MoviesOnline sat down with Robert Pattinson at a press conference in Los Angeles to talk to him about his new film, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, the third chapter in Stephenie Meyer’s phenomenally successful best selling book series.
With more of the action, love, friendship, jealousy, and passion that made Twilight and The Twilight Saga: New Moon smash hits worldwide, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is a revenge-fueled, romantic continuation of the internationally popular vampire story.
Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) once again finds herself surrounded by danger as Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward Cullen (Pattinson) and her friendship with Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) – knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf.
Rob talked to us about the evolution of his character, how it was working more closely with Taylor Lautner in this film, and what it’s like to have with a new director on each film. He also updated us on his upcoming projects including Bel Ami, Water for Elephants and Unbound Captives. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: What did you learn for Eclipse?
Robert Pattinson: I guess I had to learn how to run properly, in the last two I’ve always run in a limp slash 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 and got filmed doing it to improve my form. I guess that was one thing
Q: What drives you to succeed and what kind of car do you drive?
Robert Pattinson: I guess probably fear of failure [laughs] and inadequacy complex. And I just drive rental cars, I don’t have a car
Q: The role 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? Has he changed?
Robert Pattinson: Yeah, I mean in the first two movies were just caused by 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 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 hopefully by the end of Breaking Dawn I’m hoping he’ll be a normal 17-year-old guy, just a little bit pale.
Q: Did you ever compete for a woman with another guy the way Edward does with Jacob?
Robert Pattinson: 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 I guess, well I was about to say if you own the girl but that doesn’t make sense. If you are the one with the girl in the first place, I guess 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 the couple.
Q: Could talk a little bit about working more closely with Taylor?
Robert Pattinson: Yeah it was good because I never do anything else but with Kristen. I mean brief things, but it’s kind of part of answering the other question, 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.
Q: Was there a scene in particular?
Robert Pattinson: 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 and Edward is 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.
Q: Do you believe in a soul like Edward, and if so, what exactly?
Robert Pattinson: Yeah I mean, I think 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, if that makes sense.
Q: Have you ever gotten in a fight with someone for the love of a woman?
Robert Pattinson: Umm, have I? I have to think. Yeah, probably. Yeah. But I don’t know if it was about love, it was more pride. [laughing]
Q: You’ve had a new director with each film, do you have to explain your character to each director?
Robert Pattinson: It’s interesting, I’ve been doing Twilight 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 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 and luckily in New Moon I felt like I was going a little bit deeper and then with Eclipse I felt like I was doing a completely different movie, a completely different character. So yeah, it was nice and challenging.
Q: What was David’s biggest imprint or his biggest change on you?
Robert Pattinson: I mean I guess he was really fighting to make it not so, what’s the word, solemn I guess, just the speed of it just to speed things up which is a massive deal cause I mean Edward always in my eyes has been so calculated and everything is not rash and David wanted to speed up the whole thing and make him more vulnerable.
Q: You were on the first soundtrack, would you contribute again on anymore of the movies?
Robert Pattinson: I’ve done a couple of things.I’ve always just been playing around. I mean it was nice to be involved in the first one. I just saw Twilight on TV for the first time a few days ago. No [laughs] apart from the commentary. When my song came on, I was just thinking that is so bizarre, I actually had a song in the movie. I’m kind of amazed Catherine 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.
Q: 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? And would you like to address that issue right now?
Robert Pattinson: 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. There are quite a few lines in there. Jacob has quite a few catch phrase type of lines, with me especially. It’s quite funny. For some reason I find it quite funny when I’m doing stuff with Taylor. There are a couple scenes where we have sort of confrontational scenes. I 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, so 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 be intimidating in that with Kristen patting him on the head and stuff. That was quite fun!
Q: There are so many fansites not just for you, but for Edward, do you check any of those fansites and are there any that stand out to you?
Robert Pattinson: 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 emails sometimes! But um, no some of them it’s strange being in Twilight because so much of the fan base is being 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. You know the main reason is so they can have a thing within their online community and you know it’s going to be up within 5 seconds. But yeah, it’s strange.
Q: Are you afraid that everything else you do is compared to Edward Cullen?
Robert Pattinson: 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.
Q: 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 pic everything over, or do you prefer to just get on set and see what happens?
Robert Pattinson: I do because I have to. For some reason, I can’t understand anything and I think I’m going really into 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’ll kind of, I don’t know, 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 I always since the first one like to go in depth about things.
Q: Can you talk about your upcoming projects?
Robert Pattinson: Bel Ami is about a character TK. He’s an ex soldier, 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 grand 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 with in 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 society and making millions and millions of francs. It was a really fun, completely amoral evil character. It’s a story about how the shits can completely win sometimes by doing absolutely nothing
Water for Elephants is a story about a guy in 1931 whose parents both died in a car crash, and when he’s at university studying science, he jumps on a train out of desperation to find something else. It ends up being this circus train 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 a 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 can’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.
Q: Edward and Victoria have this really cool fight scene, how much training did you and Bryce have to go through and what was it like having to fight a girl?
Robert Pattinson: 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. No, 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 and kind of half heartedly and then she’d be afraid of hurting me even though she’d only be hitting [does light tap]. 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.
Q: Do you understand the fantasy about you and Kristen being together in real life and what’s the truth?
Robert Pattinson: Do I understand the fantasy of it? No, not really, well I mean I guess people like stories I mean…that’s my basic conclusion they just want everything to be about Twilight I guess. The truth is…that I wish I had a few more hours of sleep today so I could think about better answers. I dunno. [laughs]
Q: What would you say to someone who is like why should I go see this movie?
Robert Pattinson: 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. I mean I don’t know anymore! For the first one and the second one I knew exactly what to say to people. I guess, 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 dunno. I mean 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. I guess 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 a sort of 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!
Q: Breaking Dawn, I’m just curious, what do you think is Edward’s evolution?
Robert Pattinson: I haven’t read it yet! I mean it’s weird, I’m starting it a month after this job and it’s something I’m quite glad I haven’t read it 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
Q: What’s the one part of your costume that always transforms you into character? How are you going to go about getting your long hair back for Breaking Dawn
Robert Pattinson: Probably the contact lenses. It makes 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 yeah 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.
Q: How long have you known Breaking Dawn was going to be two films and have you met with Bill Condon yet?
Robert Pattinson: I found out about Breaking Dawn when the press release came out! Bill Condon I met briefly a few weeks ago, kind of by accident just before the MTV Awards, in a bar [laughs]. He seemed great. He seemed like a really really nice guy. I haven’t talked to him in detail about anything, but God’s 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!
Q: What was it like filming the tent scene and working in such a small space? Did you think you were going to crack?
Robert Pattinson: 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.
“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” opens in theaters on June 30th.