Saturday, April 10, 2010

NEW Interview: Robert Pattinson Talks about Bel Ami With Népszava Online



Note from the translator:

The inter­view is prob­a­bly real, the inter­viewer is a famous hun­gar­ian reporter liv­ing in the US, same woman who did that inter­view with him posted below. I think the end of this inter­view is prob­a­bly from that meet­ing ( the CD thing).

Hun­dreds of twenty-somethings are lurk­ing around the Opera, on the Pol­lack Mihály Square and around the Amer­i­can Embassy, hop­ing they can get a smile, a pic­ture, an auto­graph and a bit more in Hun­gar­ian than „köszönöm, hogy csend­ben vagy­tok” (Thanks, for being quiet.) The messy-haired, shy, tight-lipped lad, who was sleep­ing at his agent’s two years ago, was happy if they let him on screen, but never wanted the hys­te­ria that sur­rounds him now.

Robert Pat­tin­son (for those liv­ing under a rock: Twi­light, New Moon) is con­quer­ing Uma Thur­man, Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci on the streets of Budapest, used for scenes of Paris, in the film adap­ta­tion of Maupassant’s novel, Bel Ami. Judg­ing by the pic­tures he looks just as good with a seri­ous face, wear­ing tail­coats and top hats as he is gig­gling, pulling his messy hair, wear­ing a mis­but­toned shirt and jeans that slipped to his hips – the way he looked dur­ing our meet­ing in New York, a few days before he left for Budapest.

All my col­leagues in Budapest are wait­ing for you to give an inter­view, but I know you already and know that you won’t give inter­views while you are work­ing. What are your plans for your days off in Budapest?

I’ve never been to East­ern Europe before and I have always wanted to go. You can imag­ine how curi­ous I am. I’ve heard from my friends that Budapest is a beau­ti­ful city. Peo­ple I know who’ve been to your coun­try, they all love it but sadly I won’t have much free time. And I won’t have much of a chance to be an anony­mous tourist.

The musi­cal scene in Hun­gary is bustling though and you like to make music.

The guys I grew up with all became musi­cians and they are really good, I usu­ally do some­thing with them.

What kind of instru­ments do you play?

I’m fight­ing with the vio­lin now, not with a teacher, only by myself, but not every­one around me is happy about it. And I’m com­pos­ing. It’s inter­est­ing; it all depends on the actual char­ac­ter I’m play­ing. The guy I play in my new movie, Remem­ber Me is a guy with deep feel­ing. When I was shoot­ing that movie, I com­posed lots of new songs. The guy in Bel Ami though is absolutely shal­low, who is not touched by any­thing in the world, espe­cially not by art and since I’m in his skin now, I have a total men­tal block.

Read the rest after the jump!

Do you have a band?

We had some­thing, but we fell apart. It’s really dif­fer­ent now that it’s not my main act any­more. It’s just a diver­sion from act­ing now. That sounds a lit­tle cheesy. Of course, if there’s a mic in a bar, you don’t have to ask me twice even today. I did that a few times in Los Ange­les, but some­one recorded it and put it on the inter­net and it scared me away. I don’t need that. I will wait until this crazi­ness around me dies down and then I will make music again.

As a part-time musi­cian, I guess you are inter­ested in the Hun­gar­ian musi­cal scene too.

What is that band in New York called? Gogol Bor­dello! Didn’t they do that doc­u­men­tary film about the east­ern Euro­pean gypsy musi­cians? I’ve been inter­ested in eth­nic folk­lore since my child­hood, so of course yes, I’d like to check out the Hun­gar­ian music too.

Ask the pro­duc­ers, maybe they can shut down a bar for you in Pest.

Nah, on one hand that wouldn’t be fair, on the other hand, that wouldn’t be like blend­ing into the clap­ping crowd and immerse myself into their music.

Let’s talk about Bel Ami then. Nicole Kid­man was sup­posed to play your lover originally.

I don’t know what hap­pened. She canceled…I didn’t get into it…Uma Thur­man took the role.

And why did you choose it? It’s a fact that you worked in clas­si­cal the­atre in Lon­don but we can only remem­ber you from the Harry Pot­ter movies and the Edward of the Twi­light Saga, which is light years away from Maupassant’s Bel Ami.

My agent sent me the script a year ago, and I read it not know­ing the novel, and to be hon­est I didn’t really know Mau­pas­sant either. I liked it instantly, because the script has some­thing spe­cial emo­tion­ally, that is really com­mon nowa­days. The world is full with men like Georges, the tail­coat and the top hat are just for­mal­i­ties. Every­one is envy and jeal­ous, noth­ing is enough for them, even if they reach their goals. Also, if I change from the three Twi­light movies, then this is the biggest jump, play­ing a guy who is rot­ten to the core, self­ish and raw, who is lead by his own feel­ings and steps over every­one with­out think­ing. I really felt the char­ac­ter, I saw him in my mind. And I liked that you can’t really see these epic, cos­tume movies any­more, so I grabbed the opportunity.

And what do you like in Twilight’s Edward?

I loved the sec­ond book much more than the first, that’s when I first con­nected with the char­ac­ter. You can be young or old, when you fall in love with some­one at first you start to idol­ize her, then you put her on a pedestal, then the other is a mir­ror. But after a while, you see your faults in this mir­ror and the more you see them, the less you can bear it and in the end you destroy the love, say­ing you don’t need this. This is real, I can tell you that. It’s strange that a cheesy book for girls like this brought me to fame, but it hap­pened and I won’t protest.

Speak­ing of love…

I was obsessed with a girl for 10 years, and we never talked a word. But I still have that diary I wrote back then, because if there’s a prob­lem in love, I just grab it and think about the per­son, if she is worth as much suf­fer­ing as the old one was? When I finally told her back then what I felt, her jaw dropped and told me I never even had a good word with her.

How old were you?


And noth­ing happened?

No, because she thought I was an idiot. But I became an actor because of her. She was the rea­son I signed for an ama­teur act­ing class.

You became a sex sym­bol since then, and it’s not easy to find your soul mate now, even if you believe in them.

I’d like to believe that but I would be in trou­ble if I found her so soon, because I’m not mature enough so I’d prob­a­bly screw up. And that other thing, being a sex sym­bol, no one should envy me, because 14 year old lit­tle girls admire me, it’s strange for me too. If I think about the fact that 2 years ago I couldn’t even get a date, and now every­one is obsessed with me…strange.

There’s a rumor that you got the role in Twi­light acci­den­tally, but I would like to hear the details from you.

I was liv­ing my life in Lon­don and I must con­fess I was fed up a bit with act­ing, so I made music instead. You can say that I wrote off act­ing in my head. But my Amer­i­can agent, who is a nice woman, didn’t leave me alone, told me that she hasn’t seen me in a year, I should get onto that plane and show up here. I did that, came to Los Ange­les, started to go to cast­ings, that’s how I got near Twi­light. The thought that it would be such a hit never crossed my mind. It seemed really small.

If you gave up act­ing so eas­ily, then why did you become an actor?

Acci­den­tally. It was never in my blood, I didn’t go to act­ing class in school. I fell into act­ing because that girl I was obsessed with was there and they let me be there around the stage. They were rehears­ing a musi­cal and one day I thought that it’d be great to play the lead. I never sang before an audi­ence but I went to the cast­ing and although I didn’t get the role, I debuted as a Cuban dancer. Then the play was done and the good actors went away, then Thorn­ton Wilder’s Our Town was cho­sen as the next play. And I was the only tall guy who seemed right for the role. After the pre­mier, an agent came up to me and signed me. That agent is the rea­son why I had a role in Van­ity Fair with Reese With­er­spoon, then I got into Harry Pot­ter. While I was doing these, I ran out of time to go to uni­ver­sity so I started call­ing myself an actor.

But you still haven’t moved to Hol­ly­wood, you still live in Lon­don, because they leave you alone there. Can you still go down for a beer?

It depends on the district. London is a big enough city with enough pubs where they don’t give a damn about who I am. You just have to find them. We went out recently with my friends and the wait­ress kept telling me that I looked like the guy from Twi­light, asked me if I wasn’t his brother. But she never thought that I’d go to a laid-back pub like that. If some­one rec­og­nizes me on the street, they usu­ally look away; they are too shy to come up to me. Less fame would have been enough for me but that’s how it is and I look at the pos­i­tives. Twi­light opened the door for me to make movies like Remem­ber Me and Bel Ami. I’m con­stantly work­ing and the price is the crazi­ness sur­rounds me every­where I got. But every actor wants to be on screen, and if they get roles that make their hearts beat faster then it’s really worth it.

Does the hys­te­ria around you have any effect on you?

Lon­don is so dif­fer­ent from Amer­ica. I can live a nor­mal life there and the fuss around me seems like a night­mare there. Some­times I think it was just a dream and then I should quickly let it go. I can just go from one movie to the other, as if noth­ing hap­pened. If I don’t care about it, then it’s sim­ply not there.

You said it’s bet­ter to let it go?

Yes, it’s bet­ter to for­get that I’m famous and act like I’m blind, I con­fess I’m still try­ing to fig­ure out what to do with this quick pop­u­lar­ity, because I’m scared that it will stop me from improv­ing. Not just as an actor but as a per­son too. But maybe I’m wrong.

I can hear the ques­tion marks in your voice. Or am I wrong?

You hear the uncer­tainty, which is dif­fer­ent from los­ing focus. Being uncer­tain is good, because you real­ize that you are not as sta­ble as you thought you were and you start try­ing to find things to hold on to. At least this is what I real­ized, as my own psy­chol­o­gist. Those peo­ple who sit in their offices have every­thing in their lives only for­get to actu­ally live. I rather vote for life and that means uncer­tainty at times.


Because every day has a lot more in it than what we real­ize. We don’t use our lives enough emo­tion­ally. We don’t go deep enough.

I get the impres­sion that they sent this fame thing to the wrong address.

Fame is a myth­i­cal thing, a strange value. You don’t need qual­i­fi­ca­tion, money, you can be born into it. Some peo­ple think that if you are famous, you have every­thing that’s impor­tant in life. That’s under­stand­able even if I don’t agree with it, because there is no other choice to break out. My gen­er­a­tion doesn’t want to hear that the only way to earn money is work­ing until you are 70, if you are lucky you don’t work for pen­nies, you can be a boss before retire­ment. My gen­er­a­tion is greedy, peo­ple want to be rich and famous at 20. Every­thing and now, that’s the key.

Not for you?

I don’t know. I would see it dif­fer­ently if I wasn’t famous. I never touched tabloids before and now…What they write about peo­ple, they totally destroy the per­for­mance of the actors. This whole celebrity cul­ture is dis­gust­ing. The more famous you are, the more tabloids write about you, the less peo­ple want to know about your movies, because what they see in the tabloids is more inter­est­ing than what they see on the screen. Actors lost that mys­tique. You can peek into their bed­rooms, you can ana­lyze their rela­tion­ships, you can make fun of their pain, so they are not inter­est­ing on the screen any­more if their lives are open books. I find it unbearable.

There’s this rumor about you that you and Kris­ten Stew­art will be engaged soon.

This engage­ment thing is total bull­shit, I don’t even know where it comes from. Kris­ten is my friend, I really like to work with her. She’s more mature than her age, a real pro­fes­sional, I couldn’t wish a bet­ter part­ner, because she makes my every move, every sen­tence authen­tic. A big fran­chise like Twi­light is a scary thing, because it put me on the map and I’ll have it for my whole life. So it’s impor­tant to get along with my part­ner, and Kris­ten is the per­fect part­ner. She sets the bar high, so I must deliver too.

But you didn’t answer my ques­tion, which means…

My only weapon for self-defense is to not care about the rumors. I con­cen­trate on my work and on the pos­i­tive sides of fame. You can’t even imag­ine how big it is that I don’t have to go to cast­ings any­more. They are the worst. Espe­cially when you don’t get the job in the end. Now I have lots of peo­ple around me, look­ing out for me, ask­ing me if the script is ok with me. Peo­ple say hi to me, smile at me on the street, come up to me to shake my hand. Lots of peo­ple stop me just to con­grat­u­late. That’s when I real­ize that there are so many good, nice, nor­mal peo­ple. And they are the majority.

You still have to walk around with body­guards. Does that bother you?

I only have the body­guards when I’m shoot­ing or when I have to go to some­where. As long as they don’t know where I live there’s no prob­lem. When there’s a crowd around me, that both­ers me. Because when I’m shoot­ing I wake up at 5am and by the time I get home I don’t have the energy for any­thing. I fall into the bed. I don’t really know nor­mal life nowa­days, but I can tell you which hotel has the nicer bathroom.

Sounds like you don’t have a life apart from acting.

There’s some­thing in that. I have a bor­ing life here and there, I read scripts, watch movies. And wait for the phone to ring. Once I say yes to some­thing I give 100%. And since I really don’t have much of a life apart from my job, I get so lost in my actual roles, that I for­get every­thing out­side of that. That’s how I cre­ate real char­ac­ters on the screen.

That sounded really dis­ci­plined com­ing from a rebel.

I know, peo­ple are com­par­ing me to James Dean, but don’t believe that. I was never a rebel. I don’t like when peo­ple tell me what to do, but I don’t rebel just to do so.

Not even against the sex sym­bol label?

When some­one is a man of few words like me, peo­ple eas­ily think that he’s sexy, because they think he has a secret.

And you/they don’t have one?

Oh, we/they do.

Maybe they can accept it more eas­ily when some­one breaks their heart. And not the other way around.

You can eas­ily break some­one else’s heart. In most cases peo­ple don’t even notice what they are doing.

And if some­one does it to you?

You mean how do I sur­vive? I try to act like as if noth­ing happened.

Do you have a rou­tine in that?

Oh sure. Hap­pens almost every day.

Then finally please let me say good­bye with a woman who has a heart-clenching voice, and who won’t break your heart. Maybe you’ll like her and meet her in Budapest. I brought to you the CD of Palya Bea.

Thanks. If you don’t come to Pest until then and I see her, I’ll give her your best regards.

–New York, Feb­ru­ary 2010



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