I don't get the allure of Robert Pattinson.
You heard me. And in possible danger of being mauled by almost every member of the female species, I admit that I've never understood the mass hysteria surrounding good ol' R-Putz, I mean, R-Pattz.
Sure, that Pattinson plays Edward Cullen in the Twilight movies might have something to do with it.
Truth be told, when the British actor was cast as Cullen, the 17 million-or-so fans of the Twilight books duly erupted with the kind of hatred usually reserved for animal abusers or hipsters. They all thought Pattinson was way too ugly to be Mr Perfectly Undead. Cullen, by the way, is described as "the most beautiful creature who has ever been born" by Twilight author Stephanie Meyer.
The laugh's on them, of course. Pattinson, 25, is the king of that ridiculously popular and successful film franchise - the first three films have already grossed over US$1.8 billion (S$2.34 billion) worldwide.
Pattinson has gone from being a Harry Potter supporting actor (remember Cedric Diggory - the one who died in The Goblet Of Fire?) into one of the sought-after men on the planet.
The hysteria he causes wherever he goes is often compared with Beatlemania or er, Bieber fever. Time magazine listed him as one of 100 Most influential People In The World; Forbes magazine said he was the 50th most powerful celebrity in the world; Vanity Fair dubbed him "the most handsome man in the world".
However, none of that had any impact on me - until I sat down for a chat with the man himself at Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, that is. He was, of course, promoting Breaking Dawn - Part 1, the first of the two-part finale to The Twillight Saga film series.
Scruffy, with a baseball cap worn backwards, dirty fingernails and unkempt stubble, I wondered where the Byronic hero girls scream at and cry over was. The guy was actually wearing a ratty white T-shirt with big gaping holes!
And not in a trendy way. But that's exactly when I finally got why the world was going rah-rah over R-Pattz. He's personable, easy-going and constantly snickering, and is the polar opposite of the sullen Twilight hero.
He crunches ice while listening to questions and then laughs when he realises cannot answer because he's gobbled one too many cubes. He laughs all the time and unguardedly touches my arm when he's making a point.
And one can see how in love he is with Kristen Stewart (who plays Pattinson's onscreen love, Bella.)
His funniest moment making Breaking Dawn is the fact that Taylor Lautner, who plays werewolf Jacob, has a relationship with a seven-year-old girl, Renesmee (the half human-half vampire daughter of Edward and Bella).
"I thought that was very funny! Haha! I don't think I have ever laughed so much than at the scenes of them together," he said, with a twinkle in his eye. A wickedly funny ice-cruncher with a devil-may-care attitude?
I get you now, R-Pattz.
How different is prepping for Edward compared to the last three times?
I guess the hardest thing about the Twilight movies every single time is thinking how not to repeat yourself. Especially when you're playing the same character and especially when it's so specific that your image never changes. (Edward) never sweats. He never cries. He never gets dirty. His hair never changes ... it's very difficult not to look exactly the same all the time (smiles). As more movies go by, it's harder and harder to think of it. But I guess this one is specifically different because, he actually changes for a second. It's a slightly different part and it actually became easier to prepare for it. I felt that it was more natural ...
Was filming your last scene all tears or all whoops of joy that it was over?
I remember I had to go for the international press tour for Water For Elephants the next day and we were on a night shoot. So two hours later, I had to go home and pack, and then go out again! That was my last day and that was really exciting! (Laughs) But Kristen and I did another "last day", in the Caribbean when we had to do one or two additional shots - part of the honeymoon stuff. Now that was amazing! That felt like a really good farewell. Because it was just me, Kristen, and the crew - just spending all night on the beach. And then the sun started coming up and everybody had cocktails ... that was a really nice way to say goodbye to the series.
Did you nick anything off set for remembrance?
Well, as the series went on, I started getting them to order more clothes for the character that I liked. And so I got a bunch of jeans and stuff. (Laughs)
What was it like to shoot the honeymoon scene?
We shot all the exterior stuff in Brazil and in the Caribbean as well. And that was really easy and fun. We were just messing around. It was the first time that Edward and Bella could actually be a normal couple instead of just hanging out. Then we shot all the sex scenes and stuff back in Baton Rouge and it was fun but it was a strange thing. Especially when you know that so many people are anticipating what you're doing. And especially when there are only so many things you can do ... as a human being. Hahaha! So that was kind of odd. But Bill (Condon the director) made it a nice situation. It was easy.
How about your shirtless scene? Did you enjoy it?
It was one of the most traumatic experiences in my life! I don't like my photo taken for one thing, so as soon as you get your shirt off and knowing that everyone is going to be saying things like, "does he have a six pack" ... I don't want to be judged in those terms anyway. So that's why I have tried to avoid it in all the other movies, because I don't care (what) people think. I've avoided playing someone else's game. I don't want to play.
After spending so much time filming together, tell me a quirk about Kristen that no one else knows.
Kristen is really good at the trumpet. I didn't realise no one knew that. I always thought she talked about it but I only realised yesterday she never told anyone. And she learned how to play it on the set of Breaking Dawn! She's a natural.
What about Taylor?
The workout regime that he has? It's pretty crazy. He works out right up to the moment when someone says "Action"! It's insane. (Laughs) He would be standing with his trainer right till just before and his trainer would be pulling his arms apart! Literally, about 10 seconds before (his scenes). I don't understand how he has the concentration to do that. I can't even have people saying anything to me (when we're shooting). Ever! At any point during the day! (Laughs)
Are you coping better with the crazy Twi-mania?
Yeah I guess so, you just come to accept some things. But it's so utterly unnatural. It'll always be on the sidelines of my life and I've kind of compartmentalised it. For the first couple of movies ... with people going crazy and stuff, I was very much there, and I really know what that felt like. It's crazy! I remember then, we did a mall tour for the first movie; I had to go to bed afterwards. It was exhausting. So now I got a sort of alter ego where I can deal with huge crowds and stuff. If you go acknowledging all your insecurities and all the other problems in your life when you're dealing with whole crowds, you'd go totally crazy.
But how do you feel right now that it's all over?
I feel a little bit relieved. But at the same time, in-between these movies, it was strange, because you really could have played anything. You could have played an old woman or something, and no one would really care because you had another Twilight movie coming out. So it just gets forgotten about! (Laughs) Whereas now, in order to stay at the level in the industry where I'm at, I have to have big movies coming out, so you have to think about that a bit more.