One word can pretty much sum up Twilight star Robert Pattinson's acting style: intense. Pattinson analyzed his character of Edward Cullen, a 17 year old vampire who falls in love with a human named Bella (played by Kristen Stewart), in Twilight to an almost obsessive level. Pattinson had disagreements with Twilight author Stephenie Meyer over Edward, would engage in intense conversations with Stewart over the relationship between Edward and Bella, and even would stop in the middle of scenes to question director Catherine Hardwicke over exactly how a line should be delivered. Pattinson took the role extremely seriously, never wanting to play Edward as just the love interest in a teen vampire movie. Oh yes, he's definitely intense.
Pattinson's being launched into stardom with his lead role in Twilight and pretty much every move the actor makes these days is being scrutinized and reported on by fansites and celebrity magazines. There's a lot riding on the film adaptation of Meyer's bestselling novel, including the question of whether or not movies will be made of the other three books in the Twilight series – New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. At the Los Angeles press junket for Twilight, Pattinson discussed how he approached the character and why it was so important to him that he get Edward right.
Interview with Robert PattinsonHow weird is it to see reports on your hair on the internet every day?
Robert Pattinson: "Actually, I was in New York doing a radio interview and they're people sending in messages. 95% percent of the messages were saying, 'Take your hat off.' I was just like, 'Okay.' When people say something has become a trademark you have got to get rid of it. It's the worst."
Are you really ready for the fandom that's going to result from this film?
Robert Pattinson: "Yeah. My brain doesn't really accept it, so it's fine. I can be put anywhere and it just goes completely over my head. I just don't want to get stabbed or something. Literally, my representation asked me, 'Do you have any problems with this? Is it going to be okay?' I said, 'I just don't want to get shot or stabbed. I don't want someone to have a needle and I'll get AIDS afterwards.' That's only my real fears."
Do you really think that's going to happen?
Robert Pattinson: "Whenever I see a crowd I always think that. It's like being on a plane. I think the bottom is going to hit the runway when it's taking off."
A recent Entertainment Weekly article leaves the impression you were obsessive about playing this role and had a lot of angst about taking it on. Is that true?
Robert Pattinson: "Yeah. I didn't want to do a stupid teen movie. I specifically hadn't done anything which anyone would see since Harry Potter because I wanted to teach myself how to act. I didn't want to be an idiot. This came kind of randomly and I didn't really know what it was when it first started. I was going to wait for another year. I wanted to do two or three more little things and then do something bigger. And then this kind of happened and I was like, 'Well, okay...'"
"I had done another movie where I'd gotten really intense about it before and I felt kind of satisfied afterwards, much more satisfied than I had from other movies. I don't know how it turned out or what the result from getting intense about something is, but you definitely feel more satisfied. I wanted to take that into Twilight and also try to break down the assumption that if a movie is being made from a book which is selling a lot of copies - which every single book that sells a lot of copies now is made into a movie immediately and they're virtually all not very good and everyone knows, even six year olds know, that it's just to make money – I didn't want to be involved in something like that. I thought Catherine [Hardwicke] and Kristen [Stewart] would be supportive of that. But they've also got reputations whereas I don't have a reputation at all. So I wanted to make sure that, by the time people got to Portland, that I knew everything about everything and just be like really… I didn't talk to anyone about anything other than the part for about a month and a half of the shoot. I think it kind of galvanized people. I think most people read the book and it's an easy read. It's a nice book. So I think most people went in thinking, 'Yeah, it's a happy film.' I'm like holding the book and saying, 'No! This is going to win Oscars!'" [laughing]
Did that approach make him harder to let go of when the movie was done?
Robert Pattinson: "No, not really. It broke down as I was doing it, mainly because people wanted me to make it lighter. At the same time, me thinking that my idea would work and all of that, it was different to the book where he makes little quips and stuff. He's a confident character and no girls, if you're writing the perfect guy you wouldn't write him as some manic depressive weirdo who's trying to kill himself all the time - whatever his six pack is like. So I spent a long time fighting with producers. Catherine got me a copy of the book with every instance that he smiled highlighted and I was just like, 'Okay, fine.'"