*This is from the press junket in Santa Monica.*
Translation thnks to Letmesign.com
Too Perfect Man
Robert Pattinson, rich and vampirized by the Twilight Saga tries to escape it by jumping into a traveling circus. In Water for Elephants he lands in Tai’s arms, the most famous paquiderm in Hollywood.
More after the cut
More after the cut
One can’t go far enough. From here to the ocean. There’s nothing farther than Santa Monica. In this California beach where the American continent ends on the West one can’t smoke either. Robert Pattinson is dying to smoke a cigarette, a natural American spirit that he likes, identifying mark of a young Hollywood star. A small sing of his rebellion against an anti-tobacco world. The same rebelliousness as his signature hair, which the British actor does not stop messing with, that shows his nervousness. Let’s not kid ourselves, Pattison would rather not be here. Doing interviews is not his thing, but he has no choice. I am not kidnapping him nor is Hollywood holding him captive: he is victim of his own fame. The Edward Cullen of the Twilight Saga, for whom Twihards, which his fans go by, kiss the floor, does not know where to hide. Neither to smoke or breathe. During filming of his latest film, the first of his new life, Water for Elephants, Pattinson had to change hotels six times in Los Angeles. He’s not picky, he just couldn’t even get into his room without being harassed. “I dream of the day in which I can have a house without fear of someone getting in without being invited,” he says like a true vampire, someone who’s lived out of a suitcase since fame knocked on his door in 2008. From within his desperation, Pattinson says it with a smile; he’s happy with his life. He is amongst the 15 most important Hollywood stars according to Vanity Fair and his earnings in 2010 reached $27.5 million. The saga in which he stars has earned $1.100 million worldwide. There’s still more films left. But everything has a price and Pattinson has sold himself at a high price. Or at least everything it conveys. Like, for example, being the most wanted man on the planet. “An achievement with great meaning,” he says with a hint of sarcasm that his British accent gives every conversation. “It’s taken me a lot of work to achieve it,” he utters with a grin from ear to ear. “It’s one of those thing one has no control over. The same things as with awards or criticism, everything that surrounds us,” he tries to explain. An “us” that refers of Hollywood, not the Fairmount Miramar we are at. “Like I heard from Baredem one day, the dangerous part of receiving awards is that you start to believe it,” he affirms.
He doesn’t think too much of himself. On the contrary, Pattinson is of a much more animated character, a jokester and jovial, than the vampire he has made famous, that spends his life suffering between existing and not, passion and abstinence, life and death. No. Pattinson only resembles his alter ego in beauty, perfect pale skin, juicy lips, deep eyes and a perfect body he is embarrassed to show off. “I would spend my life eating hamburgers,” he comments talking about his invisible fat. At 25 on May 13th, whether he tries to or not, his only problem is being too perfect. At least like Edward Cullen. A serious problem because, nearing the end of a saga whose last book has been split into two to further explore this phenomenon where popular culture and marketing go hand in hand, the only question is, “now what?” He shrugs his shoulders.
The answer is Water for Elephants, film which has been shot with Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz based on Sara Gruen’s book which takes place during the Great Depression of the United States. He interprets, Jacob, who abandons his veterinary studies upon his parents deaths and joins a traveling circus to take care of the animals while falling in love with Marlena (Witherspoon), the circus owners wife (Walts). “There are many reasons to do this movie. I had just come from filming Twilight (part one of Breaking Dawn) and it was like a breath of fresh air. For example, being able to sweat without having five makeup artists to come do touch ups. Or being able to frown because if I do it as Edward it looks like kabuki. Plus working with two Oscar winners like Reese and Chris. One always has to work with the best and the only one who didn’t have a statuette was me.” He also considers the change of topic a break. From spending the day talking about Kristen Stewart, Twilight’s Bella, to melting over his new costar, Tai, the elephant, one of Hollywood’s most famous paquiderm. “I am capable of understanding an elephants psyche. I can’t say the same about my fans,” he says between laughter. Even if he doesn’t want it, Kris comes up in conversation, sometimes naturally, as someone with whom he is living intense years of his life. “People don’t care about the truth. It’s fine to maintain a certain level of mystique in ones personal life. People think I’m more protective about my personal life than I really am,” he confesses vaguely. Why doesn’t he speak clearly? “It would be like fueling the fire. There comes a time where there is no more truth than what comes out in gossip magazines, and if you take part in that, you become the gossip.”
Pattinson hadn’t thought about movies or fame before being discovered. It started at a smaller scale, with a saga equally as important as Harry Potter, but with a smaller character, Cedric Diggory, who died quickly. Due to his characters short life span, his work was stamped in everyone’s memories, with annoying comparisons as the new James Dean to the new Jude Law. Then came the Twilight explosion just as Pattinson was ready to return to his home of England because Hollywood wasn’t as welcoming as it seemed. “When I arrived in Los Angeles I’d been unemployed for a while so I started pretending to the casting directors and saying I’d graduated from London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Some of them believed me,” he recalls. Success didn’t make him wait and neither did fame. “I don’t see them often, I don’t want to be part of the group of people who is constantly harassing hem,” says Catherine Hardwicke, director who launched his career and Stewart’s even though she didn’t remain as the head of te adaptation from book to film of Stephenie Meyer’s work. “There are many who consider me a product, a piece of the Twilight machine. Even more those who are incapable of seeing me as that character.”
He is not a new phenomenon. Too much success, too fast. Some, like Christopher Atkin, don’t surpass The Blue Lagoon. More recent actors like Zac Effron, try to survive the High School Musical storm. It is achievable. Leonardo DiCaprio proved it, as wanted after Titanic as Pattinson. With low grossing films like The Beach and embarrassed amongst his colleagues as the only actor without an Oscar when he was the main star of Titanic, DiCaprio is one of the biggest stars of the industry, converting himself into his own motor, producer, and muse of the most venerated director, Martin Scorsese, his new Robert De Niro. Not going that far, his colleague from his Harry Potter times, Daniel Radcliffe, ends the sage carving himself a spot in Broadway after a well received naked interpretation in Equus. “I can’t imagine something like that. I can just picture the audience taking photos during the show. Sucking your energy. And in theater, more than any other venue, I need to receive it,” he says.
That is why the results of Water for Elephants are so important to him. His test by fire. That for which he reduced his salary to $1.5 million from the $12.5 million he is used to receiving for each Twilight film. Until now, his escapades have not worked. Remember Me’s box-office barely surpassed the 50 million dollars and Little Ashes in which he played Salvador Dali did not even register. Like Cullen knows, there’s life afer death, and Pattinson had more movies in his pocket after the saga: Bel Ami based on the novel by Guy de Maupassant, and Cosmópolis, by Don DeLillo, under the direction of David Croneberg. “Sounds great. The script is incredible with an incredible cast, so I only expect it to be incredible.”
He also has other ideas in his head to diversify. He assures us, the worst part of being an actor (star, I correct him) is that those hat surround him need to protect him all the time. He wants to run risks. In fact, during the chat a strange admiration for Charlie Sheen and Joaquin Phoenix escapes him, protagonists of some of the strangest conduct in the industry. For someone with tobacco as his only vice, his risks reference to new artistic adventures, like that script he wants to write with quotes from Lillian Hellman (“it’s supposed to be a secret,” he mutters) and the desire to be a producer, like DiCaprio, to have more control over his roles.
There is time. The saga that watched him grow does not wrap until 2012, and he says the best is yet to come. “The two reaming parts are different because the book is also different,” he admits regarding Breaking Dawn. “It’s the strangest of them all and you can’t evade those almost graphic moments. Bill Condon, the director, keeps repeating that he’s glad he began his career doing horror films, he feels at home.” Pattinson looks tired. His enthusiasm is not the same as when he talks about Water for Elephants. But his responsibilities with each character are clear. “It’s not that you make peace with it, but you learn to accept it,” he admits referring to the fame he enjoys. “If you want to keep working you have to accept what it entails.” He just needs time. About then years, he thinks. Until interviews stop describing him as the vampire from Twilight; until he is able to get some perspective, him and his followers, of the phenomenon that launched him into the lime light: until he enjoys more control over himself, his image and his work; until he can enjoy that private house without being harassed by cameras. “Time goes by fast, even more so in this industry,” he states. Meanwhile, he will continue working like he does now, non-stop since he became vampire Edward Cullen. Like the novel’s protagonist, Pattinson lives a new life. It remains to be seen if he will be immortal.
Photo caption: Acclaimed as the ‘next James Dean’ or the ‘next Jude Law’, 25 year old Pattinson claims credibility further than the status of a star for teens.