October 10th, 2015 / 5 Comments

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Here’s another new interview from Rob promoting “Life”:

“I always feel rather uncomfortable”

First Cronenberg, Michôd, Herzog, now Corbijn, very soon Gray, Korine and Denis: they all want Robert Pattinson. Why? What is the appeal of this teen idol?

The penny dropped when I watched Cosmopolis (2012). The first time the film by David Cronenberg was disappointing to me. In ‘Vrij Nederland’ [dutch paper] I called him ‘bloodless – painful role for leading actor Robert Pattinson, who after his global success as a vampire in the insignificant Twilight series likes to sink his teeth into more serious material, but as autistic financial genius … he can hardly show a more emotional range [to the audience].

The second time I watched the movie I saw it. Then I understood that casting Pattinson was a great, even brilliant move. The hollow falsity of Cosmopolis is not only the reflection of the virtual financial system that is criticized in the film, but also of its leading character and, partly, its leading actor.

Robert Pattinson (London, 1986) plays in Cosmopolis a stunningly handsome stockbroker with huge financial success at a much too young an age, looking through the windows of his limousine with a detachment as if they were monitors, and fears that his inner self is rotting away (for which he gets daily anal examinations). You can almost call it typecasting, as a vampire with world fame.

Uncomfortable in his own skin

There are more great arthouse directors. David Michôd cast Pattinson in The Rover (not seen in 2014); just as Cronenberg, again, in Maps to the Stars (2014); Herzog, in a supporting role as T.E. Lawrence’s otherwise failed Queen of the Desert (2015); and soon James Gray in The Lost City of Z, Claire Denis in her yet untitled sci-fi movie and – very exciting – Harmony Korine, alongside James Franco, Idris Elba and Al Pacino in The Trap.

And now starring in Anton Corbijn’s Life, as a beginning photographer Dennis Stock, maker of the most famous photographs of James Dean. Where Cronenberg, as usual, in Cosmopolis magnified Pattinson’s character metaphorical and philosophical, the down to earth Corbijn uses [Rob] more realistic but nevertheless similar: as someone who feels uncomfortable in his skin, is keen to get recognition and feels a substantial distance to the world. “He’s an actor who wants to prove himself as an actor who plays a photographer who wants to prove himself as a photographer. Therefore the casting seemed like a great idea,” says a grinning Corbijn in Berlin.


Pattinson himself too is grinning a lot in Berlin. Many apologetic smiles too – like his character. Pattinson seems extremely nice, but is at the same time strikingly shy for someone of his fame and notoriety. Embarrassed BY his fame.

If he, as an actor often wanders outside his comfort zone? “I have no comfort zone at all haha! I always feel always rather uncomfortable.” He seems to mean it. “But so is my character.” And they (Rob and his character Dennis Stock] have more similarities. Like Stock, Pattinson doesn’t like to be photographed. He really doesn’t. He mentions it three times. He feels like it’s making him ‘smaller’, “as if they are [taking] something away from you.”

Pattinson describes his character: “What I find fascinating is that he he couldn’t feel anything, not even love, as if he was handicapped.” And “Because he’s so restrained, he feels separated from the world, he lacks the experience of a normal person. That is quite tragic…” And: “I found it interesting that he finds solace in his art.”

Later, about all the media attention on himself: “Sometimes you feel just very separated from everything. That is a little worrisome..” And about acting: “You give quite a lot of yourself away, if you really connect.”


Is Stock is a mirror of self-portrait? The thought arises. If Pattinson, like Dennis Stock and James Dean, is a tortured soul himself, I do not know. But they share at least this: Pattinson feels an uncomfortable proximity to humans and is – something that’s not easy in the world of film or during a group interview – looking for a real connection.

That’s where there’s a blend in his role as Stock, in his roles for Cronenberg, and to some degree even with TE Lawrence and Twilight’s Edward.

When asked, via James Dean, what charisma is a movie star, Pattinson stumbles over his words a minute and then laughs nervously exclaiming: “I have no idea what the f*ck I’m saying haha!”

I want to make an attempt: charisma is the attraction of someone with a seductive look and an unattainable inner self. And that is [what] Robert Pattinson has.

Source | Translation Thinking of Rob

  • barbara
    Posted on October 10, 2015

    To read the first review of “Cosmopolis” is very like so many of the critics here in Australia and the rest of the world it was so unfair. When I saw it I was blown away by Rob’s acting after reading the book I knew that Eric Packer was a cold eyed unfeeling golden boy who felt no pain or love for anyone.it was brilliant acting,and I was so disappointed when the “critics?” said it was boring.It is and always will be my favourite Rob movie,I have watched the movie three times and I still find the character Rob plays a knockout. I have scant regard for critics they are a bunch of bleary eyed luvvies.

  • Carmel
    Posted on October 11, 2015

    @barbara – since following Rob’s career (and Maria’s awesome review summaries) I have learnt there are critics and then there are Critics. Unfortunately, mirroring the movie business, some of these ‘journalists’ just don’t understand a project that doesn’t model itself on childhood toys or have an explosion in the fist 5 minutes. Look for the reviewer who didn’t like the latest Transformers movie and that person may be worth listening to when commenting on Rob. Ignore the rest.
    Take this reviewer for instance, he didn’t ‘get’ Cosmoplis first time around – fair enough. It’s a pretty wordy movie with deep concepts. However, despite this, he probably knew enough to respect respect Cronenberg and give it a second run. The penny drops and Rob performance is on point.

  • Maria
    Posted on October 11, 2015

    I like your little wrap up @Carmel and agree with both you and Barbara. Most critics I find … well there’s one this week that said Rob’s from Canada. So that tells me a lot.

  • Maria
    Posted on October 11, 2015

    @Barabara I think I saw Cosmopolis at the movies 6 times because I could not get enough of it. Rob/Eric’s unravelling and his literal unravelling of clothes just had me in awe. His performance from start to finish was on point as you say. I’ve shared that movie with so many others and even if they didn’t like the film, they all agreed that the final scene with Rob and Paul Giamatti was incredible. Hmm I think I need to pop that bluray in again very soon.

  • barbara
    Posted on October 12, 2015

    @Maria. after posting my view I also grabbed the dvd and sat down and watched it again, and like the other times I have watched it I was blown away, it is one of the best movies,best directed and best acted, Rob is mesmerising and as you said the scene between Rob and the brilliant Paul Giamatti is electrifying. If there is one great movie that was ignored by the full of fart bubble brainless critics, “Cosmopolis” is it. Sadly these bleary eyed luvvie arse lickers are still in the fart clouds when it comes to reviewing movies.

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