Robert Pattinson: “You Begin To Worry About Never Working Again.”

05 February 2020
Culture, INTERVIEW, Celebrity, Film, Fragrance, Dior Homme, The Batman, The Lighthouse, Robert Pattinson, Twilight
Image: Mikael Jansson

The next Batman talks Twilight, fragrance and trying to find work

What?” says Robert Pattinson from beyond the crackling and hissing of the phone line from Paris. “What?” I reply mid-his ‘what’, adding to the static-y commotion of the call. “What?” He says again, following a brief pause and which just about turns the whole thing into an impromptu take on a scene from his 2019 movie, The Lighthouse. In it, he and Willem Dafoe barked the word at each other, with increased madness, around 54 times. That makes me Dafoe on this call and, reasonably enough, confusion reigns.

Read More: How Joaquin Phoenix lost 50lbs to play Joker

The face of Dior Homme since 2013, Pattinson’s career trajectory has an authenticity that you rarely see in other actors. Whether in the sticky heat of an all-consuming franchise like Twilight, the grit and complexity of movies such as High Life and Good Time, or the intensity of what’s next – The Batman in 2021 – the 33-year-old takes risks with form and genre in his stride.

There’s a boldness to his style choices, too. Big fits, sharp tailoring, the air tie – yeah, Pattinson was on to that way before last year’s red carpet caught up. In many ways, that’s why he makes perfect sense as the face of the fragrance. A guy that evokes the likes of Brando and Dean, who can never quite be pinned down, who somehow manages to reinvent the notion of classic with each passing year.

The fragrance itself? Well you can expect a rich, woody scent with bergamot hits and subtle pink peppercorn notes. It’s a straight-to-the-point scent that’s mirrored in the accompanying short film. Directed by French avant-garde duo, The Blaze, there’s a swaggering beauty to it all, with iconic NYC as the backdrop and punctuated by the swaying, hypnotic dancing of Pattinson. But more on that later. For now, phone lines have been changed, problems have been solved, and we get to work.

You don’t often stop and think about the fame...

“It was only post-Twilight that I realised I’d been working non-stop for around six years. You don’t really appreciate how intense that is. It was only when I began to slow down and take stock of things that I was like, ‘Whoa, I’m in a very different place now’. It’s kind of scary when that realisation creeps in.”

Taking your foot off the gas makes you think...

“It’s a strange feeling. At first you’re concerned with not working every day, then, after a while, you begin to worry about never working again! I had that fear for quite a while.”

Accidental decisions can sometimes make life easier...

“At the height of the madness, you go from nobody knowing you, to everybody knowing you. It felt like that happened in around a month. But as I was constantly working, I was always on a movie set, more often than not I was insulated from what was going on outside.”

It’s funny but...

“When it [Twilight] ended, a part of me thought that I would just go back to my old life. Things would be back to normal. But, of course, that life wasn’t really available any more.”

It’s better to fall into acting by chance...

“I honestly believe that this has kept me mentally healthy throughout it all. If you really desire and chase fame – and then get it – it can be a dangerous thing.”

Find your crew – particularly when you like their vibe...

“[The Blaze] had actually DJ’d a party for my film Good Time which was premiering in Cannes. Obviously I’d watched their videos a bunch of times, and I’d always wanted to collaborate with them. They just always seemed to elicit such a great, emotional response from the people in their films that I was really intrigued.”

The process for the Dior film was very different...

“They’re young guys, so the job itself was lots of fun. I’d loved the previous campaign that I’d done with Romain [Gavras], but I was always going to him for reassurance, and discussing ideas with him.

The dancing can make you nervous...

“That was my only concern for the new campaign. But I was lucky to have two directors in place that were happy to dance along with me. They were basically standing next to the camera going through all these examples of ridiculous dance moves, so it was a lot less embarrassing for me. I’m not sure how many other directors would have done the same.”

Always try to do the opposite...

“Every job I take, it has to be completely different from the last, otherwise what’s the point?”

You don’t go down the indie route to distance yourself from Twilight...

“At least not consciously. It would be crazy to try and replicate one success elsewhere. And I do have quite specific tastes. But indie movies can be fragile. That world is really wild, and finance for a picture can disappear in a heartbeat.”

There was a time when finding work was difficult...

“I’d liked the direction that my career had been going for the last five or six years, but it was so difficult to find jobs that would also keep the momentum going forwards.”

Every year there was panic...

“The problem was that, even if I had a job, because it was an indie there was no guarantee it would reach the cinema. I did a few that just fell apart. Not on the day we were to start shooting, not in pre-production, but in production itself. I’d literally get a call from a producer telling me that the whole movie had fallen apart.”

But when you do find the great parts, it’s worth it...

“Working on The Lighthouse last year, was just such a great experience. It’s always fun when the movie is just about you and one other person because there’s no waiting around. And when the other person is Willem Dafoe, well, then it’s just a real gift.”

I’m Your Man fragrance, $155, Dior Homme