For the third installment of my four interviews with the cast and filmmakers of Eclipse, the third movie in The Twilight Saga, I sat down with Robert Pattinson to discuss his role as Bella's jealous vampire boyfriend, Edward Cullen, and the future of the franchise. He's always been a spacey interview, prone to very un-Hollywood answers, and he didn't disappoint.
Cole Haddon: First question: What part of your costume helps you transform into the character of Edward Cullen quickest?
Robert Pattinson: Probably the contact lenses, because it makes me miserable as soon as I put them in. That's what creates sort of the pouting and brooding character. You're just like, "Ugh!"
CH: There's a lot more action in Eclipse. Did you have to prepare any differently for that?
RP: I guess I had to learn how to run properly. In the last two, I've always run with a kind of limp-skip, and I had to sort of look like I could run more solidly this time. So I spent a lot of time on a giant treadmill, like one of those wheels mice run around, and got filmed doing it to improve my form. I guess that was one of the big things.
CH: Edward is considered a romantic hero, but he's also very possessive. Not exactly a positive trait. Three movies out of five into the series, how do you feel about that, and has Edward changed much since Eclipse?
RP: Yeah, I mean in the first two movies, earlier on in the story, were just caused by his desolation from reality. So when he finds one thing to hold on to, that's where the possessiveness comes from. I think as the series goes on, he accepts more and more that he's part of the contemporary world. I think all the things that were deemed to be flawed before start fading away. I mean, that's how I'm trying to play him. I think he's coming out of his shell a little bit in Eclipse, so hopefully by the end of Breaking Dawn, I'm hoping he'll be basically a normal 17-year-old guy. Just a little bit pale.
CH: Are you excited about where the character goes in Breaking Dawn then?
RP: I haven't read it yet! I mean, it's weird to do because I'm starting it a month after this job and it's something I'm quite glad I haven't read yet. I didn't intend to not read it until now, but it's quite exciting. I have no idea. I just heard brief rumors about what happens in the story, but I don't really know what happens at all.
CH: You got to work more closely with Taylor Lautner this time around, who plays the stalker-ish werewolf Jacob. How was that?
RP: Yeah, it was good in this one because I never do anything with anyone else, apart from Kristen [Stewart, who plays Bella Swan] in the other two. I mean, brief things, but it's kind of part of how I was answering the other question. Letting Edward have petty emotions like being jealous of Jacob and not being able to control himself around him because he gets under his skin so much, it became much easier to play, a much bigger scope of emotion to play as soon as you let someone else get through your armor. So doing that with Taylor was great. He's really good, too.
CH: Talk about working with Kristen. You both strike me as very serious actors, so how do you prepare for your scenes together? Do you sit down and nitpick everything, or do you just prefer to get to set and see what happens?
RP: I do [nitpick] because I, for some reason, I can't understand anything, and I think I'm going really in depth with the character, when it just seems so obvious to Kristen. Her mind works completely differently. She can just feel things immediately, and I'll kind of, I don't know, I like to be much more cerebral about things, in completely the opposite way to Kristen. I don't feel confident unless I know more about the reasons why I'm doing things. I don't really do that for other parts, so I guess that's what I do for Edward. But I always, since the first one, like to go in depth about things.
CH: Did you enjoy working with director David Slade (30 Days of Night) on Eclipse? The series has taken on a new director with each movie, so do you have to explain to each a bit about who your character is?
RP: It's interesting. After doing Twilight, the first one, everyone had very specific ideas. Everyone was butting heads the entire time, and you can kind of feel it in the movie. It's a different energy where everyone's like, "No, this is what it's about." Then, when Chris Weitz came in for New Moon, he basically came in with the opinion that he liked the first one, he liked what the actors were doing, so just follow along that road.
Then when David came in he was like, "I want to do everything completely different, not do it like the first two." So we talked about the character development and consistency from the two, and he was like, "It doesn't matter. Let's just do something completely different," which is good because then it's challenging. It's easy to get stagnant if you play the same character and luckily I've kind of felt, I don't know ... I guess in New Moon I felt like I was developing something a little bit deeper. And then with Eclipse I felt like I was doing a completely different movie, and a completely different character in a lot of ways. So, yeah, it was nice and challenging.
CH: What was David's biggest imprint on how you played Edward this time?
RP: I mean, I guess he was really fighting to make it not so, what's the word, solemn I guess, just the speed of it. Just to speed things up, which is a massive deal because, I mean, Edward always, in my eyes, has been so calculated and everything is not rash, any of his decisions. David wanted to speed up the whole thing and make him more vulnerable.
CH: How long have you known Breaking Dawn was going to be split into two films, and have you met with new director Bill Condon yet?
RP: I found out about Breaking Dawn being two films when the press release came out! I haven't asked anyone about that yet. Bill Condon I met briefly a few weeks ago, kind of by accident, just before the MTV Awards in a bar. He seemed great. He seemed like a really, really nice guy. I haven't talked to him in detail about anything, but Gods and Monsters is an amazing movie. But I think [Breaking Dawn's] going to be good. I don't even know where they're going to shoot it yet or anything.
CH: Speaking of Breaking Dawn, how are you going to get your longer hair back by the time shooting starts?
RP: I'm thinking maybe Edward had a haircut, it might be easier. But yeah, I didn't even think about that when I got it cut. That is a bit silly. Vampires can cut their hair, though, so I like the idea of Edward having a shaved head in the last one. That might be pretty cool.
CH: You had a song on the Twilight soundtrack. Would you like to contribute again on Breaking Dawn?
RP: I'm not sure. It was nice to be involved in the first one. I just saw Twilight on TV for the first time a few days ago--
CH: You had never seen it before?
RP: [Laughing] No, apart from the commentary. When my song came on, I was just thinking that it is so bizarre that I actually had a song in the movie. I'm kind of amazed [the director], Catherine Hardwicke, did it. It really shows how none of us thought it was going to be so massive. I didn't know anyone was going to buy the soundtrack or anything. So it's a little more nerve-wracking now. I don't know, maybe.
CH: There are a disturbing number of fan sites dedicated not only to you, but also to Edward Cullen. Do you ever check any of these out?
RP: It's kind of incredible the information they get so quickly. Sometimes I'll check them to see what my schedule is on stuff, especially on the weekend when I can't get through to my agency. They know way better, or even to see my emails sometimes! But no, some of them, it's strange being in Twilight because so much of the fan base is completely about being on the Internet and having a community with each other. You see people turn up on sets of other movies I've done and take a picture. You know the main reason is so they can have a thing within their online community, and you know it's going to be up within five seconds. If they could upload it as they were taking the picture, it'd be better. But, yeah, it's strange.
CH: Are you ever afraid that Edward Cullen will become that role you can't escape?
RP: I'm not sure. I've always been of the opinion that if something explodes really quickly, it takes the same amount of time for people to think of something else. I mean, I don't know. I hope not. Maybe it'll be a good thing ... I have no idea.
CH: Easy question, and also the last: What drives you to succeed?
RP: I guess probably a fear of failure and -- [laughing] -- an inadequacy complex.