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Remember Me - Robert Pattinson interview

Remember Me

Interview by Rob Carnevale

ROBERT Pattinson talks about his new film, Remember Me, what appealed about the character of Tyler, the themes of the movie and working with Pierce Brosnan as his father.

He also talks about how he chooses projects outside of the Twilight movies and why brooding is a new term for him…

Q. What did you like about the script when you were approached?
Robert Pattinson: I’d read tons of scripts over the summer, after I did Twilight – I mean hundreds… and everything just seemed exactly the same. This one initially stood out in the way the dialogue was written – it just seemed much more naturalistic than most things. Tyler as a character – it seems that most movies which have a young male protagonist as the lead have to be either a virgin, or have to learn everything during the movie, or they always go through the trials of the movie and end up a different person and they’re completely fine afterwards. But Tyler starts off with a lot of baggage and a very full and developed character, and ends up being developed in a slightly different way, rather than: “Oh I’m fine now!” You just never see that in films very much, especially for young people’s parts.

Q. How was working with Pierce Brosnan as your father?
Robert Pattinson: I never ever would have thought initially it would have been someone like Pierce playing Charles. I think he has an innate likeability to him, as soon as you meet him he’s very, very charismatic. Charles, on the page, was someone who’s very domineering and quite a negative character, and Pierce just by being Pierce can change the whole dynamic of it, which made for a much for interesting relationship. He’s a really nice guy.

Q. You’re very sweet with the young girl playing your sister. It seems like a very natural relationship. Tell us about how you made it seem that way?
Robert Pattinson: It’s all down to Ruby Jerins, who plays her. I don’t have any younger brothers or sisters… I’ve got two older sisters. I kind of think I always wanted a younger sibling – not that I have anything against my sisters [laughs]. But she’s just one of the best actresses I’ve ever worked with. She’s surprisingly articulate about her character. When I first met her, she seemed like a very, very normal kid, and then the more she talked about her character’s development, she could talk about it for hours. And she could also improvise for hours and was so comfortable in front of a camera and working with adults. It was very easy to do anything with her. You could just look at her and know what to do immediately.

Q. At what point did you realise you could use your powers for good and through your success help finance movies like this? And what pressures are there on you to make other stuff that might earn more money but be less satisfying?
Robert Pattinson: I never like anything, so it’s quite easy to decide what to do – even movies I’m not in [laughs]! I’ve never felt any pressure to do anything, particularly. Even when we were shooting it, I never thought about the box office… it’s only when it came to promoting it that you’re asked about that stuff. Obviously, it’s not like a Twilight movie, it’s an original screenplay, and it doesn’t fit into any genre… it’s not really that much of a feel-good movie. They don’t make movies like it anymore. I think that’s how I kind of choose stuff. That’s the only criteria I really have. If there seems to be a gap in the market for something, then I try and do that. I’m trying to do that with all the other things I’m doing afterwards.

Q. How were you with the New York accent?
Robert Pattinson: I think it just came out of the script. I pretty much had the same voice from the first time I read the script to the whole way through the movie. Sometimes when you’re lucky, you just read a script and the voice comes out right. I wasn’t even conscious of doing a New York accent – I don’t even know what borough or anything! I’ve spent a bit of time in New York, and just tried to pick up on how people speak. But I don’t know where my accent is now – I wouldn’t say I’ve specifically got a London accent anymore.

Q. Your character has a buddy, Aiden, who becomes increasingly important to him. Do you have a real-life equivalent – a male buddy? And your sister in the movie regards your character as a hero to protect her – do you have a hero?
Robert Pattinson: I’ve grown up with the same friends since I was 12. I have a very, very close-knit set of them. As for the hero – I think I’m always kind envious of that. I grew up with people that a lot of other people regarded as heroes, but no-one ever kind to me for advice or protection – so I think I’ve been left out as a hero! As regards my own heroes, outside of my family I don’t really know… they are great people, my parents are great parents and they brought me up very well. I think that’s about all the heroes I have.

Q. How important is the reaction of your fans to this, being such a different, more low-key project to Twilight?
Robert Pattinson: I always felt it’s the most important thing you can do, doing films like this, which are quite difficult, I would have thought, to just generically advertise and get out to people. Having something like Twilight and Lost gives it publicity immediately. So, if people go to see it… once you’ve got them into the cinema, then it’s almost inevitable that they’ll get drawn into it, hopefully. Obviously, you hope people like things, but if you start doing stuff to please a certain audience then you’re going in the wrong direction – because you can never please people by deciding for them, you don’t even know the people you’re trying to please… especially when you’re trying to please huge swathes of people!

Q. What is it that attracts you to deep and brooding types like Tyler and Edward, and might you do a comedy?
Robert Pattinson: I did do lighter stuff before Twilight came out. It just so happened that Twilight has become so much about this archetypal, brooding person. I never thought Tyler was that brooding, to be honest! I never even heard the word before Twilight. I guess you like to play broken, troubled characters because that’s more interesting, especially because I’m not particularly broken or troubled myself. I’m doing something now which is still quite dark but the character isn’t so fractured… it’s someone who is incredibly focused and has a lot of confidence in himself. Nothing can shake his confidence. After that, I think there’s a lighter thing as well. It’s not really that they’re angsty… joy seems to be a universal emotion but in scripts, it’s quite difficult – if you’re happy, you’re happy.

Q. Can you talk about the progression of your character – did you always have a clear view of how you were going to play him?
Robert Pattinson: Well, the script changed so much over seven months, and had lots of re-writes. I spoke a lot to Nick and Alan [Coulter], the director, and the writers, Will and Jenny. I tried to tailor things to what I was interested in. The relationship with the Dad changed quite a lot… because I thought, when you’re a young guy, one of your biggest fears, is an irrational fear of walking in your dad’s footsteps and living the same life as him.

Even if your dad’s a good guy, you just want to assert your independence on everything and that causes irrational rages. It developed into something quite different and specific from the first reading. But I always feel pretty connected to it. I thought it was a great template from the beginning. The other thing that was interesting about it was how it dealt with grief. Tyler doesn’t deal with grief in the typical way. Dealing with sorrow is a noble emotion and grief when your young can be very cheap in a lot of ways… and I thought that was quite interesting how Tyler does want to forget about his past.

Q. Tyler is quite an angry, punchy young man. How did you psyche yourself up for the fight scenes, and have you ever been in a fight?
Robert Pattinson: I haven’t been in a fight for quite a long time. I’m too scared now. I think if I got into a fight now, I’d go: “Just kill me!” I liked a lot of Tyler’s character, the rebelliousness and the audaciousness of it, because it’s kind of like a fantasy of myself. Like: “I’m the type of guy who just randomly gets into fights… getting into them all the time.” I’m not really.

Q. How was fighting Chris Cooper?
Robert Pattinson: Chris Cooper is unbelievably strong… he’s terrifying! Also, the fight I had at the beginning, I was doing it with the big stunt guy and I was hitting a thing next to his head, and hit him with what I thought was my full strength, I hit his face about four times, and every time I was going: “I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” And he said, “It’s fine, it doesn’t really hurt.” That was kind of an ego-deflater.

Q. When an Australian and a Brit working together did it provide the backdrop for a shared sense of humour?
Robert Pattinson: On the day of the audition, when Emilie got the part, we went to a bar afterwards, and I swear Emily, who’s the tiniest girl, drank about 24 beers and was stone-cold sober afterwards! I thought… this is different, this is something for the character!

Read our review of Remember Me

Read our interview with Emilie de Ravin