I´m exactly where I wanted to be.
Even after two Cronenberg-movies many still doubt the acting skills of Twilight-star Robert Pattinson. On Monday he presents his latest movie “Life” at Berlinale – together with director Anton Corbijn. In this interview the former vampire-star explains how he connected with the movie and why he feels his career is in a good place.
Q: Mr. Pattinson, is James Dean still an icon to your generation?
RP: Definitely. Especially when I was young. I knew James Dean before I even knew I wanted to act. I had read many of his interviews. He was style-defining and has an influence on every actor, simply through his physicality. Anyone who´s leaning forward, trying to look cool, is copying James Dean, really (laughs)
Q: You playing a photographer has a certain irony since in real life you often clashed with photographers who sometimes made your life hell. What was it like, playing a photographer?
RP: They´re still doing it. But to be honest, I had a very preconceived notion of photographers. Just like Anton Corbijn. Our ideas couldn´t have been more different. For Anton, the whole movie is about the nature of the photographer. I didn´t see Dennis Stock as a photographer, but someone, who under all circumstances wanted to be an artist. He saw an artist in James Dean just like he saw himself as an artist. To me the movie is about those petty jealousies: why is Dean perceived an artist and not me. That´s what I liked about it.
Q: As an actor, you offer up a lot of yourself and at the same time hand over responsibility to the director. How do you handle the fact that you can influence the final product only indirectly?
RP: It´s always a bit of a gamble, but also a matter of trust. I had talked to Anton Corbijn for an hour a year before we started shooting. I had only skimmed the script half an hour before our meeting, I wanted to impress him. He could have told me anything. Just when we started shooting I got a feel for the story.
Q: What did you like about the movie?
RP: The movie has a strange tone, it´s about so many universal things, but also very personal. For instance, it focuses on the situation where as an artist, your standing in your own way, blocking yourself and do not exploit your full potential. That´s something I can relate to.
Q: Do you stand in your own way often?
RP: Many actors often get the feeling that they´re just faking things and are afraid that some day someone realizes that they can´t act at all. That fear keeps me from many things that I actually want to do. And Dennis Stock, too, instead of believing in himself, comes up with one excuse after another as to why he´s not the right guy for the job. I could identify with that.
Q:Where do you get your self-confidence as an actor?
RP: I stopped thinking about it and just do it. Often I worry afterwards but since it´s to late then, it doesn´t really matter. And I always remind myself that I actually really enjoy what I´m doing.
Q: It´s been ten years since you started your career. Time for a resumee. How satisfied are you with your career?
RP: In fact I´m exactly where I wanted to be. After Twilight I knew it would take a while to get to the next level but I´m gradually getting there. Of course I´m always trying to get better as an actor, but so much depends on the stuff you get offered. Acting is of course the outline, but every director offers you different possibilities.
Q: What was it like for you when the Twilight Saga ended?
RP: I had no idea what to do with myself and then came the offer for Cosmopolis, right out of nothing, three weeks before we finished shooting Twilight. It changed everything. All of a sudden the movies I like are within reach for me as an actor