Robert Pattinson interview with Buzzine

One of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood, Robert Pattinson tries to avoid cameras while continuing his successful acting career with new period romance Water for Elephants with Reese Witherspoon. The handsome actor sat down with Buzzine and opened up about the difficulties his Twilight success has caused in his life, his concept of love, and working with dangerous animals on this film.

Emmanuel Itier: How was it with working all these wild animals, and has your conception of circuses changed while doing this movie in the sense of how they treat animals?

Robert Pattinson: I don’t really know how circuses themselves treat animals. I know a lot of circuses get a bad name for it, but none of the animals we had were from circuses; they were all film animals and stuff. I know how hard it must be. It must be just ridiculous because it’s relentless…because of the amount of injuries the animals get and stuff. For instance, with the horses -- to teach those horses the tricks that they needed to know, it took months and months and months and months. If one of them goes down, there’s no back-up or anything. It’s going to take another six months to train a horse. It’s so precarious, running a circus so much. But working with wild animals, for me, was one of the things which I thought made the job easier. Even before we started, I was thinking it’s like doing a job where you’re just working with babies all the time, because the babies are going to do their own thing and you just react to the baby. I mean, if you've got an elephant in the scene and the elephant is kind of doing whatever it wants, it’s so easy to play anything because you suddenly have a trunk in your face or something, and then you've got to just make something up. No one expects the scene to be totally perfect because everyone has accepted that these are wild animals, and whatever comes will come. It’s not all like, “The animal's got to hit its mark!” It’s never going to be like that. It made it very a relaxing set, in a weird sort of way.

EI: Were there any scary moments at all with the animals?

RP: There was one with the zebras. They’re a lot smarter than horses, and you cannot control them. They’re impossible to tame. If you tie them down, they just drag the rope out, and if they didn’t drag the rope out, they just keep kicking anything around. One of them pulled away and ran toward me. It was part of the scene and I got out of the way. I found out afterwards that everyone thought I was a pussy for getting out of the way. Apparently Christoph [Waltz] had gotten in front of Reese [Witherspoon] and other actresses in apparently protecting them. I was just like, “Really? Christoph was going to risk his life for the scene? Why didn’t he just get out of the way?” I watched back the playback and Reese just grabbed Christoph and used him as a shield from the zebra. It’s very funny, and he’s going around claiming like, “Yeah, I just ran in front of them. [Laughs] The zebra was not going to get past me.”

EI: That brings me to what the director says about you. It’s hard to find a man of 23-24 and who is too young for the part. So he says, "Rob was already a man – thoughtful, intelligent, empathetic, strong, and confident." What can you identify with, and what makes a man a man?

RP: I always just think if you’re comfortable in who you are, then that’s it. I don’t know if people ever really are but if you can be a man, I guess that’s what I see being a man or whatever to be.

EI: Do you feel grown up?

RP: Sort of, and not at all. It’s weird. If you’re doing films, I do feel like you get stuck in little time bubbles, especially with the fame thing as well, where you’re not meeting new people. I never meet anyone. Also, you have to have the same conversation all the time. Everyone who to talks to you -- you just have the same conversation pretty much. So you never develop how most people mature. You see/hear people’s different perspectives on things, but you've got to go through the same trivial bullshit every time you’re talking to them. Eventually it does affect your mind. You don’t actually know how to have a conversation with people about anything else. If someone’s not talking about you, you’ll like, “Uh!” [Laughs]

EI: Where do you go when you want to have a piece of that normal life?

RP: One thing I found: if you are going to do a film, for instance -- not just as an actor, and you’re forcing yourself, like you have to go to meetings and people have to treat you as an actual engineer in the process... That’s why I want to do that and just be... If you’re producing or something, but in a genuine level, not as a vanity credit or anything, where people actually have to come to you with their problems, then you kind of bring it back again. But if you’re just an actor, it’s so funny because people feel like they just have to hide everything from you all the time. It’s like, “Oh, don’t let them get upset about anything,” which is so bizarre. You’re like a little bird. You've got like security around you all the time.

EI: When Jacob sees Marlena, he falls in love with her immediately. Do you believe in love at first sight?

RP: Yeah, completely.

EI: Did that ever happen to you?

RP: A lot … I would have thought the majority of people who think they’re in love with someone, I think it’s the first time they see them. I mean the first time they really see them anyway, I think.

EI: How do you know that you are in love? What kind of a feeling is that for you?

RP: I don’t know. It’s impossible to answer.

EI: When you were young, did you go to see the circus? Were you fascinated with the life of the circus, or not?

RP: I wasn’t really; my sister was. She always was one of these kids who wanted to run away with the circus. When I was a kid, I went once in my life. The little car which the clowns were on, the door blew off and I think it broke one of the clown’s legs or something. My sister turned around to me said, “That clown just died.” She’s a little bit older than me, and I was like, “Huh?” I was looking down at the clown the on the floor, and they had to carry him off the stage. I thought, up until I was about 21 -- that was my only experience of a circus -- that the clown died. Then my mum heard me telling someone, and she was like, “The clown didn’t die. What are you talking about? He just fell off the car.”

EI: If you had the opportunity, like your character, to tell you the story of your life in four years, what would it be? What would you like to be able to tell of your story, and what will be your hope in your story?

RP: I hope to remember some of them. It’s funny, just being tired all the time. I’m so terrified that I’m not going to remember anything in my life. I’ve been doing a job for six months, I can’t remember a single day of the shoot.

EI: Okay, so what would it be for you to have a beautiful life and a circus-full life?

RP: Just making things I'm proud of. I mean, nothing much. I got a dog the other day -- I’m pretty happy about that. I really don’t require very much.

EI: What kind, and what’s the name?

RP: Doesn’t have a name yet, but he’s very… I’ve only had him two or three days. He’s just a mutt. I don’t even know. He’s looks like a hyena.

EI: In the movie, it’s kind of a secret love, and your private love life has also been very secret. With big emotions like that, sometimes you just want to go off and show the world. How do you keep that private?

RP: I never get the feeling to show the world anything. [Laughs] I was in school when I had my first girlfriend…it wasn’t even a girlfriend. I asked somebody on a date when I was like 12. The next day around at school, it was like, “Are you going out with...?” I was like, “Oh God!” I don’t think I ever talked to the girl again. I’m just like, “This is a hassle.” It’s funny, but I always thought it’s like the stock market -- the more speculators you get, the more disastrous things are.

EI: Disastrous for whom and with what?

RP: If you say, “This is the truth,” and people are already talking about whatever, you’re just adding to the pot at a certain point. Your truth is no truer than the truth that is on the front of the gossip magazine or whatever. You just become a gossip yourself, even if it’s your life.

EI: Logistically, it must be so difficult. You can probably not walk down the street here, and maybe it’s a little bit easier in England, but it must be difficult to have a life that private...

RP: I don’t like people taking my photo ever. Even before all of this, I didn’t want my mum take my photo...

EI: And then you chose to become an actor...

RP: On set, I don’t mind it at all. It’s weird. But I’d be avoiding it no matter what. I always have, since people started following around. The only thing that stresses me out is people follow me around. So I put in a lot of effort to make sure that I have a life, because if you don’t think about it, you’re going to have people trying to make money off you all the time. If people can make money by just waiting outside my house and following me, people will lurk forever -- lurk 24 hours a day, so you've got to put in the effort to make that not happen.

EI: What would you do to stop that happening?

RP: Shoot. [Laughs]

EI: Why did you decide to work on this film in the first place? And can you talk about how it was working with Reese?

RP: I worked on it for a few reasons. I was coming out of another Twilight movie. A lot of the difficulty in doing the Twilight movies is that you never sweat. Your face has to be so defined all the time, because even if you make too big expressions, it ends up looking like kabuki, so you are very constrained all the time. I read the script and I really liked the story, but also it was a very physical and dirty world. Just little things. It’s funny -- when you’re sweating and you can just go like that and not have to have five makeup artists come in and redo it, it’s such a relief. Then I met Tai, the elephant, and thought she was great, and then Christoph and Reese signed on. Everything seems to be fitting together and you have two Oscar winners playing opposite you, this seems like the right thing to do.

EI: Is that your relationship -- working against two Oscar winners?

RP: No. I think it’s always better. I always want to have the best people. It just makes your job easier because they’re just going to do better stuff, and you just change it up every time. It’s so much better than just having somebody come in and do nothing.

EI: Can you comment on working with Christoph?

RP: He’s fantastic. He’s really, really funny, which I didn’t expect. Then I saw him on Jimmy Kimmel. I didn’t realize at all that he’s actually one of the funniest people I’ve ever seen. He does sing on Jimmy Kimmel when he was at the Oscars, which is one of the best skits of that show I’ve ever seen. It’s so funny.

EI: The movie is a love story, so there were lots of discussions about love because it says love in all forms, families, whatever. Tell me about love -- what you learn from it, how do you define it?

RP: The thing about this movie, especially in my relationship with Marlena -- I don’t think it’s conventional. I don’t think it’s about him falling in love with her and wanting to just be with her. In some ways, I think it’s sweeter that he completely acknowledged the whole time that he doesn’t want to just steal her away and be with her, because I think that’s not even really love anyway. That’s just something to do with pride. You just see someone who doesn’t particularly believe in themselves. If you’re loving someone, you think they’re the best person in the world, and she doesn’t see herself as that, and that’s the only thing he wants to show to her. I guess in some way that’s what love is. He wants her to love herself in the same way he does.

EI: You have many different movies. Do you have any plans to go back into the theater? Do you still live in London, or did you decide to be based in America?

 
RP: I’m sort of based everywhere. I live in
hotels, but I love to do theater. I think, just right now, I couldn’t imagine it being a good experience really because I just couldn’t imagine it being anything other than people constantly taking photos and stuff. I don’t know. I think it’s too much for me to take. I need to have that separation. There’s too much energy in an audience. It’s not just an energy which is waiting to be shown or something -- it’s an energy which is wanting to grab. I don’t think it would really work. It works for the cinema experience because there is something which people can take off it and it’s done, but you need to be almost giving things in the theater. You need an energy to come from the audience, not them just always taking it. Reese was fantastic. She got this really great energy about her, and she likes to make everyone happy, and she’s a great actress and she’s really cool.
EI: Will you be at the Royal wedding?

RP: Yeah. It’s funny -- everyone has made such a big deal about it. I didn’t even realize it was happening until I saw her on TV every single day here. It’s crazy.

EI: Are you excited about it?

RP: Yeah...kind of.


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