By Ruben V. Nepales -
LOS ANGELES- “It’s a secret,” said Robert Pattinson, breaking into laughter. He was just asked to talk some more about the script he is supposedly writing, based on a novel by Lillian Hellmann, as disclosed in a Vanity Fair cover story on the actor by Nancy Jo Sales.
Robert claimed that it was “one of those times when you say in an interview that this is off the record, when you are just really excited about something. She’ll say, ‘Yeah, of course.’”
The “secret” was disclosed in the cover piece but Robert clarified that his screenplay project is not based on one of Lillian’s novels. “It’s just something Lillian Hellman wrote.” Laughing again, he said, “I can’t really say what it is.”The “Twilight” series star balked at giving more details.
But other than that, he was his usual, easygoing self, quick to be the first one to laugh at himself. In our latest encounter at a meeting room in the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, he played with a water bottle as he fielded questions.
“I used to write a lot more when I wasn’t getting acting jobs,” he revealed. Chuckling, he said, “You dream about writing parts for yourself.”
He added: “The more scripts you read and the more movies you see get made ... you think, what’s the point in just producing something when you feel you can write something? I used to write all the time when I was younger … I will probably write under a pseudonym, because otherwise everyone will just tear me apart immediately.”
Robert revealed details on another matter that has been drawing a lot of speculation—that he is playing Jeff Buckley in a biopic about the singer-songwriter who drowned in 1997. “I met his mom who’s really great,” he said of Mary Guibert, executive producer of the film reportedly going to be directed by “Welcome to the Rileys” director Jake Scott. That Robert talked to Mary indicate that both are at least exploring the idea. “I don’t know,” he said, then hinted, “It’s really not up to me. I love Jeff’s music. He was amazing.”
He is modest about his own musical abilities. “I don’t really think I can sing like Jeff,” Robert said. “He was unique. Also, I can’t play guitar like him either. It would involve quite a lot of work. If someone just imitates Jeff’s voice, it wouldn’t be right. It’s always about the script. You have no idea how it’s going to represent someone.”
In “Water for Elephants,” he plays a veterinary medicine student who drops out and joins a traveling circus that’s trying to survive during the Depression. Asked for his memories of watching a circus, he reminisced: “I’ve been to a circus once in my life. My sister told me that a clown died when they did a stunt. I was only about 7 years old. I freaked out, but my sister told me when I was about 19 that she made it up. I still haven’t been to a circus since I’ve done the movie. I really want to go again.”
Robert, 24, who pretends to be a fully licensed vet in the film, was asked if he has bluffed in real life. “Definitely,” came his quick answer. Flashing his mischievous grin, he narrated: “I was unemployed in London for ages. When I came to LA to audition, everyone and all the casting directors would be like, ‘So what have you been doing all these years?’ I was like, ‘I’ve been studying. I went to Oxford and then I went to RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art).’ If you have an English accent, you can get away with it. I did it for years. A little bit after that, I realized that didn’t really work anymore when loads of English people started moving to LA.
“So then I pretended to be an American for a bit and then when ‘Twilight’ came out, I still tried to pretend to be American. People thought I was insane at the auditions, so I stopped.”
Solemnity and rage
Pressed for some details on “Breaking Dawn” Parts 1 and 2, Robert, who of course plays Edward Cullen, said: “The first film out of the last two is definitely less solemn just because of the subject matter. There’s a kind of finality to it. Edward is always so fraught about everything … But in the second one, there is a kind of rage to finish off all his problems once and for all. It’s definitely a lot looser. Bill Condon is a very different director compared to the other ones we’ve had. So yeah, hopefully, it will be really different.”
On whether he still finds time to go back to England and if his fans there are not as fervent as in other parts of the world, Robert answered: “It used to be like that but it has become a bit more intense in the last two years or so. I hardly ever get time to get back though, which is annoying. Generally, the people who come up to me in England are Italians and Americans.
“The English people are a little bit embarrassed to come up, but it’s funny. I was in an HMV (music/video store) when I was last there. I was buying some ridiculous movie and there were ‘Twilight’ posters all over the store. These two guys just literally refused to look up when they were ringing up the register.”
He acknowledged how being away is a challenge to keeping in touch with family and friends. “It’s quite difficult to stay close to your family because of the time difference,” he admitted. “My family is in London. If you’re working 16-hour days, you can’t really call, especially because whenever you have a break, you just want to go to sleep. But luckily, my friends do jobs which also involve tearing around all the time so they’re in the same boat. We all very much rely on our friendship staying strong even if we don’t see each other for months.”