Twilight - Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart interview
Interview by Rob Carnevale
ROBERT Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, the stars of vampire romance Twilight, talk about the pressures of living up to expectation now and in the future, coping with screaming fans and creating the right kind of sexual tension.
They also discuss why they hope they won’t become typecast in the future and what it’s like to get on a bus that has your picture on the side of it.
Q. At what point in the process of making the film did you become aware just how important it was to the readers of the book?
Kristen Stewart: I knew how important it was to a small group of people; I didn’t realise how widespread they were. I felt like one of them initially and then I realised I was going to be in this film. When we were making the movie I thought it was going to be a cult film. I didn’t think we’d have to come to London and do press conferences and things like that.
Q. But did you read the book as well as the screenplay? How did you find your way through the material you had at your disposal?
Kristen Stewart: I read the book shortly after I got the part. I was working on something else at the time of the audition, so I was being something of a snobby actor in that I was saying: “No, no… let me finish this one thing and then I’ll come home and read all the scripts that you want me to read!” But then I realised this was actually quite a big deal and I subsequently read the book after I spent four hours in a room talking with Catherine about some of the scenes.
Q. Robert, you’ve tasted this kind of thing before with your experience of Harry Potter. Did that in any way prepare you for the madness in Leicester Square during the UK premiere?
Robert Pattinson: No, not really. I don’t think anything can. I don’t know why I’m not getting used to it because everything about Twilight has things to do with screaming [laughs]. Screaming and Twilight are now in the same sentence whenever it’s mentioned. But I’m still completely overwhelmed by it.
Q. But in terms of living up to the fans’ expectations concerning the characters, you’ve clearly done that. So that must be a source of relief?
Robert Pattinson: Yeah. They’d probably kill us otherwise. They almost killed us before the thing came out!
Q. How did you work on developing the sexual tension that exists between your characters?
Robert Pattinson: I used to sometimes just run into Kristen’s bedroom naked! [laughs] To keep shocking her! But seriously, it’s funny because all the romantic scenes are all pivotal moments in the movie… but I’m never really sure how to answer that question. It was worrying, though, because we were both wearing contact lenses and so much of it is to do with visual eye contact. So, we both had these kind of masks over our eyeballs, and so it was really worrying the whole time that there wouldn’t be anything between us. It was lucky that there was, I guess.
Q. What is the fascination with showing vampires that are good? There have been a few examples lately…
Robert Pattinson: I think there are probably a lot of reasons for it. But I think today it’s a way you can present violence as something that isn’t too bad. For some reason humans are very accepting of the vampiric violence. If Luke Perry in Buffy just went around… if he was just some kid who went around killing people all the time it would have had a very different slant. But he’s a vampire and people accept it. They say: “Oh that’s fine; he kills people but he’s a vampire!” They can understand it. That’s probably the worst possible answer [laughs].
Q. There’s very much an element of sexual abstinence… it’s more about the anticipation. How essential was that?
Robert Pattinson: Well, if you’ve ever tried to watch a feature length porno… it’s tough [laughs].
Q. Has your life changed a great deal since being a part of this franchise? Do you live in the States now?
Robert Pattinson: I’m not really living there. I was, on and off, for 15 months. But I haven’t changed that much… in my head I don’t think I’ve changed. It can be strange to have people following you to your house… But the whole thing with the screaming, it seems so separate still. I can go on the Tube, for instance, and hardly anybody knows who I am. But then you can go to these premieres and people scream at you. It feels like they’ve all been paid to be there. It’s like: “Right, all the screamers, you have to be in this spot at 7.30pm!” So, it’s odd.
Q. What about when you’re walking up Oxford Street and your face goes past on a bus?
Robert Pattinson: That’s scary! It’s like being in 1984 – you see your reflection everywhere. It’s not good for someone who suffers from extreme paranoia [laughs]. Luckily, I don’t get out of the house too much.
Q. Have you ever got on a bus with your face on it?
Robert Pattinson: I think I did once. During Harry Potter, I was actually looking after someone from America and I actually had food poisoning and passed out on the bus. It was just when Harry Potter came out and this person who got me up said: “Is that you [on the poster]?” I was like, “yes, it is”.
Q. Your songs are used in the film. Were you ever intending for them to be made public?
Robert Pattinson: One of the songs was written by two friends of mine and that’s one of the reasons I liked the idea of it. I grew up with a whole bunch of musicians and so I thought it would be good for them. I don’t really have any intention of releasing an album, but I thought it would be quite good for them. I think there’s a bit of a stigma attached to actors who release music. So, maybe I’ll try and release an album anonymously or something, or wait ‘til I’m unemployable.
Q. Do you still stay in touch with the local theatre group you started out with?
Robert Pattinson: The theatre company was just a place I went to because a lot of the pretty girls went there. That was the only reason I went and I worked backstage. I only started acting when all the good people left and I was the only one tall enough to play the lead [laughs]. But I guess I did learn quite a lot from it. It didn’t really make me decide to become an actor. But it definitely helped me out. I got my agent from there and I definitely wouldn’t be an actor if I hadn’t gone there.
Q. Are you worried that a role like this may typecast you in terms of what you might be offered in the future?
Kristen Stewart: I think there are some people who will always consider us as these characters. I don’t really know. I guess all I can try and do is work on things that are different. I just did another film where I play a character who could not be more different. I play a 15-year-old runaway who’s a very broken kid. She could not be more different from Bella. If I was just playing Bella for the rest of my life as an actress, I’d be quite miserable. But I’ve also just been cast as Joan Jett in a new movie called The Runaways, which is also quite different.
Robert Pattinson: I guess it makes it a little scarier to decide what your next job is. But if you choose carefully and you try to do good movies, then people don’t care. Hopefully I won’t get typecast.
Q. Presumably, you’ll be involved in the sequel? And does that add any pressure now?
Robert Pattison: It’s terrifying because we really had nothing to lose on the first one. But now it’s harder to build up the amount of hype, especially in America, because this time it was so fresh and new, and the timing was perfect. So, I think it will be tough and harder to do it next year.
Kristen Stewart: I’ll be involved for sure. I believe we start in the beginning of next year. I usually only do little movies and typically they never see the light of day and I usually have this huge grieving process afterwards. But in this case I get to follow her for an incredibly long amount of time… so I’m excited. The pressure might be a little tougher but the process will hopefully be the same.
- Buy the 2-disc DVD (Amazon)
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- Buy it on Blu-ray (Amazon)
- Read our review
- Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart interview
- Catherine Hardwicke interview
- View photos from Twilight
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- Twilight: UK premiere photos
- Twilight: Opening weekend hits $70m-plus
- Twilight: US box office strong, reviews mixed
- Twilight soundtrack reviewed
- Buy the soundtrack (Amazon)
- Read our preview of the film