Robert Pattinson Talks to Movieline About Risk, Reward and Remember Me

Robert Pattinson probably didn’t want to spend his Saturday at a press junket any more than the journalists who greeted him there, but we’re all professionals here. Especially Pattinson, whose new film Remember Me features the young megastar in a searching departure from his Twilight turn as Edward Cullen. There’s still the young torment, the dilemma of first love (with a fellow NYU student played Emilie De Ravin) and, well, that awe-inspiring hair. But in determining what makes his character Tyler Hawkins tick, there’s also a somewhat shocking awareness of mortality beneath all that gorgeous sulking. Between his aloof father (Pierce Brosnan), his compassionate mother (Lena Olin), his confidante little sister (Ruby Jerins) and the ghost of his dead older brother, Tyler is always just on the verge of some discovery — and despite what Pattinson’s fans may crave, it’s not quite catharsis.

I’d love to be more specific, and I will be as Remember Me’s review embargo drops prior to its March 12 opening. Until then, Pattinson helped Movieline make at least a little sense of it all at last week’s press gathering in New York:

Speaking about your role in this film, your co-star Pierce Brosnan said, “[h]e’s courageous to find a piece like this, knowing that he has the Twilight franchise breathing down his throat, and you know it will be up to him to go out there and seek these films between these mega-movies he’s about to do.” How do you respond to that?
I don’t think it’s courageous. I think it’s more courageous to do something to try to compete with it. They’re so huge. Like, the idea of doing a
massive film, [for] which everybody says, “This is going to make tons of money,” and the whole point of it is to be huge or a summer blockbuster or something like that? The idea of doing something like that between the Twilight films is terrifying because yourself out way more on the line. I mean, I keep wanting to do ensemble pieces where all the other parts are great, and you can get really great actors in so you don’t have to bear the whole burden of the movie. If I could do supporting roles in things, then I’d love to do that. But it’s difficult to get supporting roles because it would be really weird most of the time. “Well, there’s the guy from Twilight playing the parking warden,” or something. But I would love to do that.

One of my maiden problems that I’ve been trying to learn about is how to pace a performance to drive the film forward instead of just concentrating on character. I mean, I just want to concentrate on character all the time, and I don’t really know how pacing works. Yet. So I try to choose little random projects where I can completely relate to the story — so I don’t have to take any particular risks for it.

Shooting in downtown Manhattan notoriously became a kind of circus atmosphere, to say the least. How did that that affect your psychology — and thus the kind of angst-y psychology of the character? That discomfort in your own skin?
There are some parts — like the part I’m playing now (in
Bel Ami) — where it would have really helped having loads of paparazzi up in your face all the time. He’s sort of such a self-contained, very, very confident man. But it was really annoying for Tyler, because there’s something about… He’s always looking for things. You wanted to be free to look around. He kept looking around, and if you looked up from the pavement you can hear all the shutters accelerate all of the sudden. So I’m looking down all the time. It’s always going to be difficult if you’re playing a normal guy and you walk around the corner and everyone’s taking pictures. Because you’re going into it with the mentality that it’s a struggle to not go into the scene with that mentality. But it got better throughout the shoot. As soon as you get used to it, it just becomes like any other job. It’s just part of the furniture.

Did you have a favorite scene, then?
On this? [Contemplating.] If I think of it afterward it’s probably not the one, but I love the scene where he goes into the school to confront [his sister]’s bullies. Mainly because it’s just a fantasy! Being the older brother, you always want to do stuff like that. It sounds like the most unprofound thing, but it did feel
really good doing it. But there were tons of things in this. I think the movie sort of works as… I don’t know if “cohesive” is the right word, but it’s all part of one big thing. It doesn’t really feel like set-piece scenes. It’s really weird, and I was really conscious of that when I was filming it. It seemed like everything was very connected. There are some movies you do where you say, “Oh, this scene was really good to do, and the other ones are just sort of, you know, fill-ins.” It seemed like everything came from the same place.

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