Back with a bang after three weeks away from the frenzy of recent events, Pattinson’s charm assault on precinct New York continued with a second high profile interview today — this time on Good Morning America.
Coming two days after his awkward-but-nicely-done appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the results were less hilarious, but, on the upside, America did learn more about Pattinson’s new film Cosmopolis, which is surely the point.
After two embarrassing attempts to tease unguarded gems from the young actor in front of him, interview grandmaster George Stephanopoulos didn’t succeed in getting the personal disclosure, aka ‘juice,’ he aimed for.
First, Pattinson may still be reeling from a horrendous, emotional blow, but he’s now three days in on an intensive week of press and promotion. Five years of Hollywood experience and a forced ‘gaming-up’ have kicked in.
Second, Stephanopoulos isn’t Jon Stewart. While Pattinson’s name was a massive part of why The Daily Show pulled in 1.8 million (at least) on Monday, Stewart’s ability to put his guest at relative ease through humor and — moreover — with genuine compassion is the skill of a master.
And so to the interview.
After minuscule small talk and a shares boost for Cinnamon Toast Crunch (Pattinson’s fave breakfast, apparently), Stephanopoulos’ approach to the elephant-in-the-room question was the equivalent of an ivory hunt. Using Pattinson’s fans as ‘the reason’ rather than the real one of voracious media interest Stephanopoulos asked:
“I know you know this, I gotta get the elephant in the room out of the way, everybody just wants to know how are you doing and what do you want your fans to know about what’s going on in your personal life?”
So far, so size 38 boots.
Not buying the bogusness of the question’s premise Pattinson replied,
“I think … you know, they [the fans] .. seem pretty excited about kind of whatever.”
The actor then said:
“I’d like my fans to know that cinnamon toast crunch only has 30 calories a bowl in it … [sighs] literally, pretty much everything that comes out of my mouth is irrelevant.“
Asked how he dealt with the craziness of both the present firestorm and his own celebrity, Pattinson sent a clear message to his host and future probers.
“It’s a different thing. You go into it to do movies,” the actor leveled. “I mean, I’ve never been interested in trying to sell my personal life and that’s really the only reason people bring it up … that’s the reason why you go on TV is to promote movies.”
Next came the question, “Is there any way to get used to all this?”
“No, I don’t think so … I think if you start getting used to it, it means you’re going crazy,” Pattinson said.
“But erm, it’s nice … it’s like being on the craziest theme park ride … it’s totally exciting, but eventually at some point you’ve got to have like a break.”
Then, the ever-present loaded query, “You seem to be doing ok?”
Pattinson: “Yeah, yeah.”
A playback of Paul Giamatti from GMA’s show on Monday broke the impasse. Finally, the conversation turned to why Pattinson was actually there. Asked what drew him to the role of Eric Packer – the billionaire Wall Street wunderkind at the center of an imploding Manhattan, a face-off with a potential assassin, and the existential themes of Cosmopolis – Pattinson said:
“Um, I’ve always found this connection with the idea of finding it difficult to live in the present. It’s funny, it exacerbates it being an actor cos you actually have to focus on it … trying to exist in a contemporary way, I always feel like I was kind of living in the future.”
“And as soon as I was reading that [the script] … that’s a lot of what Eric Packer’s problem is, he feels like he’s living in the future … he’s not really being able to totally feel … There’s a lot of similarities to an actor’s life in it, which is, it’s strange.”
Later asked about his day-old remarks in TIME Magazine:
[The world would be a much better place, I think, if all these bankers and billionaires were followed by paparazzi and studied as carefully. As soon as people look at something very closely, the whole thing just crumbles.]
“That was yesterday! … Yeah. No, I think it’s true … people don’t find the lives, the personal lives of people with, like, much, much, more power than any celebrity would have, they don’t find their personal lives interesting.”
“If you put the lives of people who control billions of dollars on the front pages of every single paper, I think the world would be a better place. It’s like …. spin culture … if you took away publicists and things and people spoke for themselves, then they have to be responsible for their words.”
It was an interesting interview. Not as funny as Monday’s ice-cream fest, but it did give viewers a brief window into who Pattinson is, what Cosmopolis is about (and for those with insight), how the very public exposure of what is likely to this young man a very personal betrayal — and its media-driven perpetuation — are shaping Pattinson’s own reflections on privacy, paparazzi, power, public opinion, and the escalating price of fame.
Watch Pattinson’s GMA interview, arrival and signing for fans and the U.S trailer for Cosmopolis here.
Cosmopolis opens in LA. And New York August 17 and plays in these U.S theaters from August 24. Adapted from Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel of the same name, Cosmopolis follows Eric Packer, a disaffected, billionaire financier on 24 wild hours as he crosses an imploding Manhattan in a white limo. Pursued by an anonymous assassin, a pie-provocateur and his own existential demons, Packer’s search for a haircut is really a search for meaning in a world that has none. Paul Giamatti, Juliet Binoche, Samantha Morton, Sarah Gadon, Mathieu Amalric, Emily Hampshire, Patricia McKenzie and Jay Baruchel also star. Distributed by Entertainment One Films U.S.