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There’s tension in the air. When Robert Pattinson enters the hotel room in Los Angeles, everyone is silent. Taller than I imagined and with grayish blue eyes more pervasive than I anticipated, he soon breaks the ice with a rather shy – but totally sexy – smile. And he excuses himself for a minute to check his dog in the next room. Hi? Pattinson comes back apologizing. “He’s just so young and isn’t used to my tight schedule yet,” he says, jokingly. “Now, yes, we can start.” The lucky puppy is Bear, a mutt, a mix of German shepherd and some(s) other(s) breed(s), he adopted in a public shelter in Los Angeles. It’s a low blow.
This Taurus guy, who’s about to turn 25 years old, seems to have matured since he started doing the vampire Edward Cullen, in Twilight. “While filming ‘Water for Elephants’ I felt confident. I’m no longer terrified with the possibility of making mistakes,” he says, referring to the film that hits theaters April 29, in which he plays a circus veterinarian and stars steamy scenes with Reese Witherspoon, 34. Moreover, in other movie, Bel Ami, release due to October, he is paired with Uma Thurman, 40. Acting with older women is different? “The age doesn’t matter, both in movies and in real life. I think.” Pattinson grew up in a house with three women (his mother and older sisters, Lizzie and Victoria), and his father. But he says he was never pampered and that he wasn’t successful with girls. Until he was 13 years old, he attended an all boys’ school. “My contact with girls came down to the friends of my sisters – and, obviously, they didn’t want a boy 12 year-old boy around”.
Sitting in front of me, he puts his feet over the coffee table and crosses his arms over his knees. Although he’s considered one of the most handsome, influential and well paid actors in the world, he does everything to look like a normal guy. “This sex symbol story is totally irrelevant. I don’t think that is an interesting aspect in an actor’s life and it certainly isn’t an enduring factor. You may be considered sexy for a year, maybe two – but it fades away, and only actors who actually have something the show will stick around,” he says. “Of course, looks can open doors. But it’s important to focus on getting interesting jobs and build a base.”
Pattinson gestures a lot while speaking and, as soon as he turns ideas into words, he opens his arms and leans against the couch, expanding his shoulders. Still, he can’t hide his reserved Englishman style. Maybe that’s why the informality of Brazilian people (mainly Brazilian girls) caught him by surprise. The actor went to Rio de Janeiro to shoot Breaking Dawn scenes. “We were shooting on the street and suddenly several girls who were extras came to talk to me, try to hold me… I continued working because I didn’t know if it was part of the scene or not. The crew began to laugh. Later, my security guard said he wouldn’t intervene because he ‘noticed I was enjoying it’ [laughs]. I’ve never seen anything like it. They’re a totally uninhibited and lovely people.” When I wonder if Kristen Stewart, Bella from Twilight, feels jealous, he frowns with a smile: “I think we should concentrate on the movie I’m here to promote” Still, he adds that the only downside of fame is having to hide. “Nothing stresses me. But when I began to notice that there’s always someone following me, with an unfriendly expression, I learned to protect myself.”
So much harassment makes no sense to him. “Deep down, it’s a matter of luck. You work in several movies and nothing. Suddenly, many people like one, and… boom! It turns your life upside down. But with recognition comes the need to prove that you deserve it, especially in my case, since I haven’t done so many movies to conquer this position.” To get there, he’s extremely focused on his career. “I want to prove that I can be an extraordinary actor.”