With the premiere of Breaking Dawn, Robert Pattinson is beginning the beginning of the end. As a veteran of movie franchises (thank you Harry Potter), Pattinson knows about the fleetingness that is fame attached to those films. Pattinson took a moment from the whirlwind Breaking Dawn press tour to talk to Movie Fanatic about the final moments of The Twilight Saga, whether he’ll return to music and his initial reaction to that Bella (Kristen Stewart) birth scene that has caused fans to flutter.
Movie Fanatic: How do you think your life has changed since you first filmed Twilight and through the release of Breaking Dawn?
Robert Pattinson: I guess it just presented a whole variety of obstacles in terms of trying to grow and figure out who you want to be. You know, it’s like having a very complicated maze to go through and you’re also being propelled by some kind of jet as well and trying to figure out how to go through a maze at the same time. [Laughs] And I still kind of feel like it hasn’t really slowed down. I’m still trying to figure out where I’m at. But it’s been fun and it’s totally bizarre to me. I mean, I’ve said it for years now, I didn’t even know if I was gonna continue acting before this happened. And I have much more of a drive and passion for it than I ever did before.
Movie Fanatic: What types of films would you like to make post-Twilight?
Robert Pattinson: I don’t know. I mean, I really approach things almost the exact same way until you’re really on the set. Smaller movies are great because you don’t have to argue with so many people all the time. But really I kind of like arguing so there’s a balance either way. [Laughs] With independent movies, it’s nice to see when a director… who’s kind of so pleased with it. I mean, it’s so rare when someone’s given someone the money to do something and let them do it. I just worked with David Cronenberg (on Cosmopolis) and just to see him, he’s left alone by everyone ‘cause I mean obviously he’s proved himself time and time again. But I mean, it’s really strange, I’ve never really worked with someone with absolutely no pressure from anywhere else apart from themselves and from the environment which they’ve chosen to work in. And it’s kind of nice to know that the pressure is not caused by compromises or anything like that, it’s just they’ve taken a responsibility on themselves and it’s really up to them to make it what they want. And people get a lot more pleasure out of it than, you know, having to sometimes like give up a lot just because there’s so much money involved or something like that or you’re working on a franchise or something like that when you have to think about the audience and you have to think about the previous movies and blah, blah, blah. It’s a different thing in some ways.
Movie Fanatic: What did it mean to you personally to have your hand prints permanently at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre?
Robert Pattinson: I stayed at the Magic Castle the first few times I came to L.A. when I was like 17. And I used to walk down there all the time. I kind of had no idea that Hollywood Boulevard would look the way that it does. [Laughs] But I was totally unemployable and everything. That wasn’t even in the realm of anything, any kind of understanding — and it still isn’t. I mean, at all. I don’t even feel like I’ve really done it. [Laughs] I mean, I feel like, I don’t know, there’s just this wave that happened and I’m just on it. And I don’t know, it’s difficult, I feel like I’m gonna feel the personal connection in like 20 years from now. I feel like now it’s just all part of the same thing. I mean, I was kind of embarrassed when I did it because I messed it up and I like stood on my own handprints. [Laughs] I was like, the one handprint, which is like messed up. But I mean, it’s incredible, it represents something amazing. I think it’s totally ridiculous. I don’t even know how to feel about it. It’s just kind of mind-blowing.
Movie Fanatic: Breaking Dawn is the closing chapter in your character Edward’s life? How have you seen his journey evolve for you personally?
Robert Pattinson: In the broadest terms about Edward’s journey, I mean right from the beginning, I took out and just ignored the fact that he’s a vampire, basically ignored the fact that he’s 108 except for kind of metaphorical purposes, and you were just left with kind of a troubled teenager. And it’s a really simple story of him getting content with himself, and he gets content by finding a woman and then having a child. [Laughs] Which is like I guess how a lot of kind of troubled guys kind of balance themselves out. At least that’s the hope anyway.
Movie Fanatic: Bill Condon told us that you came to him with this idea about Edward’s self-loathing that you have carried through the first three films. Where did that come from in your mind?
Robert Pattinson: I always thought that would be the key ingredient to Edward’s character. I mean, he’s a 108-year-old guy who’s never achieved anything he’s wanted to achieve. He’s been stuck in adolescence. I mean, when you’re an adolescent you think nothing is given to you, you think everything’s unfair, blah, blah, blah. And he’s been living like that for 100 years. [Laughs] So, I mean, you’d eventually get to the point of desperation. It’s very difficult to portray that and portray a love story at the same time unless you want to make a very different movie, and so I was trying to push for that angle at the same time. And it’s funny but Bill is the first person to say like, “I want to put this at the forefront.” Because Breaking Dawn is probably the happiest that Edward’s been in the whole series. [Laughs] So it’s like choosing the wrong moment to use that. But we did a couple of flashback scenes and stuff like that which kind of reflect his anger, I guess, when he first turned into a vampire.
Movie Fanatic: When we first spoke for Twilight, you were really excited about your music. Do you get to do that much anymore?
Robert Pattinson: Yeah. I record stuff a lot but I don’t know, there’s something about doing movies, I can handle the criticism ‘cause you can always blame it on someone else. [Laughs] I mean, there’s hundreds of people to blame it on. But with music, I mean, as soon as you put something out there — and really as well if you’re an actor and you’ve kind of made some money and stuff — you’re basically only putting an album out there for people to judge it. And I don’t necessarily want people to judge it nor care what they say. But also I know if I put an album out, the day it comes out, I’m going to be on the Internet looking at stuff and I’ll probably shoot myself. [Laughs] So I don’t know if it’s worth shooting myself over.
Movie Fanatic: Is it possible you’ll be putting it out under an alias or another name?
Robert Pattinson: I mean, I kind of like the idea of that, but I don’t know. It’s also very embarrassing if you get caught [laughs].
Movie Fanatic: What did you make of the Bella birth scene? Did you first read it in the script or in the book?
Robert Pattinson: Oh yeah, the birth scene [laughs]. I read the script before I read the book on this one. It was the first time I’d done that. And so I read that scene being kind of astonished. I mean, I knew it was kind of crazy, the story, but I couldn’t really believe that it was actually written down and we were gonna do it. And it was terrifying going into it. But it ended up being one of the most incredible scenes to do in this movie. There’s definitely a kind of R-rated — or maybe NC-17 rated — version of a few scenes in this movie. But it was just incredible to do that. Because of the violence and stuff in it, it gave you a lot of freedom in the scene — having every character so desperate. It suddenly became something very, very different — especially for Edward. He’s always held back. He’s a pacifist and he’s very objective and logical about everything. To do this thing when you’re suddenly playing Edward stuck between a kind of emaciated dummy’s legs chewing through a placenta and getting cream cheese all over your face [laughs] and strawberry jam and then pulling a three-week-old baby out, too, with a wig on. It’s like something out of a horror movie or something [laughs].
Movie Fanatic: Tell us, what were your final moments as Edward like?
Robert Pattinson: The very last moments I was in St. Thomas in the Caribbean just on the beach and it was kind of incredible. It was the only time I’d ever experienced anything like that in a Twilight movie. I think the last scene with everyone it was kind of horrible ‘cause it was freezing cold. It was after two weeks of night shoots. I think everyone just sort of scarpered. [Laughs] It was like, “OK, that’s the end of Twilight.” And it was five in the morning. It was freezing cold and pouring with rain. It’s like at least it was kind of symbolic of how a lot of the movies were shot. It still doesn’t really feel like the end of it yet. So until the last one’s released, I don’t really feel like I’ve finalized anything.