Starring as Edward Cullen, the moody vampire at the center of the “Twilight” series, Robert Pattinson has achieved worldwide stardom — something that doesn’t sit well with the British actor. “I have a weird mental disorder where the only thing I can ever hear is the negative stuff,” he tells us. “It doesn’t matter how many people say anything complimentary, it’s always the negative.”
You can’t blame him. This summer, the 26 year-old was at the center of some pretty negative headlines: His girlfriend and co-star Kristen Stewart reportedly cheated on him with her “Snow White” director Rupert Sanders. Are they on? Off? Rather than obsess about it, Pattinson would rather focus on his career after this last film in the series, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn —Part 2.”
Of his fame, he says: “Maybe I feel like I don’t particularly deserve it yet, so I really want to do something worthwhile in my head and struggle for a long time.”
What drives him
As evidenced by recent choices — including David Cronenberg’s challenging “Cosmopolis,” which featured him getting a prostate exam — he’s not afraid of risk. “I signed up for a lot of stuff in the last year. I was really fixated on working with a lot of people who are kind of dangerous,” he says. “The business part of show business has really just taken a big s– on the show aspect of it, and so I think anyone who has any visibility should be trying to do something that is really, really subversive. I think it would be interesting trying to get really subversive stuff into the mainstream. You’re in the cinema not just as a consumer but as a participant.”
It’s that sensibility that led him to sign up for the lead in “Mission: Blacklist,” a film to be made in Iraq next year. “That’s probably out of anybody’s comfort zone,” Pattinson offers of the film, which is based on a true story. “It’s about this guy call Eric Maddox who was an Army interrogator who almost single-handedly found Saddam Hussein. No one really knows the story of it, and the story’s absolutely amazing and kind of hilarious in some ways and bizarre.”
That project teams Pattinson with French director Jean-Stephane Sauvaire, who used real Liberian child soldiers for his last film. “I think that’s like his thing,” says Pattinson. “I wanted him to be in his comfort zone, so we were both pushing, saying we need to shoot this in Iraq — that’s the whole point.”
You can tell where his passions lie by the fact that, during this interview, the actor talks more about “Mission: Blacklist” than “Twilight.” But promotion for “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” must be done. The story finds his Edward and Stewart’s Bella protecting their child from killer vampires. It’s already predicted to be the highest-grossing effort in the series. And the actor is busy lining up another high-profile project, lest he lose his ability to get the riskier ones made. “This year I’m thinking I should probably try to do a movie which at least one person will see,” he says, “so I’m trying to figure that out now.”
Kristen Stewart would do it all again.
Before the “Twilight” series, Kristen Stewart was making a quiet transition from child actor to indie starlet. But the surprise smash vampire series changed all that. And after everything that’s happened, both good and bad, would Stewart do it all over again? “Yeah, definitely. Yes,” she says emphatically.
That doesn’t mean she isn’t happy to see the franchise go.
“I’m so happy and relieved to not have to be worrying about the characters anymore,” Stewart says. “I feel like ‘relieved’ sounds wrong, because at the same time as soon as that worry is taken off your back you definitely miss it, because it was ingrained in us for five years. There was never a time, even if we were working on a project in between, where that character wasn’t tapping you on the shoulder going, ‘You’re going to get married in three years.’”