As promised, a Comic-Con burning questions session with “Twilight” star Robert Pattinson, who talked to Hero Complex about perfecting an American accent, the pressure to play Earth’s most “beautiful” vampire, and what he really thought of that Entertainment Weekly cover. (Don’t forget to check out our video of him and the play-by-play of yesterday’s "Twilight" panel.)
First things first: Let’s talk about that EW cover.
Um, I guess my hair turned into a little bit of a toupee, didn’t it? I don’t know what happened. Laughs. I just sort of was like, it’s only out for a week anyway.
Tell us about having to play “beautiful.”
When I first read the script and heard about the casting I was thinking, ‘This is impossible. This is physically impossible to play this part.’ I kind of preempted what everyone’s reaction would be. There was also a very real possibility that you could get so freaked out by having to look ‘beautiful’ all the time that you just end up doing the whole thing, like, pouting. Like, ‘Can I just cut all my lines and just stand still so you can shoot it really well?’
So what’d you do?
I thought about it a lot. It was kind of a deceptively complicated character to play. When you look at what Edward says, it seems like he always says the right thing. Always just the perfect gentleman. But when you put it in the context of his actual life situation and it doesn’t compute that he would be this completely easygoing, normal guy. That’s what he was before, then he got bit. He’s still trying to be a nice guy, but he’s also killed like 50 people, so he’s kind of in a state of constant penance.
Ah yes, we know you read Stephenie Meyer‘s manuscript for “Midnight Sun,” essentially a re-write of “Twilight” from Edward’s point of view. It won’t be published for a while. Any tidbits?
Bella never knows what’s going on inside Edward’s head. Throughout the entire series of books, she never really knows who he is. In ‘Midnight Sun,’ you find that he hides a lot from her, you find out the things that he’s hidden. Even basic things like there are other vampires who are going to kill her; I mean he kind of lies about it for ages.
Did it help you do anything different with the part?
It’s interesting in “Midnight Sun” he’s kind of disgusted with himself, which is kind of how I saw Edward anyways. He knows (his relationship with Bella) is right but he can’t stand the fact that he keeps hanging around her. It’s like ‘I know I’m in love with her, I know that’s all well and good, but I shouldn’t be doing this. I’m a vampire, I should just accept that and kill myself now.’ It’s a lot of self-loathing. Laughs. And I wanted to play it 100% self-loathing the whole time, and nobody would let me. They had to kind of lighten me up a bit.
Might we hear more about this reported journal you kept to prepare for playing Edward?
I don’t know where the whole journal idea came from. I mean, I just wrote tons and tons of notes. I had like six versions of the script. I wrote of that while I was in Portland (where the movie was shot) for two months by myself. I was there before (director) Catherine Hardwicke or anyone else.
To get into character?
I wouldn’t be doing anything in London that would be of any help, and I thought that just being separated from anything that I knew would be good. Also, the accent. I thought it would be helpful if I just pretended to be American for two months.
How do you think it turned out?
It’s supposed to be sort of old-fashioned America. I haven’t actually seen it yet, but hopefully it worked out.
— Denise Martin