Hey, Twilight fans! It's hard to believe the week of Twilight's big movie release has arrived. After spending some time with the young actor who's about to rocket to stardom playing the too-handsome-for-this-earth vampire, Edward, I'm curious to see this story come to life on-screen.
After causing utter mayhem at a mall here in San Francisco last week, Robert Pattinson retreated to a calmer room where I asked him all my burning questions about the mania surrounding this movie, how he approached the role, why people seem to be going ga-ga for vampires, and more. Incidentally, I have to note that in my most objective, journalistic opinion, the man is awfully dreamy. Ahem! On with the interview:
Before you signed up to do this movie, did you understand the hysteria that went along with the books?
No, I went into it having absolutely no idea what it was, and then some people turned up to the set occasionally. But I mean, I kind of expected that. I knew it was a popular book, so I thought, you know, it would be 20 fans who might come occasionally. And then when we finished shooting I went back to LA, and the first day I was there, someone came up to me and was like, [breathless girly voice] "You’re Edward!" and it was, "Oh, OK," just something I didn't expect. And then I did this thing called Comic-Con in San Diego and there were just seven or nine thousand people, just ridiculous . . . and they just screamed, like, 45 minutes — or the entire time, just screamed and screamed. Up until that point I wasn't really expecting anything.
If you haven't read the book, some of what follows might be a tad spoilery, but if you're ready, just read more.
I read somewhere that [Twilight author] Stephenie Meyer conceived of Edward as a kind of superhero in some ways. How did you factor in Edward's super-human powers when you were playing the character?
Well, he's in permanent denial of everything. So I never thought "This is a vampire movie," I never thought of him as a vampire. I tried to avoid having any kind of supernatural elements in the performance — I mean, I kind of thought you just have to commit and say, "OK, he's going to live forever," you're a thousand times stronger than any human being, and you have to drink blood in some form or another, and ignore the fact that it's a mystical thing and imagine that you're a human that has to live like that. And that’s kind of how I went at it. I didn’t want to do, you know, a "vampire" performance.
How did you reconcile the character with what's in the book and in the script? Did reading Meyer's manuscript written from Edward's perspective help?
I read that two-thirds of the way into shooting, so I couldn't retain too much. I guess in some ways, you know, elements of the character in the book, I thought that girls wouldn’t find that attractive. . . It's like, OK, I got to make this character as attractive to as many people as I can, and I think that's kind of the whole point. Being too polite and being too much of a wet blanket is just, like, not sexy at all, and so I kind of strayed a little bit in the movie away from being too gentlemanly.
That’s true, Edward is extremely chivalrous in the book, which actually made me wonder if you thought of him as just a regular teenage guy, with, you know, teenage thoughts — or this 100-something-year-old mature being who's wise beyond his years?
Well, what I wanted to do — he still has the mentality of a 17-year-old, but he's seen all these things, so he's a bit jaded in a way. But at the same time, if you keep experiencing different stuff through the same eyes, you get a very crude vision of the world, and I think that makes him jaded — kind of more jaded than if you were just 108, because he has no level of acceptance, where if you are 108 years old, you're like, "Oh well, I’m going to die soon." But [Edward's] just still fighting with everything. Still fighting about, you know, when you’re 17 you're fighting everybody. You have a very volatile character and it just has never died down. But I never thought of him of more than a regular guy — I mean I grew up being kind of polite to people. I think he’s a normal kid. Also, I think being with [his father] Carlisle. . . I feel a father figure has put bounds around everything that is right and true. . . he's instilled those morals and virtues into him. He tries to live a little bit more like that.