Anne Thompson: Why did you cast “Twilight” star Robert Pattinson as your ice-cold 28-year-old Master of the Universe?
David Cronenberg: Of course you begin with the basics. Is he the right age for the character? Does he feel convincing as a screen presence? Obviously you need someone with charisma to hold the audience for the entire movie. He’s in every scene without exception, that’s unusual. You want someone proven, who people want to watch, who will never be boring. I knew I would be crawling all over his face for the entire movie, so I wanted someone whose face is constantly changing, through all the angles. And he had to have chops for tricky dialogue. The art of casting is to intuit, to see from what he’s done before that he could do this.
Was there a particular performance that gave you confidence?
I saw him in “Little Ashes” as the young Salvador Dali. He does a Spanish accent, he was not afraid to play a character of ambiguous sexuality and eccentricity. That probably of all the things I saw made me think he was the right guy.
Did you cast Pattinson with a certain likeability factor in mind, so that audiences would like him in spite of the character he is playing? Feel some vulnerablity?
I really don’t care. I want the lead character in a movie to be interesting, fascinating and complex, but to be likeable to me is way down the list. It’s not on the list, because it is a simplistic thing for the lead character to must be likable. He has to be watchable, that’s the key, and fascinating, and likeable if it works for the project, fine, let him be likeable. If not I don’t worry about it.
There are actors who do not want to play unlikeable characters, afraid it will damage their credibility as stars or effect them personally. Actors who are more interested in being actors than stars, like Viggo Mortensen, don’t worry about being likeable or not on screen.
How did Pattinson surprise you?
He literally surprised me every day, as he read dialogue and interacted with the other actors. We were throwing different factors at him almost very day because of the stucture of the screenplay. He really has extended scenes. With one actor at the end, Paul Giamatti, he really let it fly, in that he didn’t cling to a preconceived idea of what he should be doing. He reacted spontaneously to other actors as they surprised him and he surprised them. He was terrific and not predictable and dead-on accurate.
How many takes do you do?
One or two. The whole last shot was a long take with Giamatti, three minutes in that last 22-minute scene.
Archive for August 17, 2012
From Rotten Tomatoes
Robert Pattinson. There were plenty of people who were a little surprised when you picked him for the role, but I have to say he gives a really sublime performance. You knew what you were doing, clearly — so what was it that drew you to Robert?
Cronenberg: Well, casting always starts in a very pragmatic way. It’s, “Is this guy the right age for the character?” “Does he have the right sort of physique, the right screen presence?” “Is he available, and if so, can you afford him? Does he want to do it?” You know, all of those things. But then you do your homework as a director, more specifically, and you watch stuff. I watched Little Ashes, in which Rob plays a young Salvador Dali; I watched Remember Me; I watched the firstTwilight movie. And I watched — interestingly enough, I suppose, because people wouldn’t expect it — but you watch interviews with the guy on YouTube, you know. I want to get an idea of his sense of humor, his sense of himself, the way he handles himself, his intelligence — all of those things you can’t really tell from watching an actor play a role in a movie. I suppose in the old days you meet the guy and hang out, and go to a bar or whatever — [laughs] — but these days nobody has time for that, or the money, and so you do it some other way. And once I’d done all that stuff, I thought, This is the guy I want. I thought, He’d be terrific and I actually think he’s a very underrated actor — and it would be my pleasure to prove that by casting him.
NEW YORK – Robert Pattinson was nearing the end of shooting the last “Twilight” film, concluding a chapter of his life that had picked him out of near obscurity and was preparing to spit him out … where exactly? “Twilight” had made him extravagantly famous, but his next steps were entirely uncertain.
“Out of the blue,” he says, came the script for “Cosmopolis” from David Cronenberg, the revered Canadian director of psychological thrillers (“Videodrome,” “Eastern Promises”) that often pursue the spirit through the body. Pattinson, having never met or spoken to Cronenberg, did a little research: He looked him up on Rotten Tomatoes “and it was like 98 percent approval,” he says.
“It was like: OK, that’s my next job,” says Pattinson.
Pattinson now has the unenviable task of releasing his most ambitious movie, his most adult role, into a media storm that instinct would suggest should be run from like a pack of werewolves.
The awkward circumstance, he says, is “dissociated” from the film, and he’s thus far declined to use the attention to make any kind of public response to the scandal. Rather, he’s sought to deflect it to “Cosmopolis,” a film that, in an earlier interview before it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, he said “changed the way I see myself.”
If Pattinson is understandably guarded about his private life, he’s refreshingly openhearted and humble about his anxieties as a young actor. At 26, Pattinson may be one of the most famous faces on the planet, but he’s still getting his bearings as an actor _ a profession, he says, he never pined for, fell into by chance and has always found uncomfortable. His unlikely trajectory began with “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and “Little Ashes,” in which he played Salvador Dali.
“Then I got `Twilight’ and it suddenly became a massively different world to navigate,” Pattinson said in a recent interview in New York. “Most people who get their big hit have figured out what their skills are, and I hadn’t, really.”
“Cosmopolis” is a radically different kind of film that will surely confuse not only the hordes of diehard “Twilight” fans who will line up on Friday to see it, but art house moviegoers, too. Pattinson himself has watched it four times to try to get his head around it.
The first movie adaptation of a Don DeLillo novel, “Cosmopolis” is about a sleek financier, Eric Parker (Pattinson), slowly making his way in the airless sanctuary of his white stretch limo across a traffic-jammed Manhattan with the simple goal of a haircut. But the journey, which includes visits with his new wife (Sarah Gadon), a prostitute (Juliette Binoche) and Occupy-like protesters (Mathieu Amalric), is a kind of willful unraveling for Parker, who dispassionately watches his fortune slide away on a bad bet on the Chinese yuan.
“He’s an egomaniac who wants to see some kind of spirituality in his egomania,” says Pattinson. “It’s kind of like how actors feel about themselves.”
Pattinson is in every scene of the film, which relies on his callow, hyper-literate performance to carry the movie through its limited setting and DeLillo’s heightened dialogue _ much of which Cronenberg transcribed verbatim from the novel. Though some reviews have found the film static and impenetrable (perhaps intended responses), most critics have praised Pattinson’s performance, with many citing it as proof that the heartthrob can indeed act.
The stylized language and atypical nature of the film made it a risky and intimidating choice for Pattinson.
“I couldn’t hear the voice of the character at all. There was nothing,” he says. “It was scary to say yes to something which you didn’t know what it was. I knew it was interesting, I knew there was something special but I had no idea how to do it or what I could add to it. But when you start saying no to Cronenberg because you don’t think it’s good enough, it’s a stupid decision to make.”
It’s clear that his “Twilight”-fueled celebrity weighs heavily on Pattinson, who says he knows people watch his films “through a cultural context.”
“Rob, he’s popular,” says Cronenberg with deadpan understatement.
“I couldn’t have cast Rob without `Twilight’ just as I couldn’t have cast Viggo (Mortensen) without `Lord of the Rings,’” says the director whose previous three films _ “A History of Violence,” “Eastern Promises,” “A Dangerous Method” _ starred Mortensen. “The fact that somebody who has clout is willing to do a movie that’s difficult is a gift to a director because you’re not only getting the right guy as an actor, but you’re getting financing interest and you get to make the movie. This is not an easy movie to get made.”
Pattinson seems energized by the freedom of choice in front of him following the final “Twilight” installment, which will be released in November. He’s lined up parts in gritty films far from blockbuster size: “Mission: Black List,” a military thriller, and “The Rover” by Australian director David Michod (“Animal Kingdom”), a role he says he fought for more than any before.
Embarking on “Cosmopolis” appears to have been a process of letting go for Pattinson _ of self-awareness, of worry, of fear. Asked if he now feels certain he’s an actor, he quickly replies, “No.”
“As soon as you start existing in a certain world, you feel like you have tremendous amount of baggage all the time,”he says. “You get stuck in this rut where you want people to think you’re something else, but you’re too scared to do what that is to actually be the other person.
“Then you get a gift like this movie where it’s way easier than I thought it was,” he says. “You just do it. It doesn’t really matter if you fail.”
Great interview. They talk about Cosmopolis, working with each other, David talks about the first time he met Rob, Rob’s preparation for the role and more
Eric Michael Packer
Denise Cronenberg talks about Robert Pattinson’s style in Cosmopolis and Off-Camera with Gilt.com
Was the suit Robert Pattinson wore in the film custom designed or can mere civilians get their hands on it, too?
The suit Eric wears in the film is by Gucci: the Signoria, two-button notch lapel, in black. It is definitely available to mere civilians.
It’s a great suit. When you picked it, how did you know this was the suit?
Clothes make the man. The suit, the white shirt and slim black tie, the shoes and belt (all by Gucci) helped Rob become Eric. Once Rob put the clothes on, I could feel the character, and looking at him completely dressed in the fitting, I knew I had made the right choice. And it doesn’t hurt that he wears suits beautifully.
Twenty-five years of dressing actors also helped in the decision. I actually knew it was the right suit just looking at it even before the fitting with Rob. The cut and fabric were beautiful, which is why I chose it.
Men’s style editors love to talk about wearing a suit three or four different ways; Rob’s teaching a master class on that in the film. How does each evolution (fully suited, sans tie, just the trousers and shirt) relate to Eric’s progression over the day?
After reading the script and talking to the director, it was clear that Eric wore the suit well pressed and impeccably styled in the beginning. But as his life started to unravel, his clothes would too.
I always leave room for the actor to decide just how far his shirt should be unbuttoned, or how he feels about a tie or no tie, a jacket or no jacket—whatever would help him play the scene. We (David, Rob, and I) decided Eric should never be too much of a mess.
We would have tried to take the wardrobe home after shooting wrapped. Does that ever happen?
Yes, people do take, or try to take, clothing home during and after a film. Rob did take one of his suits home (we had seven of them), but I asked him if he would like one. He has so many suits personally that he really doesn’t need any more.
You did one hell of a job dressing Rob for the film. What advice would you give him, if any, for dressing for the red carpet?
It’s not difficult to dress Rob and make him look terrific. He wears suits so well, and Gucci fits him so well. My advice to him is to keep doing exactly what he has been doing—wearing Gucci. You can’t go wrong.
And how about for daily life?
Rob’s off-camera look is very relaxed, and it’s his personal taste. There’s also an element of trying to hide, with something like a baseball cap, but really, it’s comfortable. That’s who he is.
Read the full interview at Gilt.com | Robert Pattinson’s Style, on sale now on Gilt MAN. | via
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From The Playlist:
To say that Robert Pattinson has been filling his post-”Twilight” calendar with ambitious films would be an understatement. This weekend brings his trippy David Cronenberg odyssey “Cosmopolis,” and over the past few weeks and months, the actor has signed on to a handful of interesting films, including “Mission: Blacklist” about the hunt for Saddam Hussein, Werner Herzog’s historical tale “Queen of the Desert” and “Animal Kingdom” director David Michôd’s “The Rover.” And it’s the latter about which the actor has shared some tantalizing details.
Catching up with Pattinson as he did press rounds for “Cosmopolis,” he filled us in on what we might expect from Michôd’s follow-up to his crime drama “Animal Kingdom.” Set to shoot next year, “The Rover” boasts some pretty big ideas behind its deceptively simple set up. “It’s a kind of a western,” Pattinson explained. “It’s very existential. It’s really interesting. I couldn’t really explain to you what it’s about but it’s sort of about how much pain can the world take and how much disgust and cruelty before love dies. I think that’s kind of what it’s about.” (Cronenberg, who was in the room, chimed in with: ” That sounds pretty heavy!”)
“Media culture is a monstrous thing,” Pattinson lamented Wednesday afternoon, jamming fries into his mouth between puffs on his electronic cigarette. “You can’t win. The annoying thing is that you can’t attack them, but you can’t defend yourself. The best thing you could possibly do is punch a paparazzi and give them their big payday.“
The 26-year-old actor has run a gantlet of publicity this week that was nominally about promoting his new film, “Cosmopolis,” which opens Friday.
Sitting alongside Pattinson for moral support at the Mandarin Oriental hotel on Columbus Circle was “Cosmopolis” director David Cronenberg. The Canadian filmmaker, whose challenging art house films almost never garner such wide attention, was there as a sort of buffer but also appeared to be quietly amused by the media circus. The actor’s manager would not allow Pattinson to sit alone for an interview with The Times, and even suggested that reporters not ask him about his personal life, or “Twilight.”