July 31, 2008 - Before taking to the stage, Robert Pattinson admitted to being terrified of the prospect of facing 6,000 plus Twilight fans during the film's Q&A session at the San Diego Comic Con. And seriously, can you blame him? Fans of Stephenie Meyer's books didn't exactly greet Pattinson's casting with roars of approval, although now they've apparently quieted down and accepted Pattinson as the handsomest vampire who's ever walked the planet.
"Everybody hated me in the movie, universally," said Pattinson, recalling the reaction of the news to his landing the role of Edward Cullen. The fact fans in general have taken to embracing his casting still doesn't seem real to Pattinson who, while during the press rounds at the San Diego Comic Con, confessed he stopped reading what they were saying about him early on in the process.
"I haven’t actually looked since the other one, since everybody hated me. I don't know, I mean it is kind of weird, I mean, when you read a description of him and it’s so beautiful it kind of hurts to look at him - it’s kind of difficult to like act that. So I mean I wouldn’t really know how to go about doing it, and hopefully they’ve done a lot of post-production."
For those who aren't into the book series, Pattinson explained just who he plays in Twilight. "I play Edward Cullen who’s a kind of semi-reluctant vampire who’s 108 years old. He's a 108, 109 this year, I think. And he's stuck in the body of a 17 year old kid and pretending to be a human. For pretty much a hundred years he wanted to either die or become a human again. And then he meets what becomes the love of his life who’s a mortal girl called Bella, and he falls in love with her. And then the story is the problems, the trials and tribulations which occur when a vampire falls in love with a normal girl who he wants to kill all the time."
"Edward knows that he's a vampire and that he always will be and she will always be a mortal until she's dead, so there's not a huge amount he can do about it. But I mean it’s essentially a pretty happy situation at the end, I think," offered Pattinson.
The Cullens aren't your typical vampires. "I try and be nice to people and stuff. Well not really… I mean, that's kind of what a lot of the story is about as well. It’s like Edward deciding to go against this kind of base instinct. He knows he's a vampire and he knows what vampires do, what's kind of the whole point in being a vampire. In denying that you have to just…it’s kind of boring, you know? If you were a human, you could go around doing whatever you wanted at all times. Like I think most people would choose to do that. And Edward, for some reason, decides he doesn't want to do that and he’s trying to figure out why he doesn't want to do it the whole time."
The lust for Bella's blood is hard for Edward to resist, especially when the two are physically close, even though he loves her. Pattinson had to really work to figure out how to play that inner confusion. "The more Bella says I’m not scared of you and like, 'You're not a monster, blah, blah, blah,' the more I believe it myself and I kind of forget that I am a vampire and what my actual urges are. I try and kiss her and obviously it kind of ends up being a nightmare," said Pattinson. "She has a hormonal rush and I have the kind of like I want to kill you rush. And it’s kind of, I don’t know, it kind of ends up being quite sexy though, in a weird sort of way. But I don’t know. It’s kind of like you're on a point that you just can't, you kind of want to like do everything and kind of kill them at the same time."
As far as sticking with the source material, Pattinson believes this film adaptation is faithful to Meyer's Twilight. "I mean it’s completely… I mean the only difference is the action scenes aren’t really in the book because it’s all, the book’s written from Bella’s perspective and most of the time she’s either unconscious or everybody's moving too quickly so they don’t know what's going on. So all the action stuff is put in so you can see it," explained Pattinson.
Pattinson wasn't familiar with the book before landing the role of Edward. "I’d read them after the first, after my screen test, and I’d never even heard of them before. And when we were doing the movie, then they kind of got experientially bigger and bigger and bigger and then everybody knew about it. So it was kind of strange, unexpected..."
"It's bizarre," added Pattinson. "I mean the book has so many obsessively loyal fans, you know, so it’s strange because people just immediately relate you to the character rather than you as an actor."
Edward's an American boy, while Pattinson is British. The actor who, prior to becoming Edward, was best known for his role as Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter films, said tackling an American accent wasn't a problem. "No, not really. I sort of grew up watching American movies and stuff so like it’s kind of, I don’t know, in a lot of ways it feels more natural if you're doing a movie, you learn to speak in an American accent than speak in an English one. Like you kind of feel like you're acting more. Otherwise I feel like I’m not actually doing anything"
Playing Edward Cullen didn't require a lot of extra research on Pattinson's part. Because Meyer's take on the creatures is so different than most vampire tales, Pattinson didn't need to delve into the world of vampires before hitting the set. "I guess it’s kind of easy to make it cliché because there's so many hundreds of thousands of vampire movies. And, also, in the story they're not really conventional vampires. They don’t really look like vampires and they don’t die in the style [of vampires]. It’s kind of every little characteristic of vampires is just abandoned. So I was trying to do it like, you know, in as basic a way as possible. You just get bitten by somebody and then you're a vampire. You live forever and you're super strong and stuff, and you don’t really know what happened."