gave him just the advice he needed. “Shave twice,” Meyer told the heavily bearded young man, and the rest is history.
You shot The Rover in Australia. How’s it like roughing it out for a change?
I liked Australia. I had only been to Sydney just to do press before. Working in the Outback was a totally different world, but I loved it out there. It was beautiful, kind of serene being able to see the horizon. There’s just absolutely nothing for miles, hundreds of miles. Not only were there no people trying to find you, there was no one there at all so it was much easier to concentrate on your performance and not have to worry about someone trying to sneak up on you. I found it incredibly peaceful and relaxing.
What was it like working with David Michod and Guy Pearce?
I had done the audition with David a long time before we started shooting. We went through tons of different incarnations of my character. There was one point where I wanted to have the tops of my ears snipped off because I had seen pictures of thieves in the Wild West and they used to do that to thieves. We talked for months before, so I was pretty comfortable.
And then when Guy came on – I only met him about a week before we started shooting – I got on with him really well. He’s the type of actor who doesn’t have any acting crutches to fall back on. He creates something new every time, and it allows for anxiety, something I’m familiar with, so we were like equals when we were performing.
Have you located your missing clothes and DVDs?
I’m sure they’re in some random storage box somewhere. The other day I was trying to find my Teen Choice Awards to display them in the corridor of my house, a glory corridor to make people feel intimidated as they walk in, but I couldn’t find them.
You are the face of Dior Homme fragrance. Dior can probably help you out with some clothes?
I never really saw myself doing an endorsement deal. I met a few people who work for Dior and I just really liked them. It sounded cool to do the job and I wanted to work with Romain Gavras (who directed the Dior Homme commercial). Dior is a great label. It’s something good to be associated with, but I barely do anything for them. Occasionally I have to go to some Dior parties, which is great. I’m doing another ad for them soon and I’m strangely excited about that.
You are rumoured to play Han Solo in the reboot of Star Wars. Is that true?
I’m always a little bit wary of stepping into the shoes of an already established character. It’s scary, especially doing something like that where there are so many expectations before you even start doing the job. It’s a massive undertaking it’s nothing like doing an indie for two months.
So is it happening?
I haven’t been approached by anyone, but I’m open to absolutely everything.
What kind of stories appeal to you?
I don’t really look at films as stories. It’s really just about character. I never really look at a script as a whole. This movie I’m doing with Olivier Assayas at the end of the year, it’s a big ensemble thing, but my focus is on my character. There is something specific about him. It’s an interesting take on a criminal’s psychology. So I never really look at a script as a story, not even in terms of genre. But having said that, I’d quite like to do a comedy at some point, but I’m not really seeking stuff out.
What does the future hold for you?
I want to keep doing exciting, ambitious projects. You try and do things which are challenging, and hopefully people will appreciate that.
> Philip Berk, eight-time President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, hobnobs with celebrities to report exclusively from Los Angeles. "The Rover" opens in cinemas nationwide today (June 19).