The hum of nervous excitement buzzing around Robert Pattinson’s hotel suite in London on the morning of Time Out’s visit is such that you expect him to walk out with sparkling vampire skin and alarmingly sharp teeth. But in the flesh, the Twilight star is warm, earnest and posher than you might expect, with something of the teenage schoolboy to him, even down to the frayed cuffs on his jacket. In our closely monitored chat (20 minutes! No questions about Kristin!) Pattinson talks about his role as chain-smoking student loser Tyler Hawkins in the US indie movie Remember Me, about creating ‘mystique’ as an actor, and sucking blood off his co-star’s lip.
Where does Remember Me fit into the Twilight craziness?
I’d read tons of scripts after the first Twilight movie and this was one of maybe two that I liked. I didn’t work for the whole year after Twilight. What did I do? Nothing! [Laughs] It was really nice. [But] now that I’ve been working a lot, I can’t imagine going a month without fretting. So now I’m doing job-to-job-to-job. Which is dangerous because you have a film coming out every three months. It’s over-saturation. You have to work a bit on creating some kind of mystique.
Mystique? Is that what you feel you need?
I see people who are in magazines all the time. If they’re in every week, I’m far less interested in their movies. So, yeah, I’m always a little wary.
Remember Me is set in summer 2001. Did you ever hesitate about fictionalising 9/11?
When I first read it, I didn’t think it was contentious. I thought it flowed organically; it’s anchored in reality. It hit hard for me so I wanted to portray the same emotions that I felt the first time I read it. I’m terrified of people thinking it’s manipulative. I read the script and I felt this should be made.
You get beaten up a lot in the film. Was it fun to act like a real person for a change?
Yeah, it’s always enjoyable smashing things up. I guess that one of the funniest things about it – from the first fight, which is such a severe beating – is that there are all these wounds on his face for two thirds of the movie. [Laughs]
And then your screen girlfriend [Emilie de Ravin] kisses you and she’s got a split lip…
There was a big moment, which is in the script, where there’s a kind of kinkiness with the cut in her lip but that got cut from the movie – where I’m sucking the little bit of blood off it [laughs]. I think it was a little bit too weird.
Do you feel you have something to prove, Twilight having been so bankable and all?
I think people are really harsh about anything that becomes successful. It’s really weird. I was looking at this article about Little Ashes [in which Pattinson stars]. “He still hasn’t proved his box office potential. Little Ashes bombed.” Could it have been the fact that it was only released in 16 cinemas?
There’s a lot of cigarettes, booze and sex in this movie. What about your younger fans?
That’s the least of my concerns. I think it’s so ridiculous, people putting pressure on the arts. I think parents should be the ones who teach kids. The more you try to hide things like that, the more exciting and appealing they are. The abstinence movement is only a reaction to everybody being so obsessed with sex for the past 20 years or so. It’s crazy to think that young people, when their hormones are most raging, are suddenly like, ‘Oh, I don’t want any of that.’
You’re currently filming Bel Ami with Uma Thurman. You play a real swine.
The novel is about this guy who screws everybody over and seduces all these women and completely gets away with everything. This guy is a complete a***hole. He remains an a***hole to the end and everyone congratulates him for it.
Remember Me is on general release in UAE cinemas now. Read our review at www.timeoutdubai.com/film