By: Martyn Conterio
Ever since Barnes boy Robert Pattinson smothered his face in talcum powder and put in a set of plastic fangs to play a veggie vampire in Twilight, the man has become the biggest heart-throb on the planet. After seeing thousands of screaming girls in Leicester Square, London for the UK premiere of Remember Me, one feels rather sorry for him. He may offer glib platitudes and thanks “to the fans”, but you sense deep down he just wants to get on with being an actor and not a celebrity. Remember the hullabaloo surrounding Leonardo DiCaprio after Titanic? Well, Pattinson is famous on that frightening level. Leicester Square (17th March) was vision of hell worthy of Hieronymous Bosch.
Hordes of Twi-hards blocked by barriers and security guards stretched out their arms clawing at “R.Pattz” like they were ravenous zombies excited by the prospect of fresh meat. There is no doubt that given the opportunity they would maul poor Robert Pattinson to death. Such encouraged frenzy and devotion is bizarre. The MC only had to say “Rob” and a grand choir of teens spliced the London air with a wail of screams utterly perplexing as it was damaging to the ears. They idolise R.Pattz and don’t care. One group of girls had been camping out in Leicester Square for 32 hours. How do I know this? They had a placard telling everyone. It is devotion bordering on religious mania. They are here to worship at the Church of Pattinson.
And yes, I had to wade through this jungle of sweating flesh and flash bulbs to attend the press conference, which was being held in the same venue after Emile de Ravin and Robert Pattinson introduced the film. Moments later they were in a tiny screening room greeting the gathered press for some questions and answers that started off stilted and ended up rather fun.
The immediate thing one notices about Robert Pattinson is his nervousness when confronted by the press. It’s all in the body language. He swivelled in his chair, would shield his face with his hands and look sideways to avoid eye contact when speaking, bite his nails or mess with his hands: a catalogue of telltale signs.
It’s not rudeness or arrogance, but a discomfort at the process of publicity. Maybe he’ll grow into it with time, but he exuded a great awkwardness to begin with before relaxing and being rather fun.
A major annoyance was caused by the PR people who warned the gathered press that there were to be no questions about Eclipse or Kristin Stewart. So if you’re expecting some fresh details on those subjects, well, there aren’t any. Sorry.
Robert Pattinson on working with Pierce Brosnan in Remember Me:
I never thought initially that anybody like Pierce would be playing Charles. He has an innate likeability and he’s very charismatic. Charles on the page was somebody who was domineering and quite a negative character and Pierce changed all that.
Robert Pattinson on the pressures of his new found status and ability to fund a variety of projects:
I never like anything, so it’s quite easy to decide what to do. I’ve never felt any pressure to do anything. Even when I was shooting it, I never felt any pressure about the box office – it’s only when I came to promote it that people ask me about this stuff. It’s not a Twilight movie; it’s an original screenplay and doesn’t fit into any genre. It’s not a feelgood movie…they don’t make movies like this any more…that’s how I kind of choose stuff. That’s the criteria.
Emile da Ravin on the appeal of Remember Me:
To me it didn’t really read technically like a script. It was like somebody had written you a letter…it was so honest and organic.
Emile De Ravin and Robert Pattinson on their New York accents:
De Ravin: I love accents and I use them quite a lot working in States, but it really adds another layer to the character for me. It was interesting with Ali (Ravin’s character) because she grew up in Queens, New York and originally I was going to do that. But talking to a dialect coach and going up there and observing I noticed the younger generation didn’t have a strong accent at all.
Pattinson: It just sort of came out of the script and the dialogue. It was pretty much the same voice. Sometimes when you read the script it just happens. I wasn’t even conscious of doing a New York accent or what borough or anything (laughs). I’ve spent a bit of time in New York and tried to pick up on how people speak. I don’t even know where my accent is now. I wouldn’t even say it’s specifically a London accent.
Emile De Ravin on Lost and its legacy:
Yeah it has been part of my life and it’s been a great ride. It’s kind of bittersweet that it’s ending, but happy they announced an end date three years ago and that it’s ending on a high note. I’m trying to be positive about the future (laughs).
Robert Pattinson on his real-life heroes:
My parents are great parents and they brought me up well, I think. I don’t know…I think that’s about all the heroes I’ve had.
Pattinson on the importance of fans and expectations for Remember Me:
I think, um, I always felt the most important thing you could do was films like this and quite difficult to generically advertise and get out to people. Something like Twilight or Lost…it gives it publicity immediately…if people go and see it, then once you’ve got them into the cinema, it’s almost inevitable that they’ll get drawn into it. I don’t know…obviously you hope people like things, but if you start to do things to please a certain audience then you’re going in the wrong direction. You can never please everybody…you don’t even know the people you’re trying to please. Especially when you’re trying to please huge swathes of people.
Emile De Ravin on fans:
Every fan of Twilight or Lost isn’t going to like everything you do. For me, it’s about challenging myself and not pigeon-holing myself into that one category of actor.
Robert Pattinson on why he’s attracted to brooding characters and plans for more light roles:
I did do more light stuff before Twilight came along. I don’t know, it just so happened that Twilight became this archetypal brooding person. I never thought Tyler (Remember Me) was that brooding. It’s not brood, brood, brood. I’d never even heard the word before! I like to play broken, troubled characters because it’s so interesting and I’m not particularly broken or troubled myself. I’m doing something now, which is dark, but the character since.
Robert Pattinson on preparing for fight scenes and real life scuffles:
I haven’t been in a fight for a very long time! I’d be too scared now (laughs). I think people who get into a fight and kill me now just for sake of it (laughs). I liked a lot of Tyler’s rebelliousness and audaciousness…it’s like a fantasy version of myself! Not really (laughs).
Robert Pattinson on his favourite type of biscuit:
You know in America when you get chicken and biscuits? It’s just really funny…whenever I’m in America and drive past restaurants and see chicken and biscuits and I’m like “why?” Then I had one and it was very nice…so I’ve changed my mind on what can be constituted as a biscuit. And I do like a Hobnob.
photographs taken by Martyn Conterio