Robert Pattinson is a bona-fide pop culture phenomenon. If you haven’t heard of him, we can only assume you’ve been living in an isolation tank, in a cave, with headphones on. Underground. One of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World 2010 and twice People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, R-Patz (as he’s called by teen mags) was a struggling actor best known for a small role in Harry Potter until two years ago, when the first Twilight movie raked in an unprecedented US$35.7 million on its first day (it made US$7 million from first-day midnight showings alone).
Pattinson’s overnight rocket ship to stardom has not sat easily with the young Brit. He is often quoted as complaining about his fame, and is yet to break out from his role as Edward Cullen, the dashing vampire of the Twilight franchise, who is – much to Pattinson’s discomfort – every teenage girl’s dream. He tells Time Out why that’s all about to change.
The third Twilight film, Eclipse, has a new director, David Slade (Hard Candy; 30 Days of Night). Did that change things?
It was exciting because David came in and said, ‘I want to do something really different with this film,’ and I think he succeeded. There’ll be a big contrast between Eclipse and the two previous films.
You’ve still got a way to go before you’re finished with The Twilight Saga, but how do you think you’ll feel when it’s over?
I always forget between films how much I like the character. It’s very comfortable to come back and play Edward. But it’s hard to reflect on the whole experience with any perspective. Everything has happened so quickly and exploded in such a short space of time, it’s just this sort of supernova. I think it will be 10 years before I can process it.
Any idea what you’ll be doing before you make the fourth and final Twilight film, Breaking Dawn?
I just finished work on a film called Bel Ami with Christina Ricci, Uma Thurman and Kristin Scott Thomas, and I’m about to start work on a film called Water for Elephants.
Who do you play in those films?
In Bel Ami I play this character who’s totally impossible to empathise with and continuously screws over anyone who does him any favours, but ends up with a lot of money, which I think is very realistic [laughs].
And Water for Elephants?
It’s set in the Depression and I play a student who abandons his studies and joins a circus.
Okaaaay. So you work with elephants?
Yes. It’s a great story, an amazing cast, a great director, and it’s a spectacle film without any CGI, but one of the things that most appealed to me about the film was the elephants. I just met the elephants I’m going to be working with and they’re amazing. Did you know that elephants purr? I just found that out.
It seems you work almost non-stop. Any plans for a holiday?
Not yet. Maybe after Breaking Dawn, but I don’t really feel like I need it. This job is like going on vacation, or at least it’s not a hard job by any stretch of the imagination.
You’ve been called the most famous actor in the world. How do you cope with all the attention?
I spend a lot of time hiding! You know, there are good days and bad days. But I’ve managed to keep the job separate from my life and it hasn’t really affected my ego. I don’t go anywhere apart from London if I’m not working and it’s not like I spend much time in Los Angeles or going to industry parties.
Do you ever get star-struck yourself?
I sat next to David and Victoria Beckham in a restaurant the first time I went to LA and I was definitely star-struck.
By David or Victoria?
[Laughs] It was the combination of them both. It just seemed surreal.
You said that success hasn’t gone to your head, but what about when you’re called the best-dressed or sexiest man alive? Doesn’t that feel good?
It just makes me laugh. I mean, this morning I was coming back from the gym and I suddenly realised that not only was I wearing my second-hand gym clothes and chewed up trainers, but the sort of black socks that you’d usually wear with a suit for the office. I think that sort of cancels out sexy and well-dressed at the same time.
What’s the oddest thing you’ve ever read about yourself?
That I was the best-dressed. Whoever thinks that obviously hasn’t seen me in my gym clothes.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is in UAE cinemas now.
Good Vs Bad Vamps
In The Twilight Saga, Robert Pattinson plays good-guy vegetarian vamp Edward Cullen. But isn’t a tortured soul a bit boring? Don’t we like our vampires bad? Laura Chubb looks at top on-screen bloodsuckers.
The Twilight Saga
Good: Edward Cullen
R-Patz mopes about the Twilight series with a face liked a smacked bottom. A very pretty smacked bottom it may be, but can’t the guy crack a smile?
Bad: Aro, leader of the Volturi
A deliciously devilish Michael Sheen hams it up and has fun as the figurehead of a ruthless Italian vampire coven.
Interview With The Vampire
Good: Louis de Pointe du Lac
The fun ends at the name as Brad Pitt’s gloomy bloodsucker whines all night long into Christian Slater’s dictaphone.
Bad: Lestat de Lioncourt
We hate to say it, but Tom Cruise is actually pretty cool as this callous creature of the night, who delights in tormenting his protégé.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
The vampire with a soul is referred to by subsequent Buffy-suitor Riley as ‘Mr Billowy Coat, King of Pain.’ David Boreanaz has a visibly better time playing Angel’s soulless alter-ego Angelus.
‘I’m a bad, rude man,’ the Billy Idol-esque fanged fiend tells his deranged undead beau Drusilla. That’s exactly why we like him.
Bad beats good in every round. Enough said.