What was it about Robert Pattinson that made you think he was the right guy for the lead?
He’s the right age. He looks right. He looks good in a suit. He looks like he could be a young, tough, billionaire. And I’ve actually thought he was quite a good actor who was very underrated in a similar way to Keira Knightley, I think, when I was thinking of her for Dangerous Method. Both of them have had great financial success and are stars based on franchises, but of course to do that you have to have a kind of screen charisma, you have to have a presence, which you can’t buy or create; you either have it or you don’t. That doesn’t mean you’re necessarily a good actor, though. But you have at least that. I looked at all the stuff that he’s done, and I thought he’s a really good actor. And then I spoke to him, and thought not only that, but he’s a really smart actor. And he’s funny, and he’s very sweet. That’s when I tried to convince him to do the movie, which he was a little afraid of, just because I think he doesn’t know how good he is, basically. And I think now that he’s done the movie, he’s starting to understand how good he is. Because he’s terrific.
And was he a fan of your work?
He knew my work, yeah. What’s interesting, too, about Rob is that he’s very well educated in terms of movies and movie history and foreign films. On the set, he and Juliette Binoche were talking about the most obscure French films and stuff like that together. He really knows his stuff. And yet, as I say, he’s a completely down-to-earth, sweet guy. Lovely to work with. And very funny.
Are you going to go see Breaking Dawn?
I think I’ll wait for the screener.
You’re not going to go with the screaming fans?
Well, I don’t feel the need to line up, let’s put it that way. And I’m sure there’s going to be big lines for it. But, you know, basically I know what Rob can do having worked with him. I don’t have to see Twilight now. I certainly looked at the first two, though, when I was thinking about him.
Oh yeah, sure. And I watched Remember Me, and I watched Little Ashes. Which is maybe a movie you don’t know, but he plays a young Salvador Dalí in that movie with a Spanish accent. And I thought that was pretty interesting, very daring of him to do that, and it indicated to me that he was an interesting, serious actor.
And you were impressed with the work in the first two Twilights?
I was impressed with his screen presence and a lot of his stillness, and a lot of other things. But the other movies showed me he had range. He had the range that I wanted.
Read his full interview at New York Magazine