Robert Pattinson knows a thing or two about the price of fame, so it’s worth listening when he says he worries about the child stars he meets in Hollywood. “When you see these kids, there is only one way: you either get in therapy now or become a serial killer, or kill yourself. I mean, you can see it really early on—it’s terrifying.”
There is just such a kid at the center of Maps to the Stars, one of two Pattinson films debuting at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Evan Bird, whom you may recognize from The Killing, plays Benjie, a vicious and entitled 13-year-old TV star, and Pattinson plays a chauffeur looking for a break in show business. Directed by David Cronenberg, who previously collaborated with Pattinson on 2012’s Cosmopolis, the film is a savage satire of Hollywood that also stars Julianne Moore as a hysterical over-the-hill actress, John Cusack as a diabolical life coach, and Mia Wasikowska as a warped avenging angel of sorts.
Pattinson has a meatier role in David Michôd’s post-apocalyptic road movie, The Rover, portraying a not-very-bright hoodlum who falls under the spell of Guy Pearce. As the two make their way across the Australian Outback, Pattinson’s character grows more confident—and more deadly—by the minute.
VF.com spoke to Pattinson at Cannes, where his ex-costar and -girlfriend Kristen Stewart also has a film debuting, and quizzed him about how he prepped for the roles, what he finds most ridiculous about Hollywood, and how he handled sudden superstardom at the tender age of 21.
VF Hollywood: David Michôd has talked a lot about the back story for The Rover, which is set “10 years after the collapse.” How much did he tell you about your character?
Robert Pattinson: Well, not a lot. I kept questioning that aspect of it. “What is this economic collapse? I want to know the details about it.” Then I realized it didn’t really make any difference to my character.
Guy Pearce’s character refers to your character as a “half-wit.” Were you playing him as someone with a real disability, or just someone who hasn’t been that well educated?
I was thinking he’s almost like someone who’s been told there is something wrong with him and there actually isn’t—but he has been told there is so many times that he has just sort of accepted it.
He reminds me a bit of Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad.
Yeah, I think there is a similar trajectory. But even if he does prove himself in a dark situation, he really really never wanted to do that in the first place—and it sort of breaks him.
Read the rest of the interview at Vanity Fair where he talks about Maps To The Stars, being famous, Hollywood and more!