Robert Pattinson: ‘I’m not entirely sure how to play, like, a normal person’

Actor Robert Pattinson arrives at the 13th Annual GO Campaign Gala 2019 held at NeueHouse Hollywood on November 16, 2019 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States.

The Guardian recently had a great interview with Robert Pattinson, who has clearly “come into his own” now that he’s gotten through his 20s. He’s still self-deprecating and charming and slightly neurotic, but a lot of that has been softened and he actually seems to be almost confident these days. He seems pleasantly surprised that he’s getting so much hype for The Lighthouse, and that’s why he sat down for this interview with the Guardian. I love a long-read Bobby Sparkles interview, honestly. He’s delightful. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

He’s nervous before every film: “I only know how to play scenes, like, three ways. I’m nervous on, like, every single movie. I’m a catastrophist. I’m always thinking that the worst-case scenario is actually going to happen. So when it does happen, I’m like: ‘Gah! OK! I’m prepared!’”

When people laughed at his campy performance in The King: “If I’m doing a scene and I see that the other actor is expecting me to do it the way I’m doing it, if I can just see that it hasn’t surprised them, I immediately feel stupid.”

He would do crazy things before scenes in ‘The Lighthouse’: “Because I don’t really know how to act, I kind of wanted to somehow make it real, and one of the ways I’ve always thought makes that a little bit easier is if you shake up your physical state just before action. You end up walking into a scene having a different…feeling.”

On the awards-hype for The Lighthouse: “I’m kind of amazed by how it’s been received. I love the movie. I think it’s soooo cool. But I never would have thought… It’s done better than almost anything I’ve done in, like, ages, and it’s the most random movie. Knowing there’s a hunger for stuff that’s very, very strange – that’s cool! That’s the stuff I like making!”

On fame: “I think the stuff about fame is the most boring. There’s nothing to say. Literally think about what you imagine fame to be for one second. It’s like that! People recognise your face. That’s it…. When I was younger, when I was a little bit more insecure, I kept thinking people were disappointed when they met me. Now I don’t give a sh-t.”

He likes to play offbeat characters: “I’m not entirely sure how to play, like, a normal person. I don’t think I’m great at subtle.”

He still feels like a teenage skaterboy most of the time: “In a lot of ways I haven’t developed past 15. This is still my style of clothing” – he points to the skateboard T-shirt he’s wearing – “and this is still my music taste. Like, hip-hop between 1997 and 2002. And Van Morrison. And Jeff Buckley. All the people I found at 14.”

He describes himself as a “space cadet”: “But then I have periods of extreme ambition, of being very, very driven.” His great gift, he explains, is not acting, but being excellent at choosing the right people to work with – people who can make him better. “I think I’ve got good taste in movies. I can see, from a very short meeting, whether a director is going to make something good.”

[From The Guardian]

I sometimes wonder if Robert Pattinson should have had a different career. I don’t mind his career as it is now – more art-house and weird after the Twilight trilogy and all – but it occurs to me that in a different era, Bobby Sparkles would have been a very straight leading man in comedies, romances and dramas. He could have been, like, a modern/Millennial Cary Grant. He definitely could have pulled that off – the charm, the humor, the likeability. Unfortunately, the material wasn’t there for him, and I suspect the desire wasn’t there for him either. He didn’t want that for himself, so now he’s making weird art house films and then he’ll do… Batman. He’s fashioned an odd career for himself, but did he really have many other options? Also: I laughed at his musical taste because it’s SO TRUE for so many of us. I still listen to a lot of the same music I listened to when I was a teenager too.

Robert Pattinson at the Go Campaign's 13th Annual Go Gala at NeueHouse Hollywood

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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13 Responses to “Robert Pattinson: ‘I’m not entirely sure how to play, like, a normal person’”

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  1. Arlene Hunt says:

    I watched him in the Safdie brothers’ Good Time last night and he was excellent. Very exciting to see the roles he chooses these days.

    • Another Anne says:

      He was great in that. That movie is a total heart attack, I need to watch it again one of these days.

      • Arlene Hunt says:

        Between that and Uncut Gems the brothers seem determined to make the audience squirm with anxiety!

  2. Another Anne says:

    That was a really good interview. I think he was very smart in how he handled his post Twilight career. He needed time out of the spotlight, and realized he was overexposed due to the fan and media craze about Twilight. He kept on working on smaller arthouse fare and completely rebuilt his cred with the critics. He’s also built credibility with the male audience too, with films like Good Time and The Lighthouse. It was really smart to avoid romances and anything reminiscent of Twilight. And now it’s like all the pieces fell in place for him again this past year, with two huge movies on the horizon. And yet, he still seems like the same guy, just a bit older and wiser. I can’t wait to see his promo run for Batman, it should be hilarious.

  3. Lucy says:

    I’ve always thought of him as extremely “normal”, really. Back in the Twilight days especially, when he portrayed this seemingly perfect, otherworldly, larger-than-life character but was the complete opposite of that. Maybe that’s why he feels like he can’t do that, because he wouldn’t be acting…? Regarding his career, I think he may develop it even further. He’s still quite young, after all.

  4. Lightpurple says:

    He’s right; The Lighthouse is a very, very strange movie, but beautifully filmed. It deserves that Oscar nomination for cinematography

  5. Originaltessa says:

    I wish he’d write a memoir like Jessica Simpson. I feel like it would be pee your pants funny. He has such self deprecating and odd takes on all of the crazy stuff that has happened to him.

  6. LidiaJara says:

    I find him charming too, but I find the “method” stuff tedious. (I say “method” because my understanding is that’s not actually method? Like, you’re not supposed to be a jerk when you play a jerk?) I just can’t quite get over how ridiculous he was to Willem Dafoe. Like actually peeing on himself during scenes? And he tells a story about lying on top of Dafoe wretching and how he was trying to make himself actually puke and Dafoe is giving the director “if he pukes on me I’m quitting this film” face? I know he’s a great actor, but if you have to climb all over the set with pee-soaked pants to be great, then maybe you’re not a great coworker?

    • mash says:

      right i was like just because youre an actor DOESNT mean you have to be an animal jackazz weirdo… like most ppl in the world. Do your job and gtf home

  7. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I confess, I listen to everything I’ve ever listened to and loved. My playlist is extensive and all-inclusive lol. Many from 60s and 70s but mostly 80s, 90, 00s to current. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds lol! When I hit shuffle, I don’t know if I’ll hear Whole Lotta Love, Sinnerman, These Arms of Mine, Blue Monday, She Talks to Angels, Man in the Box, West End Girls or You Should See Me in a Crown! 😁

  8. liz says:

    To a certain degree, he’s carved a career for himself similar to what Daniel Radcliffe has done. Neither of them ever “have” to work – Twilight and Harry Potter made each of them financially secure. So they can do whatever it is that they want to do – both of them have worked for scale at times and both of them have financed projects that interested them. They have the acting chops to do whatever they want and have made it clear that they would not be typecast. I don’t think either of them has any interest in doing another big budget blockbuster film (other than maybe a cameo for a friend).

    I don’t think it was a lack of choices that has dictated Pattinson’s career. I think it was his own decision making that did. You have to give him credit for that.

  9. Nibbi says:

    He’s still so incredibly likeable and charming. If anything, I enjoy this older, mellower Pattinson even more. Sheesh, combined with that face…

    Although he says “hip-hop between 1997 and 2002. And Van Morrison. And Jeff Buckley” as if there were something WRONG with that… hey man, that’s just the best music, period. 😉

  10. Mei says:

    Music tastes are basically cemented in your brain by the time you’re 17, I can’t find the reference but it makes sense in terms of brain development. I still find incredible music now but whenever I hear stuff from my faves when I was towards the end of my A Levels I get a warm fuzzy feeling hahaha.