GIVEN Twilight’s phenomenal international success, it’s hard to imagine the next instalment of the vampire flicks could be a box office flop.
But Robert Pattinson isn’t taking anything for granted on the eve of the release of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
“To be honest, I’m more terrified that it’s going to come out and no one’s going to see it,” Pattinson said.
Speaking on the phone whilst driving on a Californian highway, Pattinson is refreshingly down to earth, far removed from the hype that surrounds his Hollywood hunk status. His American twang from Twilight is replaced by his polite and friendly British tones and he seems genuinely keen for a chat – despite his reputation for being as brooding as his Twilight persona, the mysterious Edward Cullen.
He sounds kind of flattered, although wary, when this Insider admits to being an avid Twilight fan.
“Have you ever done an interview with a journalist who was a crazed Twilight fan?” I blurted.
“I think I’ve had one,” he muses. “She was from Vietnam and she was having a full-on panic attack in the interview, which was quite funny.”
With two blockbuster films already on the 24-year-old’s resume, three more in the works and millions of adoring fans, Pattinson has Hollywood at his feet.
The first two instalments, Twilight and New Moon, have broken countless box-office records, grossing more than $60 million in Australia alone and $1.3 billion worldwide.
The success was initially based on the cult following of Stephanie Meyer’s novels, which centre around Pattinson’s character Edward, his mortal love interest Bella Swan (played by Kristen Stewart) and a werewolf named Jacob (played by Taylor Lautner), who is also vying for Bella’s love.
The latest instalment, directed by David Slade, is slightly darker than the first two with a larger cast which includes Australian Xavier Samuel, whose character Riley leads an army of newborn vampires on a killing spree in Seattle.
“There’s more action in it and I guess it’s dark and more violent, but I always thought the tone of New Moon was quite dark,” Pattinson says.
The actor’s relatively new-found fame has brought with it an unwanted spotlight on his private life, in particular his much talked about relationship with co-star Stewart.
“It is extremely difficult but we are together, yes,” he told a British tabloid earlier this year, giving the media the first real proof the pair are, in fact, an off-screen item.
The intensely private star refuses to give press any fodder about his relationship – not for any amount of cash the gossip magazines might throw the couple’s way.
“I don’t understand why some people (sell stories) because it only ends up in sadness for yourself. I try to avoid it,” he says. “It becomes about money, and as soon as you start selling your actual life then you’re going down a really bad road.
“As long as you keep your job and your life separate, you’re much happier, and it’s much easier to deal with things and it’s much easier to escape.”
Pattinson, whose unruly head of hair and piercing blue-grey eyes have secured him spots atop a string of “world’s sexiest” lists, can’t see what the fuss is about, bewildered by the attention on his looks.
“I remember when I had my hair cut and it was on CNN,” he said. “Have they got nothing better to talk about? It’s quite funny.”
Pattinson cut his locks for his latest movie, Water For Elephants, in which he plays a veterinary student working at a circus who falls for an equestrian rider, played by Reese Witherspoon.
“The whole mentality of the character is completely different to Edward and I haven’t really had an enormous amount of time to prepare for it,” he says.
It was filming this movie that prevented Pattinson from visiting Sydney with Lautner and Stewart earlier this month to promote the new Twilight movie.
“I haven’t ever been to Australia but a lot of my best friends from school have moved there, to Melbourne,” he says excitedly, using our chat as an opportunity to get in touch with a long-lost mate.
“If Charlie is reading this, tell him to call me,” he says. “We used to stay in contact via Facebook but I can’t really have Facebook any more because it kept getting hacked into so I haven’t talked to him for a while.
“Tell him to call my mum because he’s probably still got that number.”
As for what the future holds, there’s the strong possibility he won’t be in front of the lens forever.
“I really enjoy it (acting) but there are a lot of other things I want to do as well. I really want to produce a movie,” he admits.
As for whether he will miss playing Edward when the fourth and final Twilight film, Breaking Dawn, is completed, the actor’s feelings are mixed: “I don’t know. I did some shoots for Eclipse a few weeks ago and it did feel so familiar … I guess I’m going to miss it quite a bit when it’s finished.”
But there’s one element he won’t be sad to leave behind: “The contact lenses are the most annoying things to put on every morning.
“I bet you the next thing I do will be some prosthetic-heavy part, playing a cow or something.”
That’s still some way off though, with production on Breaking Dawn beginning later this year.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse opens on July 1
Note: His comment to the “Tabloid” was debunked earlier this year. Except for that part, the actual interview seems legit. I’m not sure about the credibility of the source, hopefully it’s real. Enough of fake interviews.