Robert Pattinson is a changed man. Many have noticed it, some have commented on it, and just about everyone has speculated about it. Now, it seems, Pattinson is ready to talk about the reasons why – and it’s a helluva read.
A new Cannes special interview with French magazine Premiere, reveals an actor not all dazed and confused, rather one recently emerged on the other side of a steep learning curve. Considering the rollercoaster ride of the last 4-plus years, it would be surprising if Pattinson hadn’t changed.
As he moves closer to his final bow in the Twilight Saga (filming may have finished but the promo is still to come), the end is in sight not only for Edward Cullen, but also for one era of Pattinson’s acting career.
In light of recently announced roles in The Rover and Mission: Blacklist, it’s clear this soon-to-be-26 year-old Brit is making careful and considered choices. New frontiers beckon – literally – and Pattinson is approaching them with a new attitude.
Even before reading the interview, one gets a sense of this ‘attitude upgrade’ from the photo shoot. Shot in 13 hours, a few days before director Bill Condon’s recall of some of the cast to Vancouver, the idea to echo past Cronenberg films was a collaborative one between Premiere and Pattinson.
The result? About as far as one can get from ‘R-Pattz-in-yet-another-beautiful-spread’. And that, of course, was precisely the point. Dead Ringers, Scanners, Videodrome, eXistenZ and Crash, are all homaged in the shoot. Some may be put off by the images, others intrigued. But actually, it doesn’t really matter.
Following a path of his own choosing means Pattinson is just not interested in being treated like a walking, talking mannequin anymore. Years of being criticized as an actor, largely because of his role as Edward Cullen – a role which, if one actually read the books, it’s clear Pattinson played exactly as Stephenie Meyer wrote it – have undoubtedly left their mark on Pattinson’s psyche.
But, to his credit, Pattinson seems determined to make sure it’s not an indelible one. Ahead of Cosmopolis’s May 25 premiere at Cannes, the actor opened up about dealing with self-doubt, working with David Cronenberg, critics – and how fame changes everything.
Previously seen by many as incomprehensible casting, Pattinson’s ability to interpret Eric Packer, the billionaire, financial wunderkind, who, in 24 hours, descends into the badlands of an imploding Manhattan – in many ways – makes perfect sense when one considers Packer’s journey in Cosmopolis.
Just as Packer faces the collapse of his empire and “credible threats” from adversaries, the essence of the various crises he confronts could be seen as mirrors of those experienced by Pattinson in the tidal wake of his enormous post-Twilight fame. That probably sounds ridiculous to those who think money or being thought of as a ‘big deal’ is the endgame of everything.
Yet the reality of fame’s paradoxically empowering and also de-powering effect is nevertheless a truism. Something Pamela Stephenson – comedienne turned clinical psychologist – addressed in ‘The Fame Report’, a television program that recently aired in the UK. Stephenson described fame as “essentially a trauma, one that causes injury to the psyche both when it arrives, and when it leaves.” Strong words, but perhaps ones Pattinson would agree with.
“Celebrity,” says Pattinson, “is one of the [few] things that [you] can access without having any qualifications. And when you dare to say something negative about fame in the media, you can be sure you’re going to get a lot of crap. People don’t want to hear about that at all. It’s not jealousy, it’s just that they don’t want you to shatter their dreams.” The actor adds, “The paradox is that they want to maintain it and shatter it at the same time by accumulating as many things as possible about your private life.”
It’s a insightful point. Take a gander through the pile-up of pap shots, fabricated stories, or ‘creatively embellished’ ones based on out-of-context quotes or conveniently anonymous ‘sources’ that currently litter too many gossip sites to count, and one gets an idea of what Pattinson’s life is like.
Asked about the critical backlash that came his way after the huge success of the first Twilight movie and subsequent installments, Pattinson says, “When you suddenly become known, you have no control over what people think of you anyway. You need to learn how to fight the storm, especially when you understand that you’re just a pawn within an enormous machine.”