November 18th, 2017 / 1 Comment

Robert Pattinson Talks Tall Takes, Good Time & High Life with the Irish Times

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The Irish Times sat down with Rob where he talked tall tales, The Lost City of Z, Good Time and High Life.  Here’s what transpired:

Having worked with Werner Herzog, David Cronenberg, Anton Corbijn and, as we meet, Claire Denis, Pattinson has blossomed into the one of the most interesting actors of his generation. Still, he has never been the kind of performer you’d confuse with such great, boozy, storytelling carousers as Peter O’Toole.

“How did those guys do it?” Pattinson says. “It’s the most amazing thing. How can you operate at that level while simultaneously sabotaging yourself? Have you read that Andre Agassi biography? I can’t get over it. So he was still seeded. Around 30th in the world, I think. And he was addicted to crystal meth. And he’s also gluing his wig to his head with polymer cement. So he’s playing a five-set tennis match. On meth. With a wig cemented to his head. How crazy is that?” He laughs. “I mean, I can’t do anything if I’m slightly tired. Or if I’ve drunk two cups of coffee. After two cups of coffee I’m literally incapacitated.”

When we last caught up the artist formerly known as R-Patz was shooting The Lost City of Z in Belfast and had just been declared a total ledge by the media after dropping in on a Co Down wedding reception. He had a great time, he says.

“But the best thing about Ireland was seeing Van Morrison play in Cypress Avenue,” Pattison says. “It was my birthday, and he was incredible. I’m a bit obsessed with Van Morrison. I’ve seen him seven times, and twice he has really, really killed it. But that was really something. Just amazing.”

The same production would bring Pattinson to the caiman- and viper-infested waters of Colombia’s Caribbean coast, where, in a fit of method madness, he ate live maggots from his beard. “I can’t believe they deleted that scene,” he says.

Did they? Did they really? This isn’t one of those patented Pattinson tall tales, is it? Like the time he claimed to have extraordinarily heavy saliva? Or the time he told the Today show that he saw a clown’s car explode at his first circus? Or how about last summer, when he told Jimmy Kimmel that he refused to masturbate a dog for his new thriller, Good Time? “Robert Pattinson is our kind of guy (and everyone’s who has a heart) for refusing to masturbate a dog,” said Lisa Lange of the animal-welfare group Peta, in a laudatory statement.

Except, no. The dog masturbation was also a fib.

“No, there were real live maggots,” he says, grinning.

We’ll leave it at that.

It’s a testament to Pattinson’s acting chops that while he was shooting Good Time the actor took a job in a New York car wash, ate at Dunkin’ Donuts and took the subway to work. And nobody spotted him.

“We couldn’t have shot the movie the way we did otherwise,” Pattinson says of the frenzied guerrilla production. “It just wouldn’t have been possible. But you know when you see crackheads on the street, and they have that very specific, determined walk? If you are always walking around like that people don’t recognise you. They don’t even want to look at you. I think a lot of the crew were moving like that anyway. We were all operating on two hours a night sleep. Everybody stayed out of our way. And there’s something about fake-diamond earrings. People want to avoid fake-diamond earrings.”

In Good Time Pattinson plays Connie Nikas, a strung-out two-bit Queens-based hoodlum – with fake-diamond earrings – who dreams of robbing a bank with his intellectually disabled younger brother, Nick (played by Benny Safdie), so that they might start a new life together in Virginia.

“He cares, but he doesn’t know how to care,” Pattinson explains. “It’s theoretical for him. He knows he’s supposed to look after his brother. We shot this whole dream sequence when he has made it happen and is looking after his brother on a farm in Virginia. And as I’m describing it you see this disgusting shack and us eating White Castle burgers and Nick throwing up. He wants to be able to love. And he wants to be able to take care of his brother. But, really, he’s a romantic fantasist, and his dreams are other people’s nightmares.”

“You just let your id do all the work,” Pattinson says, laughing. “It’s funny. I wish I had thought of this earlier as something to say in interviews. But I think that’s what attracts me to parts. I like the parts that have no self-sensor. The ones where you strip everything away and are left with something a bit more primal.”

“I’ve been thinking about this. I always end up playing the job that I prepared for last. I’ve just got my head around a job by the time I’ve moved on to the next one. Literally, without fail. Maybe I need to make the same film twice.”

Maybe so. But his career plan – write fan letters to favourite artists – seems to be working out in other respects.

“When you start out you have this idea about what acting and movies are supposed to be, and it’s a little box that you’re supposed to fit into,” he says. “Once you refine your tastes, and start working with people who are better at articulating your tastes than you are, you realise that there are no rules whatsoever to this. And you realise that you can do anything. And that’s when it becomes much more fun. I’m not quite there yet. But I occasionally get a glimpse of what it would be like if I can get out of my own way, and get over myself.”


In this spirit the young man who, in an effort to persuade producers to make the films darker, once highlighted all of the moments in the Twilight books when Edward frowned, has just finished shooting High Life with Claire Denis. The film, which features the expertise of the French physicist and black-hole expert Aurélien Barrau, involves criminals on a spaceship, an alternative energy source, and sperm theft. We think.

“I’m not sure if it’s psychosexual or silly sexy,” Pattinson says with a laugh. “A few years ago I would have been really struggling with certain things in the script, because it doesn’t make sense to me. With this that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t need to make sense to me: it makes sense to somebody else. I just need to trust them and find the music in my piece. I was shooting for two weeks with a baby before any other actor turned up. I loved that. Because I got to watch all the other actors arrive and see their brains trying to cope with what’s happening.” He smiles. “I’ve really started to enjoy acting.”

Click on the link to read the full interview.

  • Carmel
    Posted on November 19, 2017

    OMG! Here is a reporter that actually ‘got’ Rob! And look at the gold he mined.
    This might be my favourite print interview yet.
    ‘the artist formerly known as R-Patz’ love it!

  • Leave a Reply

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