Robert Pattinson, The Phoenix
Is there a life after Twilight? That's the question the actor is trying to answer to, filming in art-house cinema and working with Dior.
"The most important thing is to be cool". After 5 years spent in the eye of the Hollywood cyclone, Robert Pattinson finally got it. It did not appear to him like this while walking his dog in Los Angeles. We always sensed a sort of uneasiness when talking to him. And even Robert himslef had some trouble hiding (maybe he's not really trying) that he wasn't really fit for the movies he was idolized for. "Playing in movies that you would never go see, it complicates things, it's hard to talk about it, hard to promote it, hard to connect with the public. Until I met David Cronenberg who hired me for Cosmopolis, I always felt like I just fell into roles, that I didn't really get to choose. I was trying not to sink. For the first time, I felt like I had been chosen for my talent. David gave me confidence. It changed how I see myself as an actor."
Not the best moment to become the face of an important perfume brand, lend his face (for a lot of money) to Dior Homme and see his image on every billboards around the world? Well, not really. Of course, Dior is not the first to solicit Rob Patz. Before, others certainly thought about making money off of the huge popularity of the Twilight actor. But it seems like the honorable French house found the right words to convince him. Well, more like the right word : freedom. Pattinson used it to realize his dream : shooting with Romain Gravas, a French underground and talented director who alternated between the super cool (the music video "Bad Girls" with M.I.A) and the super controversial (the music video "Stress" with Justice). "It's been a while since I have been trying to contact him and he wasn't answering my calls. When Dior approached me, I told myself "I'm sure he would like to work with me if I was offering a Dior commercial"". Bingo! Gavras accepted the challenge and restored the actor's image looking for an artistic legitimacy while helping Dior building a successful campaign.
The movie he directed is indeed a champagne bobble, a concentrate of coolness with sixties influence in which Rob and model Camille Rowe are being playful, smoke cigarettes, drive carelessly an old BMW convertible on the beach... A very New Wave atmosphere, seductive and fresh. Like a groupie, the actor expresses his admiration for Gravas the anarchist : "He sees the world in a complete different way. he's very confident. I am more neurotic, it's irritating but at the same time, my insecurity is the only thing I find interesting about myself".
Let it be clear, with Robert Pattinson, there's a significant misunderstanding. His love-affair with Kristen Stewart, all the highs and lows of this relationship and the break-up a few months ago didn't help matters. And he knows it : "People saw me in a couple of movies and think this is who I am. It's natural. Now it's my responsibility to look for directors who I want to work with. I try to do it but I have to overcome my timidity. It happened to me a few days ago, I met one of my heroes at a dinner party. I texted him the next day saying I wanted to work with him. After 3 hours without hearing anything from him, I was on the verge of sending him another text like "I'm sorry, I'm sorry that was so presumptuous of me ". But he finally texted me back!".
Fragile like a young girl in love, Pattinson has that combination of passion and extreme lucidity that make his professional day to day life difficult. Once again, Cosmopolis and his first appearance at the Cannes Festival were a turn in his career: "I promised myself to only do what I wanted to do". Not really easy in the country of super-productions where the professionals were telling him to build himself an masculine public. "I don't even know what it means "building a masculine public" ! I can't force guys to go see my movies !" he says laughing. But the young actor he's not that naive and understood that being cool was the condition sine qua non in order for the independent filmmakers to take a interest in him. "In fact, it's marketing, and what's important in marketing is to be coherent. It means saying no to a lot of propositions. Of course, the risk in this business that is always evolving is to say no to projects until the moment when projects aren't sent your way anymore. "When that happens, I'll just go and do Dance with the stars".
For the time being, he is said to be playing in the next Werner Herzog movie with James Franco and Naomi Watts (he's not confirming anything) and he just finished filming The Rover, the first movie directed by David Michôd who wrote "Hesher" and "Animal Kingdom", a close friend of the Edgerton brothers. The gang it's good to be seen with to be accepted by the aficonados of independent movies in the US. He then will be reunited with his fairy godmother Cronenber in Maps to the Stars written by Bruce Wagner, a flagship figure of the new generation of American writers.
So, even if he likes to hide behind his geeky and tortured persona, Pattinson is not lacking determination and he's valiantly building a career that is beginning to look like him. After all, DiCaprio was also subjected to young girls shouting their admiration and Brad Pitt showed some abs in Thelma & Louise and even in several episodes of Dallas before David Fincher, Neil Jordan or Terry Gilliam gave him more substantial roles. Nobody blamed them for it. And we will forgive Rob Patz for playing in not so great movies. Especially since, laughing, he promises, under the gaze of his new Dior female colleagues to make an effort on the fashion side : "I like fashion but I'm not really comfortable with the idea of being judged by what I'm wearing so I'm always wearing the same clothes. But look, I have this Dior jacket that I was given and I wear it everyday!". It's never too late Rob. Let's hope that even with a impeccable look he will never lose his frankness. "A few months ago I started designing women dresses, couture dresses...". He burst out laughing. "I was certainly having a nervous breakdown!". Fragile, touching and irresistibly sexy despite himself. Pattinson, the teen idol, has become a man.
Scans | Translation | Via