Despite the fact there have been four previous Twilight movies and Robert Pattinson ('Edward Cullen') has taken part in all the press conferences in support of each of the prior films, it wasn't until Breaking Dawn Part 2's interviews that Pattinson shared how he really feels about the 'franchise' tag. Asked if he's glad the Twilight series is finally over, Pattinson replied, "In some ways. After the first one, as soon as people start referring to something as a 'franchise' - franchise is a Burger King or a Subway, it's not a movie. The people who start to say it are generally the people who are making money off of it. They refer to it as 'the franchise.' They love it when something becomes a franchise. But, as an actor in it, I think it’s scary. You really, really feel like you have no control. It’s a huge juggernaut, especially when something becomes part of the cultural landscape, in a way as well. It’s really scary because you get trapped and you get scared of changing, which is the worst thing that can happen if you want to be any kind of artist."
As fans and the cast prepare to say goodbye to the Twilight films, Pattinson sat down with the press to talk about what he's learned from being a part of this blockbuster series and what, if anything, he would have done differently.
Robert Pattinson Press Conference:
Were you sad to let the character go?
"Yeah. It was very, very strange. I still had the same frustration with trying to play it, the entire way through, right up until the last shot. It’s a strange part because on one hand, a lot of the audience projects their idea of Edward onto him. It doesn’t matter what he is. It's like they want him to be a certain way. And then my instincts to try to play it were to try to find the fallibility in him and the weaknesses. And so it's kind of that you’re trying to play both these things at the same time and it becomes very strange. You’re trying to play someone who’s seen by a lot of people as this perfect thing, but what is that? It doesn’t really mean anything. So, you’re trying to play an archetype on one hand and a character on the other, so I kind of felt insanely frustrated right up until the last shot, and then it ended."
Have you allowed yourself any perspective on what it all means having done five films?
"It's funny, people were asking me how I’d feel when it all ends on the first movie, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt more completely bewildered, knowing that I only have a month of Twilight stuff left to do. I don’t know. I’ve said since the second one that it’s going to take 10 years to really settle in my brain, and I’m four years into it. But, I don’t think there is any analysis. I don’t think anyone knows why people like it. I don’t think even the fans know why they connect with it the way they do. It’s a visceral thing. I don’t even know if Stephenie [Meyer] could tell you why she was so fixated on this very, very contained story and obsessive characters. It’s just a kind of anomaly. That’s a terrible answer. I don't know."
If you could go back five years, what kind of advice would you give yourself then that would prepare you for the ensuing five years?
"Start drinking vodka instead of beer and try to get a six-pack as early as possible and you’ll be a much more successful actor. I don’t know. No, not really. It’s kind of fun to deal with the terror and the huge highs and lows of things. We’re still getting massive surprises, every time we have any Twilight-related event or anything. I still remember I think it was the third movie when we went to Munich, the entire Olympic Stadium was filled with fans. And just to walk in there and do nothing... I mean, literally. It was supposed to be a Q&A, but me, Kristen [Stewart] and Taylor [Lautner] just stood in the middle of the Olympic Stadium with 30,000 people just screaming for 15 minutes. It’s absolutely bizarre! There’s no way you can ever compute it."
What was your last scene and what was your last moment of being Edward Cullen like?"It was hilarious, considering we’d spent the entire series filming in the most miserable conditions and then we end on the beach in the Caribbean for two days in the sea. It was fun. We literally did the last shot as the sun was coming up in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. It was a nice way to end it because they were considering shooting it in the sea in Vancouver, which would not have worked at all."
Looking back, what was the most difficult thing to leave behind about Edward? What were you glad to leave behind?
"I think there’s a thing, in general, about doing any kind of series, especially when the characters remain the same, just that you can go back and try to improve whatever you did in the last movie, which never happens. That tone, that work ethic is nice. You feel quite strangely secure. It’s the opposite of how you’re supposed to feel doing a movie. It’s supposed to feel totally foreign, every single time. But kind of going back for another go at it is good on one hand and it’s also bad on another hand. Your ideas dry up sometimes, and also you get lazy sometimes because you’re around the same people. That was the good thing about having different directors. You had to stay on your toes.What was the worst thing? Playing a part where you can’t get hurt and you can’t die - there's no framework. There are too many possibilities, if you can’t die. If you’re playing a normal human being, there’s always that. I think that's probably it."
How do you see this franchise and the doors it's opened impacting your career 10 or 15 years down the road?
"I don’t know. People ask me if I’m afraid of getting typecast and stuff, but you can’t be afraid of that. It’s really not up to you. I’m getting other parts that aren’t vampires or whatever. I don’t know if people will accept me in them or whatever, but there’s really nothing to be afraid of. But in 15 years, I have no idea. I don’t know how people will remember this series at all. It’s crazy how intense people are. The fan base is still, five years on, and I don’t know how long it’s going to last. It would be insane if there was still the same tenacity in 15 years."
Is there any moment in particular either during filming or meeting new cast members or anything over the course of the entire Twilight experience that you would like to relive?
"The whole first movie was pretty fun. I had never really done a movie like it when there’s such a big cast of people that are around about the same age. Everyone didn’t really know what was going to happen with the movie, but it had a good energy. There was something which people were kind of fighting for, in a way. They wanted it to be something special. None of us were really known then, as well. It felt like a big deal, at the time. It was really exciting, the first one, and the whole year afterward was an exciting year."
This has given you global success. Are you concerned about maintaining that same level of success as you go forward in your career?
"Well, I don’t know. If I could get any semblance of...it's not really anonymity...I think if I had a little bit more control over my public image, I guess that would be nice. But, no, I think it’s impossible for one thing. I don't think anyone can do that, apart from Denzel Washington. It’s a strange place where the film industry is at. I guess you can just play superhero after superhero. That seems to be the only guaranteed big money thing. I don’t know. It’s not necessarily that satisfying getting monetary success, but sometimes it keeps the door open to make what you want to make. But other times you could make five massive hits in a row and still not get cast by the directors who you want to work with doing little movies. There's no guarantees. I’m trying to kind of sign up and do movies that I’ll be proud of as if it’s my last one. That’s how I think about it."
Are you more famous in the U.K. than you are here? If so, how?
"I don’t know, actually. I used to be able to be in England and just be fine. No one had any idea who [I was]. It came later in England. Now, it’s kind of relatively similar. I get a lot more abuse in England. I think that’s just a general English attitude. I did the same thing to famous people. It’s just your instinct."
How was it to step into the role of a dad onscreen?
"I don't know. I actually quite like working with kids and stuff. I like working with kids, I like working with animals, which is what everybody says you shouldn’t do. It makes you feel like you’re not acting, as soon as you have someone who’s just providing stuff to react to. Especially working with a baby and everything is great. I would say put a baby in every scene. You can put a dog in a scene and everyone’s going to be better. I guarantee it! And if they’re not better, just shoot the dog. [laughing] But, it was fun. They got some good baby actors."
What’s your favorite vampire movie?"I really like Blade. I wish people would make...and I was talking about this the other day about making a hard R-rated fantasy movies again. It’s completely irrelevant, but people should do that more.
I haven’t seen that many vampire things. It’s always been strange to me that someone can say they’re a vampire fan. I don't know. I’m not a non-fan, but it’s such an unusual thing to be a fan of. It's like people are like, 'I love zombie movies! I just love them! They’re my favorite!' It's more of a kind of psychological problem than being an actual fan."
Which new character did you like and what powers did you enjoy seeing?
"I like Benjamin. Rami [Malek] plays him, mainly because he’s a great actor. He only had a couple of scenes in it. It was nice having actors who came in who were really, really enthusiastic. They were like, 'This is a big deal, being in a Twilight movie! I’ve got these fives lines, and I’m going to own them!' Bill [Condon] got some great people. Who else did I like? I'm terrible with names."
Do you remember your first impressions of Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner when you met them at the start of this series? Taylor said he actually can't remember first meeting you.
"I can't remember meeting him, either. When did I meet Taylor? I met him on the movie, I think, when he was wearing his wig and stuff. I met Kristen at the audition. I’m still just trying to come to terms with acknowledging being an actor, at all. Even with Taylor, he was like 15 when I met him, and when I did Harry Potter, I remember looking at Dan [Radcliffe], Rupert [Grint] and Emma [Watson] and being like, 'Those guys are actors.' I was starstruck by them. And I was starstruck by these guys when I met them, even though I’d only seen Kristen in a few things. Yeah, I’ve always had this sort of separation. It’s funny to see people get humanized. With Dan, Rupert and Emma, I still see them as that. I was with them for 11 months and I still see them as massively famous people. It’s strange to have gone through the same experience with Taylor and Kristen, as well. It's massive, and to see people retain their sanity - as much as possible. I’ve seen a lot of other people have minor amounts of fame and just lose their minds completely, like after a casting announcement, let alone having done a movie. It’s kind of amazing to see that people manage to maintain."
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