New HQ pictures of Rob, David Cronenberg and cast at the NYC premiere. Click for bigger.
Archive for August 14, 2012
Robert Pattinson is attached to play Lawrence of Arabia in Queen of the Desert, Werner Herzog’s biopic of Gertrude Bell.
Naomi Watts is starring as Bell described as the female Lawrence of Arabia for the impact the English woman had in the Middle East and her work in establishing what would become the modern framework for Jordan and Iraq. She was an explorer, writer, archeologist and political attache and during World War I, worked for British Intelligence.
Pattinson will play T.E. Lawrence, the archeologist-turned-British Army officer who played key roles in Middle Eastern revolutions in the same time period and became close friends with Bell. Peter O’Toole portrayed the explorer in the 1962 classic.
Herzog wrote the screenplay. Nick Raslan is producing with Cassian Elwes.
A fall shoot in Jordan and England is being eyed.
The move keeps Pattinson firmly in the world of independent film. One of the world’s most recognizable stars, the actor is this week promoting Cosmopolis, his drama directed by David Cronenberg. He is set to star with Guy Pearce in the post-apocalyptic indie The Rover as well as Mission: Blacklist, an indie thriller about Saddam Hussein’s capture.
Most movie junket interviews do not have hordes of paparazzi and two burly security guards standing outside them. Then again, most junket interviews do not feature a subject who is currently in the midst of a tabloid scandal. Unfortunately, this is where Robert Pattinson finds himself right now, as he attempts to promote his new movie,”Cosmopolis.”
Thankfully, if anyone can handle the pressure, Pattinson can. Case in point: when I sat down with him and “Cosmopolis” director David Cronenberg, the 26-year-old “Twilight” star was relaxed, as he discussed his new film and its decidedly more adult tone. The movie, based on the Don DeLillo book of the same name, follows Eric (Pattinson), a billionaire asset manager who takes a ride across town in a limousine to get a haircut. Along the way, he deals with financial loss, random sexual encounters and an angry anti-capitalist, Occupy-esque crowd.
Here, Pattinson and Cronenberg talk about the fandom surrounding “Cosmopolis,” the movie’s stance against one-percenters and what it’s like filming an extended prostate exam in front of the camera. We also discussed “Videodrome” at length.
Considering the anti-capitalist bent in this film, I thought it was ironic that you two were ringing the bell of the NYSE this morning.
David Cronenberg: It was a much more surreal experience than I thought it was going to be. I thought, Yeah, we’re visiting the scene of the crime now, and it’s going to be kind of cathartic to ring the alarm bell.
Robert Pattinson: I am curious to know if anyone had actually seen the movie or had any idea what it was about.
DC: Yeah! And [people there] seemed so excited about the movie and so excited about us and were very sweet and friendly. Yet it’s such a completely different world. It’s so familiar to them. I think they think everybody knows all about what they do. And I think the infamy and fame of stock traders and fraud only enhances the idea for them, that everybody knows what’s going on. But once you’re there you realize “Oh my god. I don’t understand anything at all.” But it was a very interesting, and I would say ironic [opportunity]. To use that moment, ringing the bell to open the Stock Exchange, for “Cosmopolis,” it was very strange. Were we selling out? I don’t know [laughs]. They gave us little medals!
Rob, you mentioned on “The Daily Show” about how “Cosmopolis” is almost physically impossible to explain to people. So how do you explain it to yourself? Can you even explain it?
RP: The last interview [I did], I just started projecting things. I literally just used that as therapy sessions [laughs]. I didn’t really know what I was talking about.
DC: I was in shock! I never heard him say those things.
RP: [Laughs] I just [realized] that the movie was about things that I’ve said it’s not about. So I have no idea what I am talking about. It’s funny, my initial thought about [the film] was that the script was funny. It’s kind of a sad comedy. The first time I watched the movie, I was shocked by how sad it was. And then you start promoting [the film], and everyone else is saying it’s about capitalism [and] has all these deeper meanings, so then you start following that road. Then I [say to myself] “Interesting, that’s interesting. I should talk about it in an interesting way.” I mean, I always knew it was interesting but you kind of…It’s like looking at a rock. It can be anything.
Eric Packer, the icily charismatic asset manager played by Robert Pattinson in Cosmopolis, does a great many interesting things in a single, fateful day. In his white stretch limousine, he attempts to traverse Manhattan in gridlock traffic amid violent Occupy-like protests, and all in search of a haircut. He forfeits hundreds of millions of dollars in a suicidal currency-speculation bid. He enjoys afternoon sex with a comely security specialist wearing a body-armor vest with a stun gun on hand. He also has sex with Juliette Binoche. He also endures a weirdly erotic prostate exam while staring into the eyes of a sweaty associate. He gets a pie in the face from a “pastry assassin” who travels with a crew of paparazzi. He is stalked by an actual would-be assassin as well.
So much to talk about! But overshadowing Pattinson’s press tour for Cosmopolis—directed by the great David Cronenberg and adapted from Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel—is the recent tabloid frenzy surrounding his breakup with Twilight costar Kristen Stewart. (The final film in the Twilight franchise is out in November.) TIME sat down with Cronenberg and Pattinson—fresh-faced, sweet, totally affable, smoking an electronic cigarette— in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood the day after the New York City premiere of Cosmopolis. We mostly stayed on topic, if occasionally tiptoeing awkwardly around the heartbroken vampire-elephant in the room.
TIME: Cosmopolis was published in the first year of the war in Iraq, and in a wave of novels that were all described as being “post–Sept. 11” in one way or other, but now the story maps on remarkably well to Occupy Wall Street and other protest movements around the world in 2011. David, at what point did you encounter the book, and when did you know it was a movie?
David Cronenberg: It was about three years ago, and the attraction wasn’t that the novel was prescient or because of its historical place. It was the characters, the dialogue, the intensity, the humor—it’s constantly funny. I wasn’t looking to make any kind of statement. Inevitably, though, if you’re making something with integrity, it will say something about the time it’s being made in. When the novel came out, people were saying, “All this demonstrating-on-Wall-Street stuff isn’t very convincing.” Now it’s obvious.
Robert, DeLillo’s dialogue is hyper-stylized, very formal, and often steeped in theory. How did you approach it?
Robert Pattinson: The first thing I connected to was the humor. Everything else seemed kind of arbitrary. I liked that it was absurd and unrelatable in a lot of ways. I thought that Eric doesn’t understand himself, so that was my angle—play the part as if you don’t understand the part. [Cronenberg laughs merrily] Try to remain lost. I noticed that every single time I came into a scene with an idea or an angle about how to do it, it would feel wrong, and David would know it was wrong. When I was kind of somewhere else, not thinking at all—that was when it felt right.
What’s relatable about Eric might be that his world is so mediated by technology—he experiences the world at a remove, through screens, and so he’s struggling to feel something, whether it’s through sex or shooting a gun or gambling away his fortune. Do you think people can relate to that kind of alienation and wanting something real?
DC: One of the investors in the movie is a genuine French billionaire named Edouard Carmignac. He’s known as the French Warren Buffett. He wanted to be involved with this movie because he said it was absolutely accurate. He knows many people who are like this character, who have created this strange bubble that they live in. Within that bubble, they’re very alive and in control, and yet they’re completely disconnected from normal humanity, normal relationships. So Eric Packer says things to his wife like, “This is how people talk, right?” He’s trying it out, because he really doesn’t know. He’s dealing with billions of dollars, but he’s never actually touching real money and he doesn’t know how to actually pay for things. Of course, Carmignac doesn’t think of himself as that person, but he recognizes it completely. So I take him at his word that it’s not such a stretch. People create a limo for themselves, a little spaceship, a little bell jar in which they insulate themselves from things that hurt.
RP: I think Eric is confused between genuine power and ego. He’s mixing the two up. I think a lot of people in that job find that empathy is a weakness, so he realizes that it’s a strength. I’ve read things that describe Eric as a monster, but I always thought the story was a hopeful progression. His biggest problem is that he’s totally self-obsessed. But he’s taking baby steps toward coming to terms with it. He’s had an extended adolescence in a lot of ways, and he’s really smart—he’s a savant. Some people are so entrenched in what they think they are, and he realizes that the only shock that can snap him out of himself is that someone is going to kill him.
Here are photos of Robert Pattinson leaving NYSE now in HQ
Just days before “Cosmopolis” opens in limited release, star Robert Pattinson has joined the cast of Werner Herzog’s indie “Queen of the Desert,” which will star Naomi Watts as English writer Gertrude Bell.
Pic will chronicle Bell’s life as a writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer and political attache for the British Empire. One of the first women to graduate from Oxford at the turn of the 20th century, she traveled through the Middle East, defining the borders of Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Pattinson is attached to play T.E. Lawrence, a British Army officer whose writing earned him international fame as Lawrence of Arabia, on whom David Lean’s classic 1962 epic is based. Lawrence was a good friend to Bell over the years, as the duo helped establish the Hashemite dynasties in Jordan and Iraq.
Cassian Elwes and Nick Raslan (Herzog’s “Rescue Dawn”) are producing the pic, which is aiming to start production in late fall.
Outside of the “Twilight” franchise that catapulted him to fame, Pattinson has avoided blockbusters to work on challenging indie projects with acclaimed directors. After wrapping Francis Lawrence’s adaptation of “Water for Elephants” and the lusty period pic “Bel Ami,” Pattinson chose to work with David Cronenberg on “Cosmopolis,” which opens Friday. Thesp is set to star opposite Guy Pearce in David Michod’s Aussie drama “The Rover,” as well as the indie thriller “Mission: Blacklist,” which chronicles the hunt for Saddam Hussein.
Pattinson is repped by WME, 3 Arts Entertainment, Curtis Brown Group and attorney Robert Offer.
*VIDEO* Preview of Robert Pattinson and David Cronenberg’s Interview with Showbiz – NYC Press Junket
*VIDEO* New Robert Pattinson and David Cronenberg interview with Movie Bytes – NYC Cosmopolis Premiere
Here are some pics of Robert Pattinson leaving the NYSE and heading to the Cosmopolis press junket in NYC.
From ET: ‘Cosmopolis Stars Praise Robert Pattinson’
Robert Pattinson was clearly the star of last night’s Cosmopolis premiere in New York City, where he made one of his first scheduled public appearances.
Last night was all about the highly anticipated David Cronenberg film adapted from a Don DeLillo novel, and Pattinson shared what it was like working with the highly respected director.
“It’s funny, everyone asks, ‘Oh, like Cronenberg, he must be so strange,’ [but] he’s just the sweetest, most patient person. He’s kind of the main reason I wanted to do the movie in the first place,” he told ET.
Cronenberg had high praise for Pattinson as well.
“Well, he’s terrific,” he said. “I think because of Twilight‘s success, people haven’t been taking him too seriously as an actor, but you look at his other movies and he’s really, really good. And I think in this movie, it’s obvious that he’s actually sensationally good.”
“He was great,” Pattinson’s costar Paul Giamatti added. “I mean, when I showed up to do it, he had already been working on it and he was so ready, and so into his character it actually calmed me and helped me, because I just got thrown into the middle of it. He was huge. Thank God he was there, because he was great … and so good.”
Check out the video to hear how his costar Emily Hampshire felt about giving him a prostate exam during their scenes together, and Sarah Gadon on why “there are not a lot of 25-year-olds” like Pattinson.
Cosmopolis opens this Friday, August 17.