Robert Pattinson talks Cosmopolis

Exclusive: “It’s really sad…”

Robert Pattinson will soon be bidding farewell to the Twiverse, with Breaking Dawn – Part Two hitting cinemas in November. He’s not wasting any time moving on, though, as Cosmopolis blasts into cineplexes this month.

Directed by David Cronenberg and adapted from Don DeLillo’s novel, Cosmopolis is a blackly comic drama in which 28-year-old billionaire Eric (Pattinson) gets caught up in a whirlwind of chaotic activity as he attempts to get across Manhattan.

We gave Pattinson a ring to ask him a few quick questions about the film...

How’s it going?

"Good. Although I don’t why we’re doing this [interview] at 9 o’clock at night on a Friday in London. It just shows how much of a loser I am! It’s the one time I’m free…"

Cosmopolis seems like a game-changer performance for you…

"I felt, doing this film, how I felt doing films before the first Twilight. Where I didn’t have to worry about anyone’s reaction… and now I’m incredibly worried about everybody’s reaction! I’m absolutely terrified!"

It’s a film open to interpretation. What do you think it’s about?

"I definitely didn’t think it was a Wall Street movie and that was what I was most afraid of. Because Eric’s wearing a suit and seems apathetic I thought people would write it off as American Psycho. I never read it as that but the tone has similarities. What I thought is that it’s about Eric trying to find some kind of alternative reality. It’s really sad.

"I read a thing that described is as a guy who’s trying to throw everything away in one day – he’s not trying to throw anything away, he’s trying to find something else. If the guy was totally nihilistic, it wouldn’t be sad. I did an interview with a French magazine the other day and the journalist was saying ‘this is a movie about the end of the world’ and was like,‘oh, YEAH. It IS.’

"David was saying at the wrap party, ‘Oh, it’s much funnier than anything I’ve done in ages’ and I completely forgot that I found the script funny because I was playing it totally seriously the whole time. It’s confusing! David said to be ‘I didn’t understand it at the beginning and I hope to not understand it at the end’.

"It’s that that thing that Fellini said – as soon as you understand it, it’s dead, it has no more interest. It’s this thing that’s swimming in nothingness and has no land or sky… and that’s the most pretension thing I think I’ve ever said in my entire life."

Did you base Eric on anyone?

"It’s just the words – there was such a specific voice from the very beginning. It’s just really well written. Most scripts are really shit and you’re just thinking ‘how can I make it better?’ but this one, all you had to do was just say it. A really shitty actor could just sit there and say it and make it sound really good."

There’s a lot of crazy scenes in this… what were your favourite and least favourite scenes to film?

"The prostate exam scene got cut down, the last line of that scene was [Eric saying] ‘I wanna bottle-fuck you slowly with my sunglasses on.’ I remember reading that scene [when reading the script], with a doctor’s finger up your arse – and having absolutely no idea how to say that. Or even if I could get on set and have a camera in my face and say that. But that fear is what made me want to do it."

Do you think this will take you to a different audience?

"When you get some kind of success quite quickly you have to pay for it somehow, pay your dues and stuff. I want to support the whole part of the industry that I like and got me interested in film. With the limited amount of power I have I would love to use it to get indies which never would be made or seen, hopefully seen. And also I just want seem cool!"

What do you think the Twilight fans will think of this?

"I think they’ll like it. I’m not particularly worried about that at all. The only thing they wouldn’t like is the same thing that anyone wouldn’t like – if it was shit. But I think it’s a good film. Some people will be like ‘whaaat?’ but no-one’s going to be offended by it. It’s quite a funny film, essentially."

What was it like working with Paul Giamatti?

"I shot a lot in the limo and all the other actors had to enter my world there. Then my scenes with Paul were huge scenes in a different environment and probably the most nerve-wracking scenes. We had 5 days to shoot 19 pages and we ended up shooting it in a day and half. Almost every take in it is the first take. And the scene where I shot myself in the hand was all one 4-minute take. It’s crazy."

Seems like you work relentlessly – do you ever take a break?

"I inadvertently took a really long break. I didn’t want to, but I haven’t worked for 10 months – I mean, not working on a film, I did other stuff, I didn’t just sit there – but I’ll probably work for five years now. I really want to do something soon."

Cosmopolis opens 15 June 2012.

Read our Cosmopolis review.

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