In The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, the third chapter in Stephenie Meyer’s hugely successful series, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is forced to choose between her love for vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and her friendship with werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), as both fight to protect her and show why they are the one she should spend her life with.
At a press conference to promote the film’s upcoming release, actor Robert Pattinson talked about working more closely with Taylor Lautner, getting through that tent scene, how Edward Cullen has evolved throughout the films and how he’s looking forward to working with director Bill Condon for both parts of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. He also gave some insight into his upcoming roles in Bel Ami, Water for Elephants and Unbound Captives.
Q: What drives you to succeed?
Robert: Probably fear of failure and an inadequacy complex.
Q: This role is considered a romantic hero, but Edward is also very possessive. How do you think Edward has changed, throughout the films?
Robert: In the first two movies, he feels desolation from reality, so when he finds one thing to hold onto, that’s where the possessiveness comes from. I think, as the series goes on, he accepts more of the contemporary world. All the things that were deemed to be flawed before start fading away, and that’s how I’m trying to play him. He’s coming out of his shell a little bit in Eclipse, so hopefully, by the end of Breaking Dawn, he’ll be a normal 17-year-old guy, who’s just a little bit pale.
Q: What’s the one part of your costume that always transforms you into character?
Robert: Probably the contact lenses. They make me miserable, as soon as I put them in. That’s what creates the pouting and brooding character.
Q: Did you have to learn anything new for Eclipse?
Robert: I guess I had to learn how to run properly. In the last two, I ran in a limp slash-skip, and I had to 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 on, and got filmed doing it to improve my form.
Q: Have you ever gotten in a fight with someone for the love of a woman?
Robert: Yeah, probably. But, I don’t know if it was about love. It was more pride.
Q: Have you ever competed for a woman with another guy, the way Edward does with Jacob?
Robert: Compete? No, I haven’t. I’m not good at doing it. I just leave it alone. And also, if you are the one with the girl in the first place, maybe you’re forced into fighting a little bit. But, I would never be in Jacob’s position. Then, you’re just the guy that broke up the couple.
Q: What was it like to work more closely with Taylor Lautner this time around?
Robert: Yeah, it was good because I never do anything with anyone, but Kristen, except for brief things. But, it’s about 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 much bigger scopes of emotion, once you let someone else get through your armor. So, doing that with Taylor was great. He’s really good, too.
Q: Was there a scene in particular that you most enjoyed?
Robert: Some scenes, it was just quite cool to have him there. I like the scenes where Bella has to reveal something about herself in front of Jacob and me, at the same time. It’s an extra thing to relate to. Most of the time, it’s just with Bella and she’s trying to convey something to Edward, and Edward is being totally sympathetic to her seeing another guy and seeing it’s not just about their relationship, it’s about some other person. It made it a little more interesting.
Q: How was it to film the tent scene? Was it difficult not to crack up?
Robert: The first time we did that tent scene, I was really freaking out. I don’t know why. I think it had to do with claustrophobia because we were actually shooting in a tent. I just couldn’t get it together. I kept forgetting my lines, and I was so nervous. I just wanted to punch anyone who was near me. We did about three takes, and Kristen was supposed to be asleep on the floor, and she saw that I was freaking out. Half-way through the take, she suddenly opened her eyes and was just staring at me and kept trying to make me laugh, through the entire take. It’s the most serious scene in the whole movie. I just wanted to strangle her for the first two seconds, but then I could not stop laughing, the entire time. We got literally one take where it went right, and it was because of that. When I was trying to hold back, I guess it made me more alive or something.
Q: Do you believe in having a soul, like Edward does?
Robert: Yeah, definitely. I can’t remember who said it, but a soul and a heaven must exist because good people aren’t rewarded enough on Earth. I always liked that idea, if that makes sense.
Q: Since you’ve had a new director with each film, do you have to explain to each director about the character?
Robert: It’s interesting. With the first Twilight film, everyone had very specific ideas and everyone was butting heads the entire time. Then, when Chris Weitz came in for New Moon, he basically came in with the opinion that he liked the first one and he liked what the actors were doing, so he just followed along that road. Then, when David Slade came, he was like, “I want to do everything completely different and not 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 stagnate, if you play the same character. In New Moon, I felt like I was going a little bit deeper. And then, with Eclipse, I felt like I was doing a completely different movie and a completely different character. So, yeah, it was nice and challenging.
Q: What was David’s biggest change?
Robert: I guess he was really fighting to make it not so solemn. In my eyes, Edward has been so calculated and everything is not rash, and David wanted to speed up the whole thing and make him more vulnerable.
Q: Jacob has that great line in the film about being hotter than Edward. How was it to film that scene? Were you upset Edward didn’t get a comeback to that? Would you like to address that issue right now?
Robert: There’s nothing you can say. “Yeah, you are!” “At least I’m not hotter than you!” I don’t know. Yeah, it was quite fun. There are quite a few lines in there. Jacob has quite a few catch phrase type of lines, with me especially. For some reason, I find it quite funny when I’m doing stuff with Taylor. There are a couple confrontational scenes, where I push him around a little bit, and I thought I’d really scare him and grab him, and it would freak him out and turn the whole scene upside down. Then, I grabbed his shoulder and it was too big to actually get a grip on, so I just dropped my hand. It was embarrassing. I got him badly, thought. He kept having to dress up in a little grey spandex wolf suit and try to be intimidating with Kristen patting him on the head. That was quite fun.
Q: Edward and Victoria have a really cool fight scene in this film. How much training did you and Bryce Dallas Howard have to go through, and what was it like having to fight a girl
Robert: Weirdly, one of the producers told me, “Wow you look so enthusiastic in that fight scene! Much more so than any other one in the series.” I did a bit of practice with Bryce. It’s really hard to do stuff with her because she’s the gentlest person and she’s always laughing when you do anything. And then, she’d be afraid of hurting me. Most of the vicious stuff I did was with a stunt double who was really, really tough. But, the bits with Bryce, we’re just rolling around and grabbing onto each other. It was fun.
Q: Are you afraid that everything else you do will be compared to Edward Cullen?
Robert: 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 don’t know. I hope not. Maybe it’ll be a good thing. I have no idea.
Q: Both you and Kristen are very serious actors. How do you guys prepare for your scenes together? Do you get together and go over them, or do you prefer to just get on set and see what happens?
Robert: For some reason, I can’t understand anything and I think I’m going really into the depth of the character, when it just seems so obvious to Kristen. Her mind works completely differently. She can just feel things immediately, and I like to be more cerebral about things, in completely the opposite way of 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. That’s what I do for Edward. But, since the first one, I always like to go in-depth about things.
Q: Do you understand the fantasy about you and Kristen being together, in real life?
Robert: Do I understand the fantasy of it? No, not really. Well, I guess people like stories. My basic conclusion is that they just want everything to be about Twilight.
Q: Do you ever check any of the fansites?
Robert: It’s incredible the information they get so quickly. Sometimes, I’ll check them to see what my schedule is, especially on the weekend when I can’t get through to my agency. It’s strange being in Twilight because so much of the fan base is being on the Internet and having a community with each other. You see people turn up on sets of other movies I’ve done, to take a picture. It’s strange.
Q: What would you say to someone who is wondering whether or not they should go see this movie?
Robert: I don’t know what to say to people. It’s become so big. It’s become part of the cultural environment. For the first and second one, I knew exactly what to say to people. If you don’t know what the story is by now, then you’ve probably never been to the cinema before. How about, “Why not go to the cinema for once?” I don’t know. If you’re a fan of it, there’s a lot of things that plays into what the fans of the series want. If you’ve never seen them before, a lot of people who have seen it tell me that it’s the most accessible of the three. It’s a solid story, by itself, and it’s more of a sort of action film. When I was watching Twilight the other day, I realized that you do need to read the book to get it.
Q: You were on the first soundtrack. Would you contribute again to the soundtracks for any more of the movies?
Robert: I’ve done a couple of things. I’ve always just been playing around. It was nice to be involved in the first one. I just saw Twilight on TV, for the first time, a few days ago, and, when my song came on, I was just thinking that is so bazaar that I actually had a song in the movie. I’m amazed Catherine [Hardwicke] did it. It really shows how none of us thought it was going to be so massive. I never thought people would buy the soundtrack. So, it’s a little more nerve-wracking now. I don’t know. Maybe.
Q: What do you think Edward’s evolution is in Breaking Dawn?
Robert: I haven’t read it yet. I’m starting it a month after the job I’m doing now, and I haven’t read it yet. I didn’t intend to not read it until now. 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.
Q: How are you going to go about getting your long hair back for Breaking Dawn?
Robert: I’m thinking maybe Edward got a haircut. That 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. I like the idea of Edward having a shaved head in the last film. That’s pretty cool.
Q: How long have you known Breaking Dawn was going to be two films?
Robert: I found out about Breaking Dawn when the press release came out.
Q: Have you met with Bill Condon yet?
Robert: I met him 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. I think it’s going to be good. I don’t even know where they’re going to shoot it yet, or anything.
Q: Can you talk about your upcoming projects and who you play in those films?
Robert: Bel Ami is about a character, Georges Duroy, who is a broke ex-soldier in Paris, in 1890. Basically, he has no drive. He is just jealous of everything. I quite liked the story. Kids nowadays feel entitled. People want to go into a job, but don’t want entry level. They want $100,000 a year, out of the gate. That’s exactly what this guy is like. He’s completely talentless. The only thing he does is that, by accident, he finds this guy he’s in the army with, in a brothel, and this other guy wants to impress him, so he gives him some money and invites him around. It ends up being like he invited the devil into his house. He seduces his wife, he seduces his wife’s friends and, every single influential woman he can get, he has an affair with. He ends up screwing over society and making millions and millions of francs. It was a really fun, completely amoral, evil character. It’s a story about how the shits can completely win sometimes, by doing absolutely nothing.
Water for Elephants is a story about a guy in 1931 whose parents both died in a car crash. When he’s at university studying science, he jumps on a train out of desperation to find something else, and ends up being on this circus train and falling in love with the star attraction, who also is the wife of the ringmaster. All this chaos ensues after that.
Unbound Captives is a romantic drama/western, and my character is the son of Rachel Weisz. He gets kidnapped by Comanche’s when he’s four, and is raised by them. My mother spent 15 years trying to find me, and I come back and can’t speak English anymore, and I can’t recognize her and she can’t recognize me. I come back and look like a Comanche, and I have massive ADD as well. It’s about learning how to live in a new environment again.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse opens on June 30th.
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"I believe in Karma. I believe it exists and whatever you do in your everyday life makes the person that you are. What you give in life comes back to you. I’m convinced of that, so I’m sure that everyday you have to be a good person and treat everyone with respect. We’re all connected."
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