In New Moon, the second in the Twilight Saga, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), the vampire loved by Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) leaves for South America, making pundits wonder how the franchise will do without him – I can tell them, the opening weekend in pre-booked tickets has just made history.
The sequel to Twilight spotlights Bella’s growing relationship with werewolf, Jacob (Taylor Lautner), a storyline that comes to a head in the third movie Eclipse, as Robert Pattinson reveals in this second part of his interview.
In a fight between Edward and Jacob, who wins and the same with you and Taylor?
(He laughs) I don’t know. I did hear the other day that Taylor had agreed to an interview where the interviewer was going to fight him. I don’t think that I’d ever agree to that and also looking at Taylor’s martial arts videos from when he was like nine I really wouldn’t want to do anything.
Maybe if I had some kind of weapon. Edward and Jacob? I don’t know. I think it’s actually a fact that Edward would win, I think, if I’ve read the books correctly.
So I guess I can hold onto that for my ego.
This movie has made you a bankable leading man. How does that change things for you and where do you want to be five years from now?
I’ve only done one movie outside of the series called Remember Me, which is going to be out sometime next year. But even that I did with the same studio. I guess I’m still a little bit blind as to what my actual economic viability is outside of the series.
Before Twilight, I did any movie that I got and you try to make the best of it afterwards. Now you’re expected to come into the movie and provide not only economic viability but also a performance as well because people are like, “You can’t just mess around. We’re employing you to be a star AND an actor.” So it’s difficult and it’s scary.
What personality traits do you share with Edward?
I guess stubbornness in some ways about some things. He’s pretty self-righteous. (He laughs) I guess I get quite obsessive about things and possessive as well.
I have very, very specific ideas about how I want to do my work and how I want to be perceived to the point of ridiculousness sometimes. I don’t listen to anyone else. That’s why I don’t have a publicist or anything. I can’t stand it if someone’s trying to tell me to do something, which might be a mistake sometimes.
I like being meticulous and it’s quite difficult as an actor to have that much control. That’s the good thing about the Twilight series, because in a lot of ways when you agree to the job it gives you a lot more control over the little things, which I want to have.
I’m like a control freak about it.
Do you appreciate Edward more with each movie and what are your favorite parts about him?
It’s funny about New Moon. When I read New Moon it gave me ideas about how to play the first one, and it’s the one that I connected to the most and the one that humanized Edward for me the most for me as well.
In the first one he remains from beginning to end an idealistic character, but in the second one he makes a mistake that’s acknowledged by everybody, including himself. Also he’s totally undermined by more powerful creatures and he’s undermined emotionally by people as well. I think that’s what humanized it.
Since I’ve read that book I’ve always liked him as a character. I try to play that same feeling throughout the first one and after the third one, as well, trying to get some kind of element of an almost all-powerful person, the kind of hero of a story who just refuses to accept that he’s the hero. I think there’s something admirable there.
You seen to have gotten the brunt of the crazy fan experience. Has there been anything that’s cracked you up during all of this?
There has been so many things. I have less direct interaction with people recently, because there’s way more security on the sets and stuff, but I always find it funny when older people come up.
There was a woman who came up to me the other day who must’ve been 90-years-old, and they say exactly the same things as 12-year-old girls [laughs].
That is kind of bizarre.
When you’re shooting the romantic scenes what’s going on in your head?
What was going through my head, it’s weird, I keep being told by people that I need to pump up all the stuff about the action for the guys to go and see it. It’s ridiculous. It’s like saying guys can’t appreciate romance. I’ve watched Titanic and I didn’t think, ‘Oh, this is a girl’s film.’
I’ve never played the Twilight series as if I’m playing a series of girl’s films, or doing something just for girls. I like doing the romantic scenes. I felt like the storyline in New Moon is very heartbreaking and true.
I didn’t think that I was doing something just for the sake of romance. In a lot of ways it’s a really sad story.
Can you talk about the growing romantic triangle in the series and also what was it like watching Taylor transform himself?
I didn’t see Taylor until just a little before we started shooting. So when he came back I had the same reaction as everyone else, like, ‘Jesus. Now I have to go to the gym.’
It was strange. New Moon was weird because I hardly did any scenes with Taylor. We did just the scenes at the beginning and the scenes at the end and that’s it. He had his entire storyline developed without me being around, which is interesting because I had no idea where his performance was going and so it wasn’t really a competition or anything. It was all sort of independent.
Whereas in Eclipse we’re doing scenes together all the time with Bella and so it really shows the dynamic in that one.