Los Angeles? 30 minutes with Robert Pattinson? Yes please! I had hardly put down the receiver when the whole editorial group was giving me advice on what to ask him, how to get his autograph or better take a pic with him to brag about it later. But things are not done that way. To get ready for the interview I had to re-watch all the movies of the young star-and not only about Robert Pattinson is English-(his Englishness shows at the very first moment of our meeting)-and he takes care to have almost perfect biography.
He was born in the suburb of London, his mother worked at a model agency, father was a vintage car dealer. He and his sisters went to school where, one day, he got interested in theatre. This innocent hobby later turned him into an actor. But it was not plays that brought fame to Robert but his film roles in which he unexpectedly to himself-he showed a new hero-by depicting intelligent brooding, pleasant paleness, refined manners and vague british romanticism as opposed to rude physical strength and brutality.
That’s exactly what I need - a conversation with a handsome intellectual is one “sorry I am a little late, but I had to grab a bite to eat. In hotels I always order the same the “caesar” salad and club sandwich. Such hotel food….” – he adds his disarming smile to these words at the same time not understanding whether to shake my hand or not (a terrible dilemma for an Englishman-at the turn of politeness and political correctness-if I am feminist, he should shake it, if I am old fashioned then I won’t like it. And he has no idea how we do these things in Russia) generally he smiles and laughs a lot.
The day before at the press conference the new face of Dior was dressed in strict elegant suit with black turtleneck and looked absolutely respectable, which did not prevent him from having banter with the blackbearded director of the ad Romain Gavras. Today he is dressed more casually-jeans, white tee, grey jumper. A baseball cap. “Yes this is my style, what you see now. I feel comfortable and free, and I highly value freedom” - he answers my question about his preferences in clothing. “Now I have a lot of things to do - I am looking for a new house and this has become a real passion for me . I am looking at different offers on the internet and drive from one place to another. That’s why I choose the most habitual and safe clothes. I love mornings, not all mornings… it’s good when I don’t have to hurry anywhere, when the sun is shining and I can lie and think about the day, make plans... Understand that everything is just beginning... Also I never exercise! Sport in the morning bores me. But boxing in the evening, or even in the afternoon is a different thing. I do box a little and I am going to keep it up if I have enough time.”
I think he is a workaholic. Our conversation slowly moves to the topic of cinema… Filming for David Cronenberg…. future plans..“I haven't had what you call a “holiday” for seven years. It would be nice to forget reality sometimes, but to be honest I don’t feel really tired. I have come a long way from a second rate part in the Ring of the Nibelungs through Twilight to Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis. And how much effort was put in Water For Elephants and Bel Ami. As long as you have drive, the desire to move forward, try new things -I don’t want to stop at all. I got lucky because what I do is hardly different from resting, and you should take advantage of that and not count how many days you were working on end. I don’t want to lose all this. You are asking what drives me to move forward? Fear. Fear makes me get up in the morning and tells me “get better , don’t stop, you should experience this. When you live like this, new opportunities arise all the time. This is what happened with Christian Dior Parfums - for me , taking part in the ad, co operating with this legendary brand became a totally new stage. It is like moving to a new level. On the one hand you understand how much trust they put into you, on the other hand you want to bring something from yourself into this “perfected to the last detail” story. Dior Homme character is a real is a real master of his life, he creates trends, dictates his conditions. At my age these are quite new (but pleasant) feelings. But I have a lot of energy and I am ready to share it. I am ready to live thousand lives: one image today, another one tomorrow. I know nothing about the perfumes but I like this scent”.
At times I do manage to talk to him about personal stuff… (well almost personal stuff). Robert speaks openly and very emotionally, skillfully avoiding sensitive issues, not adding details where it is possible. During those 30 minutes he smiles and reacts to my questions with blushes. I am surprised that a man who can blush became an actor. He is the shyest of all the actors I had to interview for the last 4 years. His attractiveness is of completely different nature- there is nothing rude, indecent, openly dominating about him. Even the stubble does not make him “ a real man” (macho?). At the same time it is impossible to evade his incredible charm. He oozes male gentleness, desire to understand, warmth and refinement.
“As a kid I wanted to be like my dad, to be as masculine, wise and strong” - Pattinson seems to be reading my thoughts - “with years, dreams became more specific, and I thought I could become a good politician. Why? Because everything seemed like a good game –negotiating with people, resolve conflicts, make speeches. If only you knew what political speeches used to write! What arguments I used to bring! My opponent in the debates was doomed right from the start...then I got interested in music. Of course I don’t do it as professionally as my sister Lizzy (she has her band and her Cds are bestselling records in UK) but I still take it quite seriously. Sometimes I think that in the next life I will definitely be a pianist. Imagine: sandy beach-me playing on the grand piano. This is me. Music is always somewhere close. I have been playing the piano since I was four, and the guitar since I was 5. That’s why I like so many different genres in music-soul Rock (Dior Homme film uses Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin) the only genre I am not ready to get back to is Rap. There is always place for “if not music, then travelling and books. I like living in hotels, walking in the streets, being at places where people gather. A lot of places have certain associations in my mind: New York - it’s Brooklyn, Paris - rain and a little cold, (and don’t argue with me – these are my associations!) London – huge number of Russians, Russia-Bulgakov and Nabokov.”
I will be honest that at that moment I took the initiative in the conversation and the conversation turned into an express lecture on the history of Russian literature with Robert constantly asking questions and making comments. But timing is timing and I had to ask the main question: “ what principles are really important for you in life and is there anything you would like to change?”
“Oh my principles are very simple-be honest with myself, think less about myself and be nice to people. I would like to change so many things-completely give up fast food and play music on the beach…. You remember, right?”
Scans | Translation: Christine/Via/Via | Via