January 26th, 2020 / 0 comments

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New interview with Vanity Fair. Rob talks about The Lighthouse, Dior Homme and working out.

Partway through The Lighthouse, the Robert Eggers film about two keepers jostling over control of the flame and their own wits, we get the distinct sense that Robert Pattinson is most comfortable on the fringes of comfort. Drunken howling, ferocious masturbation, wheelbarrow marches that could only be marginally less grueling on the player than the played: Pattinson, rather insanely, seems to relish it all. Willem Dafoe, as the elder wickie, sets his wild eyes ablaze, but we half-wonder if Pattinson carries his unhinged zaniness off-camera, too.

“There’s definitely a part of me that is sort of perverse,” Pattinson says in a call from London, a hint of thrill in his voice. Take, for one, the dominant smell on set. “Lots of rotting fish everywhere. Of all the sensory parts of that experience, the smell was probably the worst,” he recalls, more as qualification than complaint. “I like it when things are just kind of grimy the whole time.”

The actor’s newest role, then—playing the beau in a Dior Homme eau de toilette campaign, released today—is quite the foil. In the 45-second spot, directed by the French production duo The Blaze, Pattison plays it straight. As in, Fantasy Heterosexual Male. He wordlessly orchestrates under-table makeouts; he sweeps a protective arm on a sketchy walk home; he spoons shirtless on a white shag rug. Selling fragrance always is about selling sex (his previous campaign included). But the cologne’s press notes dare you to blush. “The new Dior Homme is crafted from a block of frank, sensual wood,” it reads. Well, then! It’s the olfactory equivalent of the carved ivory mermaid that serves as the lust object in The Lighthouse. Or maybe it’s the light itself: warm and enveloping, cloaking you even when you’re naked.

“In the last five or six years, I’ve almost exclusively played weirdos,” Pattinson says with a laugh. “It was almost a relief to be like, ‘At least I’ve got Dior coming out, so I don’t look like I’m just completely enveloped by the dark side yet.’ ” That embrace of off-kilter characters—in the hands of directors like Werner Herzog, Claire Denis, and the Safdie brothers—was a pendulum swing away from the Twilight saga. With this summer’s Tenet from Christopher Nolan and next year’s anticipated The Batman, the recent days of relative anonymity seem numbered. All the more reason to reflect on simple pleasures, coping mechanisms, and things that tickle the nose.

Vanity Fair: The mermaid in The Lighthouse makes me think Daryl Hannah’s character in Splash—when she unfurls in a bathtub filled with Morton’s salt. Are you partial to baths?

Robert Pattinson: I like the idea of getting in the bath, and then, as soon as I get in, there’s something incredibly claustrophobic [about it]. It’s weird. I could never really understand how girls could just stay in the bath for hours and hours and hours. I always feel like I’m always on the cusp of a panic attack! I got a very nice bath when I was redecorating my house, and I don’t think I’ve been in it one time.

You grew a mustache for this movie. What reactions did you get with it, and was it difficult to settle into?

The two times I’ve done a movie where I have had quite significant facial hair—I do not understand men who choose to do this to themselves. The idea of having a mustache as your go-to look for your whole life [means] you’ve got to be out of your mind. It’s like having a stone in your shoe every day. You’re constantly sneezing, constantly covered in food. When we were in Nova Scotia, having a mustache definitely [helped you] fit in a little bit more with fishermen; I think you’d get more abuse if you didn’t have one. It definitely does encourage you to have a whole bunch of different facial expressions. I think I was just constantly trying to keep my hairs out of my nostrils.

How do you describe the feelings that this fragrance evokes?

I don’t really wear fragrance that often. When I got sent this one, I was on vacation in Ibiza, and it was really quiet. I’m always going to associate the scent with the sun going down, having a beautiful meal on the beach. Putting a fragrance on, it does make you feel more relaxed. Rather than just rushing out the door, it’s almost like you’re hyping yourself up to have a good time. Hyping yourself up to be relaxed.

There’s a great sense of physicality with you—both in The Lighthouse, where you go from slow-dancing to sparring, and in the campaign, with shadow-boxing and dance moves that read like private exorcisms. Were those improvisations or choreography?

It was just improvising. I’m absolutely terrified of dancing. The Blaze, who did the commercial—their music videos always have really amazing dance sequences. But I found out, when I started doing [the campaign], that everyone in their videos is either a professional boxer or a professional dancer. That’s why they’re really good! I’ve wanted to do something about dance for a really long time because I’m just so scared of dancing; I wanted to force myself into it. I feel so naked dancing. There’s a part of me that so desperately wants to be a really good dancer that I can’t quite bear to be a bad dancer. But I’m not entirely sure that I have good dancer in me. The scene in the commercial, it really is an exorcism. The sweat that’s on me at the end is not so much the sweat of exertion, it’s the sweat of terror.

What’s your usual mode of working out?

I think I have a similar thing to most people where I’ll dread working out, and then as soon as I’ve worked out for a week, I’m like, “Amazing! I feel so much better. I love working out!” Then I’ll stop and completely forget that I really liked it, and have to go through the exact same cycle again—avoiding it at all costs. But in general, just before a job, it’s almost always a question of leaning down really quickly. So I’ll wait till the last possible minute, and then do extreme lean-down in two weeks. I’m doing Batman next year, and really it’s such a physical part that, more than anything, I’m afraid of getting injured, so I kind of need to be consistent with the working out. I have a trainer, who I really love, in London. If someone’s not watching over you, it’s so easy to work out in a really undisciplined way. I’ve given myself crazy tennis elbow just from being idiotic when you’re trying to lift too-heavy weights. I think simple stuff works the best. If you’re in hotel rooms all the time, planking is such an incredible thing to do. It’s really meditative as well. You don’t have to think about. It’s difficult to do it wrong, and the results are pretty incredible.

You’ve joked that the return to the spotlight has the perk of free stuff. What in the beauty realm might be a delight to receive?

Sheet masks—the fancier, the better. I used to be a little bit embarrassed about wearing them, and now I’m just full-on committed. That’s one of the best things about working with Dior: They can just send me as many as I want! As soon as I get on a plane, I just shove that thing on, and put an eye mask over the top. People really don’t talk to you as well. You look very American Psycho.

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Rob’s Films
Mickey17 Role: Mickey17
Director: Bong Joon Ho
Release Date: 31 January 2025 (US). | Post-Production since 22 December 2022. Check out all upcoming release dates at our Film Page by clicking on News below

The Batman Role: Bruce Wayne | Batman
Director: Matt Reeves
Release Date: Aust: 3 March 2022 | US: 4 March 2022. Check out all upcoming release dates at our Film Page by clicking on News below

Tenet Role: Neil
Director: Christopher Nolan
Release Date: 26 August 2020. For DVD release dates head to our dedicated film page by clicking "News" below.

The Lighthouse Role: Ephraim Winslow
Director: Robert Eggers
Release Date: Screened at TIFF Sept 2019 | US 18 Oct 2019 - DVD releases at Film Page - click News below

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