Although the Twilight movies, that made him into a superstar, ended a while ago, the Londoner, Robert Pattinson is still one of the hottest British exports in Hollywood. In a smart move he, who played the vampire Edward, also did more sophisticated movies like Remember Me or Water For Elephants. Now in Anton Corbijn's LIFE he plays one of the lead roles. The movie tells the story of the relationship between James Dean and Dennis Stock. At the end of those intense days were the legendary LIFE pictures that contributed to James Dean's status of an icon. In the interview Robert Pattinson reflects on photographers and how he deals with the hype around him, with a strong cup of coffee filled with huge amounts of honey...
A strange mix you are drinking there....
I really like it! The spoon has to stand upright in the cup, then it's just right. Until earlier I thought drinking coffee with honey is healthier and then someone told me that honey is as harmful as white sugar and you also kill bees with it. Now I have a guilty conscience. Cheers!
You are often photographed by other people in your private life. Did you switch sides for your role in LIFE?
Dennis Stock hated being called a paparazzi. For him what he did was art and he worked very hard for it to be seen as art. For me he was a man that wanted to break through with his art and that art was photography. It was only during the shoot that I realized this was a movie about a photographer for Anton Corbijn, because he is a photographer himself.
Today it would be impossible to just walk up to a movie star like Stock did and ask him if he wants to be photographed...
Nobody asks you anymore, people just pull out their phones. In all seriousness though: back then you had to be a total pro in order to get good pictures and then you had to work to get them printed and distributed. The general atmosphere was very different back then: the people worshiped film stars and wanted to celebrate them. They loved looking at nice pictures in magazines. Today there is such an over-saturation of pictures and because of that the pictures have to become more and more extreme in order for people to look at them. A beautiful picture of a celebrity doesn't do it anymore, one has at least look drunk in it.
How do you deal with that?
It's still stressful for me, but it also depends on the overall mood. If you are in a good mood you don't really mind, but if you are in a bad mood it affects you more than it should. You run the risk of circling around yourself. You start to think, "How will I look in the next picture?", even when no one is taking a picture. It drives you crazy sometimes. Fortunately it has gotten a lot calmer for me.
That might be because of your beard...
Definitely (laughs) as a disguise it works well. I sat next to a hockey team on a flight, the beard didn't work so well then...
In the movie the Warner Studios try to create a certain image for James Dean. How about you?
It's still like that with the big movies.That's why I'm doing smaller productions, because it's a lot less pressure on the director and everyone who works on the movie. Everybody can be themselves and don't have to change. The hierarchy is rather straight and you can be sure that the final movie is the exact vision of the director.
Do you need to work or do you have enough money to retire?
Definitely not enough. But you don't become an actor to get rich.
Hmmm I'm not so sure about that myself (laughs). During the Twilight movies I was doing other movies in between, because every time a new Twilight movie came out, it was like someone pushed the reset button. If you get famous as quickly as I did, your personal growth stops suddenly.I stopped growing at 22 back then and I was in shock for four years. It's different now. My personal and professional development path is slowly emerging. That makes me happy.
Would you wish your career start on younger colleagues?
Yes of course, it was amazing, but a little demanding psychologically. It only becomes clear much later though.My advice would probably be: take good care of your mental health.