Robert Pattinson doesn’t play your average vampire in this month’s highly anticipated film Twilight.By J. Rentilly
Though his wizard-in-training character, Cedric Diggory, suffered a tragic fate in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the truth is, 22-year old actor Robert Pattinson leads a pretty charmed life. As if having scored a role in the hugely popular Potter series wasn’t fortunate enough, this month, Pattinson will play angst-ridden vampire Edward Cullen in Twilight, which is based on a hit fiction series of the same name by young-adult novelist Stephenie Meyer. Pattinson modestly attributes his success to dumb luck. But we think his dashing good looks, talent, and charm --the latter of which he showed loads of when we spoke with him recently-- have a little something to do with it too.
In the past two years, you’ve taken major roles in the film adaptations oftwo blockbuster literary series: the Harry Potter series and the Twilight series. What’s the strategy there? Do you hang out in libraries? I wish I could tell you. I mean, I do like books, but I think it’s just luck.
Are you a lucky guy? I think I am kind of a lucky guy. I remember that when I was younger, I used to write in my diary, “I want my luck to be spread. Never give mean aything too lucky all at once. I’ll take a little luck now and then, but spread it for 70 years.” [Laughs] Now that all of this is happening, I’m sure the rest of my life will be ruined.
Twilight is a really hot property. Are you getting a lot of public affection these days? I do have a lot of 12-year-old fans. It’s funny because I’ve actually done more films that aren’t for kids, but no one’s ever seen them. [Laughs] So I have a very young fan base.
Tell us about your character, Edward. The vampire I play doesn’t really enjoy anything. He’s kind of manic-depressive. He doesn’t like being a guy. He doesn’t like being a vampire. He can’t really handle anything.
Edward is different from standard cinematic vampires. Where did you find inspiration for the character? You’re right -- there’s very little about Twilight that’s really vampire-ish. It’s about vampires, I guess, but they’re not the same vampires you’re used to seeing in other movies. I found myself looking to real iconic figures and characters, those timeless, attractive figures, for inspiration: James Dean; Jack Nicholson; that old French film, Breathless. Edward’s an outsider, mysterious, a bad boy -- all the things girls find attractive. I wanted to find the qualities that made those actors and those performances so appealing, so charismatic. I can’t say I modeled the performance on anything or anyone, but I was looking for charisma and chemistry and trying to figure out what’s worked before in the movies.
You’re an accomplished musician. There have been rumors that the film version of “Bella’s Lullaby,” a critical love song to the story, is a song you wrote. I improvised a piece on the day we were shooting. It obviously wasn’t very good, because they didn’t end up using it. [Laughs] We ended up shooting the scene again with a song that the composer, Carter Burwell, wrote. I do actually have a couple of my songs in the movie, which I completely don’t understand. It’s very bizarre. The director, Catherine Hardwicke, was listening one day to one of my CDs, I guess, and when she showed me an early cut of the film, I realized she had used, without my knowledge, one of my songs in the movie. Not in the end credits as some sort of joke but in a key moment in the movie. It all matched perfectly -- the music, the lyrics, the scene. I had no idea. More luck, I guess.
Vampire stories are always, fundamentally, about characters that cannot have what they most want. Is there anything you want that you can’t get? Nothing. I’m lucky, you know. [Laughs] Really, I don’t mind being unsatisfied. That, in and of itself, is kind of satisfying. But the truth is, I usually get what I want.