ELLE: How great a novel is Bel Ami?
ROBERT PATTINSON: Amazing. One of my favorites. The script was really good too; Duroy has kind of changed a little bit.
He’s so cynical in the book, but now he’s so convinced that he knows everything and that he’s been wronged, that he ends up being very earnest. He realizes that the whole world he lives in is based on a lie; it angers him so much that he basically wants to burn the whole thing down…and in trying to enjoy everything, he becomes what he hates most: a pompous little shit.
ELLE: Was it fun playing a ladies’ man instead of a celibate?
RP: Completely. I thought it was funny as well—Twilight having quite a bit of a female audience—to play a guy who basically screws women out of money. I like the fact that you never hear of a movie where the bad guy stabs every single person in the back and then wins.
ELLE: So you relished playing a sleazy journalist?
RP: I like the section where he gets a job as a gossip writer and in a completely banal way just makes stuff up—uses the same story and changes the names. I think that still is very, very true.
ELLE: It was once reported that you were pregnant.
RP: Yeah, a couple years ago. That was true, though.
ELLE: Any other odd encounters with the media recently?
RP: A bunch of paparazzi were following me, and I thought the best way to deal with it was to stop my car in the middle of the street and say, “I’m not leaving, and I’m not going to speak to you anymore.” They got all pissed off because they can’t just keep taking the same picture. We were in Venice by the boardwalk, and they kept trying to get all these drug dealers to come up to the car. I was just like, Oh my God, this is insane.
ELLE: Have you ever fantasized about doing something to destroy the “Twilight image” of you?
RP: You know, when the whole thing dries up and there’s hardly any paparazzi around—I don’t know, in 15 years or something—I like the idea of just one paparazzo coming out and trying to get a picture, and I just beat the shit out of him. I mean—out of nowhere—when my picture’s not even worth…and I’ve spent all my money, so you can’t sue me!
ELLE: Is your idea of hell to end up at age 45 posing with Twilighters at a comic book convention?
RP: I mean, that would be totally fine—if I didn’t have any responsibilities, if it didn’t affect my career anymore. I did a couple of those after Harry Potter, when I was totally unemployed. You can have so much fun. There are so many weirdos there.
ELLE: Have you had many near-death experiences?
RP: Yes, loads. I am the worst driver in the world. Every time I get in a car, I call up my parents and say goodbye.
ELLE: What percentage of evil do you think you are?
RP: I mean, I used to think it was more—around 40. I think I was overestimating. I think it’s more like 3, which is very disappointing.
ELLE: Here’s a line from Maupassant: “The essence of life is the smile of round female bottoms, under the shadow of cosmic boredom.” Any thoughts?
RP: That is an absolutely true quote. Round female bottoms are very much a miracle.
ELLE: What would have to happen to make tonight unforgettable? Anything you want.
RP: I just got a little dog, so I’m having a very girly night here with my pup, a rescue mutt. It’s going to sound like I’m making this up.
ELLE: What women did you daydream about as a teen?
RP: I was always obsessed with Kate Moss. On my bedroom wall I had a poster of Linda Blair and Kate Moss. I always liked Jane Fonda. Who else? Ellen Burstyn.
ELLE: Are you ever embarrassed these days?
RP: I guess if you’re constantly in public, you’re not embarrassed about anything. But dancing is my Achilles’ heel—I don’t even try. It’s like, “Come on, dance!” “No, I’m not getting up!” I can freestyle by myself with no one watching. I’m a great dancer then.
ELLE: Director Chris Weitz (The Twilight Saga: New Moon) once described you as “bookish” and a “weirdo…in the best sense.”
RP: I guess I used to be weirder. When you’re confronted with yourself too much, you start to think, Jesus Christ, you’re so fucking boring. And the more you think you’re boring, the more you become boring. I talk about myself too much now.
ELLE: Have you seen the documentary Robsessed?
RP: I’ve seen bits, because someone said, “All your friends are being interviewed in it and talking about you,” and I was like, “What the fuck?” So I watched it. I love these people pretending to be my friends and pretending to have met me, having insider knowledge—and actually some kind-of-famous people who’ve never met me, they just destroy their credibility in one swoop. The one frightening thing is they’ve got it on iTunes, and I looked at all the comments and almost every single comment was, “Who is this idiot making a documentary about himself? Who does he think he is?”
ELLE: What are some descriptions of you that you’ve had enough of?
RP: I never got the “brooding” thing. I’ve had about enough of that.
ELLE: What would you like to replace it with?
RP: Brooded. “Rob Pattinson looking brooded.” Brooded: It’s, like, after you’ve finished brooding.