A version of this story appears in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman. To read my new feature on Kristen Stewart, click here.
Robert Pattinson remains bewildered by the “Twilight” phenomenon
As the final film, “Breaking Dawn — Part 2,” opens, the blockbuster saga’s leading mans says the role of a kind-hearted 100-year-old vampire in love with a human presented some particularly stubborn challenges right up to the end.
LOS ANGELES — Although his time in the “Twilight” universe is rapidly coming to an end, Robert Pattinson remains “completely bewildered” by the pop culture phenomenon that has transformed him into a movie star.
“It’s funny, people were asking me how I’d feel when it all ends on the first movie, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt more completely bewildered, knowing that I only have a month of ‘Twilight’ stuff left to do,” he said, flashing his now-famous smile during a recent press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel.
“I’ve said since I think the second one it’s going to take 10 years to really settle in my brain. So I’m four years into it. But I don’t think … even the fans know why they connect to it in the way they do. It’s a visceral thing. I don’t even know if Stephenie (Meyer, the series’ author) could tell you why she was so fixated on this very, very, very contained story and kind of obsessive characters. It’s just a kind of anomaly.”
Based on Meyer’s supernaturally successful book series, the blockbuster “Twilight Saga” film franchise marks its end with the opening of the fifth and last movie “Breaking Dawn — Part 2.” Pattinson’s courtly vampire Edward Cullen finally gets the happiness he has both longed for and resisted with the transformation of his wife, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), from human to immortal. They even have a half-human/half-daughter baby, Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy), whose unique connection to Bella’s werewolf pal Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) promises a new era of paranormal peace.
Even as Edward adjusts to his happy new life, his family faces a new threat when the ruling vampire clan the Volturi accuses them of an unpardonable crime.
“With Edward, I think he resists happiness a lot in the first three books. He’s afraid that he doesn’t deserve it. He’s seen a few examples of people being turned into vampires and not being very happy with it. And he’s not entirely happy with it himself … and he doesn’t want Bella to feel that way,” Meyer said in a separate press conference.
“He’s a very cautious person, and becoming a vampire is forever.”
The role of a kindhearted 100-year-old vampire in love with a human presented some particularly stubborn challenges right up to the end of the saga, Pattinson, 26, said.
“On one hand, a lot of the audience projects their idea of Edward on to him … and then my kind of instincts (are) to try and find the fallibility in him and the weaknesses. And so you’re kind of trying to play both these things at the same time, and it becomes very strange,” he said. “You’re trying to play an archetype on one hand, and then the character on the other. So I kind of felt insanely frustrated right up until the last shot, and then it ended.”
While finding a frame of reference for playing an immortal, practically indestructible character was difficult, Pattinson did have five movies to try to figure it out.
“That’s the thing, just in general, about doing any kind of series, especially when the characters remain the same, just that you can go back and try and improve whatever you did in the last movie, which never happens,” he said with a grin. “Just kind of that tone of, and that work ethic, it’s nice, you feel quite strangely secure. I mean, it’s the opposite of how you’re supposed to feel during a movie. You’re supposed to feel totally foreign every single time, but kind of going back for another go at it is kind of good on one hand.
“And it is also bad on another hand, because your ideas dry up sometimes, and also you get lazy sometimes, because you know, you’re around the same people. That was the good thing about having different directors (for all but the last two films) is you kind of had to stay a little bit on your toes.”
Pop culture phenomenon
As “Twilight” has emerged as a pop culture phenomenon — the first four films grossed $1 billion at the domestic box office alone, for instance — it has transformed the Englishmen into an internationally known heartthrob.
“I think it was the third movie where we went to Munich, and the entire Olympic stadium was filled with fans and just to walk in there and do nothing — I mean, it was supposed to be a Q and A — but it was me, Kristen and Taylor (and) we just stood in the Olympic stadium with 30,000 people just screaming … for 15 minutes. And it was just, I mean, it’s absolutely bizarre. There’s no way you can ever compute it,” Pattinson said.
Still, the leading man doesn’t fear that the series will leave him typecast.
“It’s not really up to you. I’m getting other parts that aren’t vampires or whatever, but I don’t know if people will, you know, accept me in them or whatever. I mean, there’s really nothing to be afraid of,” he said.
“I don’t know how people will remember this series at all. I mean, it’s crazy how intense people are. The fan base is still five years on, so I don’t know how long it’s going to last.”
Nor he is worried about topping or maintaining the level of box office success or pop culture influence he as reached as the man who became Edward Cullen.
“I think it’s impossible for one thing. I don’t think anyone can do that, apart from Denzel Washington, who I don’t know, he’s done something,” Pattinson said with a laugh.
“I don’t know, it’s not necessarily that satisfying getting kind of monetary success, but sometimes it, it keeps the door open to make what you want to make. But other times, you could make five massive hits in a row and still not get cast by the directors who you want work with doing little movies.
“There are no guarantees. I’m trying to kind of sign up and do movies that I’ll be proud of if it’s my last one. That’s kind of how I think about it.”