September 9th, 2015 / 1 Comment


That cover is just gorgeous, not to mention we have the glorious pic of Rob as Dennis Stock in larger size *claps hands* We will update with the translation once it’s available ๐Ÿ™‚ Translation added below!

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Interview with Robert Pattinson: from Twilight to Life, the transformation of an actor (translation)

Robert Pattinson โ€˜I am still looking for my placeโ€™

The end of the Twilight era, his desire for independence from Hollywood, his directing desires, his thoughts on the French cinema after the aborted project with Olivier Assayas and before his next film with Claire Denis: Robert Pattinson makes his career assessment.

With David Cronenberg (Maps to the Stars, in an Australian thriller (THE ROVER, by David Michรดd), or even in a small part with Werner Herzog (QUEEN OF THE DESERT), he definitely left the mainstream productions and asserted himself as an XXL actor, the new embodiment of indie movies with fire power without equal in his generation. At a time where his last movie, LIFE by Anton Corbijn, a charming revisiting of the story about the friendship between the photographer Dennis Stock and James Dean, Robert Pattinson agreed to meet with us to assert his career and talk about his future.

He is the portrait of an actor still in transformation, confident in his choices but nevertheless beset with doubts, a free electron who wants to fall everywhere the cinema still pulses, from France at Claire Denisโ€™ side to the vibrating Safdie brothersโ€™ New York City. A man of the future.

Inrocks: How did you get involved in the LIFE project?
Rob: Reading the script, I felt like this movie would not be the ordinary biopic, a simple life story where we would tell by the basic James Dean and Dennis Stockโ€™s story. There was something more singular, more intimate in the movieโ€™s angle. And the fact Anton Corbijn was a part of the project just convinced me. I met him in Los Angeles a few years ago and we instantly got on. I really think he is one of the most talented director of our time.

Inrocks: What interests you in Corbijnโ€™s cinema?
Rob: His style. There is something with him which is really pictorial and gracious, coming from his work in photography. To go from one discipline to another is not easy; you often see photographers who crash, trying to direct their first movie. But not Anton. He, for his first film, proved he was a grand director. I have seen his film, Control, on the big screen at the time, and it hit me hard. I was really impressed, to the extent that I could have become a Joy Division fan. An obsessional one at thatโ€ฆ

Inrocks: In LIFE, you play the photographer Dennis Stock. What did you know about his and his career?
Rob: Not much, but I immediately had a good feeling about this character, something clicked in me as soon as I read the script for the first time. I met his son, and then I immersed myself in information about his career. I had access to intimate archives as well as photographs never published. What I was discovering made me passionate. Dennis Stock was not a sympathetic guy in reality. He was secretive, opaque, always on his guard, he refused to show his feelings or anything, really and he could be very abrasive. (He thinks about it a few moments). It is quite exciting for an actor to play this type of ambiguous character, not instantly nice or even accessible.

Inrocks: You play Dennis Stock at the beginning of his career, when he was still a young artist โ€˜groping,โ€™ looking for his style and own path. Is it a state you can identify with?
Rob: Of course. Dennis has zero confidence in his skills: he knows he can become famous for his art, that an artist is there inside of him. But at the same time he just denigrates himself all the time, he is doubting himself. What he needs is an approval of his work. He he tries to get it from James Dean. As soon as they meet, Dennis is obsessed by the actor, not as a fan, but because he needs his approval. He wants someone to tell him he can be a photographer, that he has the right to express his art. I can understand this feeling. I sometimes need to hear I am not making mistakes, that I am legitimate. The tiniest comments about my work still astonish me and make me shield myself.

Inrocks: Donโ€™t you think your role in Cosmopolis was the approval you are talking about?
Rob: It was a turning point in my career, evidently. Even then, before I talked about it, it makes me shiver. Iโ€™ve made pretty nice things since, but Iโ€™ve never experienced the sensations I had with Cosmopolis. It was the craziest scenario, the most powerful one Iโ€™d had in my hands. It was not just a simple job, you know, but a fricking revival: a new insight on myself. The movie freed me from some complexes I had, and made my image change in the business. Other prestigious directors called me, people I would have never imagined to work with.ย 

โ€˜I often need to hear I am legitimateโ€™

Inrocks: I bet you are referring for example to Werner Herzog, who offered you a role in his last movie Queen of the Desert (new in France). What memories do you keep of this filming?
Rob: First, I remember the strange audition, really bizarre, a long talk with Werner Herzog about everything but the role itself: his adventure stories, his setbacks with snakes and iguanasโ€ฆ I stayed only eight days on set, but it confirmed my impressions he is a passionate guy and completely on the edge, out of the frame. What I like about Werner Herzog or David Cronenberg, is that they have a warriorโ€™s nature: they go on with their new movies like it was the biggest and the strongest of cinema history. (He laughs). They only want to lead exciting or controversial projects. With them, nothing is trivialized. The act of making a film is full-on adventure. Working with these people restores your faith in films.

Inrocks: And then there is James Gray, the director you are going to work with for THE LOST CITY OF Zโ€ฆ
Rob: It is a period movie that will tell the life of an explorer who went to look for a lost city in the Amazon. This movie deals with an obsession leading to madness. James is really good with that. Two Lovers, which I consider one of the most beautiful films ever, already was an obsession going wrong. I cannot wait to act for him, to see where he can lead me.

Inrocks: you have been โ€˜knightedโ€™ by numerous prestigious auteurs since Cosmopolis, but something stuck with the large audience: your image is still marked by your beginning in the young adult cinema. Recently David Cronenberg confided in the press you were still underestimated because of the way Twilight was not valued and considered dumb. What do you think about it?
Rob: (A bit bored by the topic) These are David Cronenbergโ€™s words, I cannot judge. Maybe time is needed for some to forget the Twilight era. Waiting for that, I have to preserve myself without asking questions, and just continue choosing my movies thoughtfully, to just trust my tastes.

Inrocks: Precisely, what do your choices say about you? Do you think they design the frame of your masterpiece?
Rob: I am just starting to realize it. Iโ€™ve been acting for more than ten years in this business and I think things become clearer. I know now my sensitivity led me more towards assertive directors with conviction, who innovate, who have a strong point of view. But I am far too young to talk about a masterpiece. I havenโ€™t yet found my place in the industry.

Inrocks: Whispers about you wanting to be a director have been heardโ€ฆ
Rob: Really? They say that? (Laughs and pauses for a while). Yes, it is a project I have had in mind for quite a bit. These last few years, I have found roles and have worked with directors who gave me new inspirations, a new breath. The idea to direct my own movie just grew. Becoming a director is the last step to complete my independence, you are you own chief, you are taking your fate into your own hands, you can finally express whatever you want, without obstacles. I am far from it, but I am working on it. At this point, I spend all my free time writing.

Inrocks: What are you writing about?
Rob: I always prefer writing things far away from my universe, from the roles I played.

Inrocks: What genre?
Rob: Big sci-fi movies! Really popular scripts, with lots of special effects, aliens in all scenes, enormous budget. I am also working on a play right now but for an unknown reason, and I am not a big fan of theater, as a spectator. The big popcorn movies draw me in.

Inrocks: So you could go back to this system of big Hollywood franchises? Redo some blockbuster like Twilight?
Rob: Pffff I almost did it last year. I was asked to be a part of a big project on which I was very well advanced, but I gave it up at the last minute. I was scared, I think โ€˜itโ€™s not me anymore.โ€™ Nowadays, I much prefer filming 3 or 4 movies a year or even small parts for auteurs inspiring me, than be stuck by a *beep* blockbuster, filming for months.

Inrocks: A few of your projects have been aborted these last few years, including the most spectacular one, Idolโ€™S Eye, which should have been directed by Olivier Assayas. What happened with this movie?
Rob: A shit story. The filming was canceled because of a financing issue, which kept us waiting until last minute. I went back and forth twice from Los Angeles to Toronto, where it should have been filmed and every time they told me it was suspended. It was tiring, but I was hyper excited by the project: I did the research myself, I spent time in Chicago (the movie is based on a story in the 70s about a conflict inside the Chicago mafia) to be able to meet the real gangsters who did the robbery inspiring the scenario. All of that for nothingโ€ฆ

Inrocks: How did you meet Olivier Assayas?
Rob: I donโ€™t really know, through a friend who is a producerโ€ฆ I love his cinema, including Carlos. Itโ€™s the most convenient in this abandoned movie: I felt like Idolโ€™s Eye could be an important movie, a special point in my career. The script was fantastic: about 190 pages which went beyond the gangstersโ€™ movies, with unusual dialogue, and an incredible romantic density. But, who knows, maybe the movie will happen some day.

Inrocks: Are there any other French directors you would like to work with?
Rob: Coming up, in January, I should began filming a new movie with a French director, Claire Denis. I met her a while ago in Los Angeles, and she told me about this sci-fi movie project, she is working with artist and inventor, Olafur Eliasson who creates sublime lighting installationsโ€ฆ I cannot believe I got the role.

Inrocks: Weโ€™re you familiar with Claire Denisโ€™ works?
Rob: I am an absolute fan. I am obsessed with her work for a few years, even if I would have a hard time precisely explaining why. I think it is a question of insight, something going beyond words. There is something hypnotic in her cinema. I saw White Material on the big screen and I went out of the theater in a trance, complete disoriented. She is a fucking genius.

Inrocks: Letโ€™s come back to the American cinema. What insight do you have in its evolution? Do you have a feeling a new generation of auteurs is emerging?
Rob: I am sure of it. In the U.S., like everywhere in the world, the movies with medium budgets became impossible to finance. It is a major upheaval in the industry, which is now divided between big tent pole movies and micro budgets. We can regret it, but I mostly see a revival. The fact we have โ€˜poorโ€™ and indie movies has created a new wave of American auteurs who freed themselves from big studios. Turning towards the micro budgets, they are completely autonomous: they can do whatever they want, experiment with new things and free themselves from the producers, agents, the financing circuit who considerably slow down their creationโ€ฆ

Inrocks: โ€ฆ Like the Safdie brothers, with who you are going to film soon, GOOD TIME (story about a robbery gone wrong, co-written by a big figure in the New York indie movies, Ronald Bronstein)
Rob: Yeah, typically, they have made their career in low budget cinema, completely independent, where they are free to use their imagination and their fantasies. That is another project I am most excited about: the scenario is completely mad, mysterious and playing between reality and fiction.

Inrocks: The American indie movies organize themselves as small clans: there is the โ€˜mumblecoreโ€™ family, the one with new directors from New York (Safdie brothers, Ronald Bronsteinโ€ฆ), and the one from Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach, โ€ฆ Do you feel like you belong to one clan?
Rob: (he ponders) No, I tried but I did not succeed. I have never succeeded. Maybe because I live between two cities, London and Los Angeles, or that I do not stay very long in one place. Or maybe, as simple as that it is not in my nature. I think I am more the solitary type.

 

Scans | Translation

  • Maria
    Posted on September 11, 2015

    Another great interview. I can’t wait for this Safdie Brothers films.

  • Leave a Reply



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