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Robert Pattinson, The Phoenix
Is there a life after Twilight? That's the question the actor is trying to answer to, filming in art-house cinema and working with Dior.
"The most important thing is to be cool". After 5 years spent in the eye of the Hollywood cyclone, Robert Pattinson finally got it. It did not appear to him like this while walking his dog in Los Angeles. We always sensed a sort of uneasiness when talking to him. And even Robert himslef had some trouble hiding (maybe he's not really trying) that he wasn't really fit for the movies he was idolized for. "Playing in movies that you would never go see, it complicates things, it's hard to talk about it, hard to promote it, hard to connect with the public. Until I met David Cronenberg who hired me to play in Cosmopolis, I always felt like I just fell into roles, that I didn't really get to choose. I was trying not to sink. For the first time, I felt like I had been chosen for my talent. David gave me confidence. It changed how I see myself as an actor."
Not the best moment to become the face of an important perfume brand, lend his face (for a lot of money) to Dior Homme and see his image on every billboards around the world? Well, not really. Of course, Dior is not the first to solicit Rob Patz. Before, others certainly thought about making money off of the huge popularity of the Twilight actor. But it seems like the honorable French house found the right words to convince him. Well, more like the right word : freedom. Pattinson used it to realize his dream : shooting with Romain Gravas, a French underground and talented director who alternated between the super cool (the music video "Bad Girls" with M.I.A) and the super controversial (the music video "Stress" with Justice). "It's been a while since I have been trying to contact him and he wasn't answering my calls. When Dior approached me, I told myself "I'm sure he would like to work with me if I was offering a Dior commercial"". Bingo! Gavras accepted the challenge and restored the actor's image looking for an artistic legitimacy while helping Dior building a successful campaign.
The movie he directed is indeed a champagne bobble, a concentrate of coolness with sixties influence in which Rob and model Camille Rowe are being playful, smoke cigarettes, drive carelessly an old BMW convertible on the beach... A very New Wave atmosphere, seductive and fresh. Like a groupie, the actor expresses his admiration for Gravas the anarchist : "He sees the world in a complete different way. he's very confident. I am more neurotic, it's irritating but at the same time, my insecurity is the only thing I find interesting about myself".
Let it be clear, with Robert Pattinson, there's a significant misunderstanding. His love-affair with Kristen Stewart, all the highs and lows of this relationship and the break-up a few months ago didn't help matters. And he knows it : "People saw me in a couple of movies and think this is who I am. It's natural. Now it's my responsibility to look for directors who I want to work with. I try to do it but I have to overcome my timidity. It happened to me a few days ago, I met one of my heroes at a diner party. I texted him the next day saying I wanted to work with him. After 3 hours without hearing anything from him, I was on the verge of sending him another text like "I'm sorry, I'm sorry that was so presumptuous of me ". But he finally texted me back!".
Fragile like a young girl in love, Pattinson has that combination of passion and extreme lucidity that make his professional day to day life difficult. Once again, Cosmopolis and his first appearance at the Cannes Festival were a turn in his career: "I promised myself to only do what I wanted to do". Not really easy in the country of super-productions where the professionals were telling him to build himself an masculine public. "I don't even know what it means "building a masculine public!" I can't force guys to go see my movies!" he says laughing. But the young actor he's not that naive and understood that being cool was the condition in order for the independent filmmakers to take a interest in him. "In fact, it's marketing, and what's important in marketing is to be coherent. It means saying no to a lot of propositions. Of course, the risk in this business that is always evolving is to say no to projects until the moment when projects aren't sent your way anymore. "When that happens, I'll just go and do Dancing with the Stars".
For the time being, he is said to be playing in the next Werner Herzog movie with James Franco and Naomi Watts (he's not confirming anything) and he just finished filming The Rover, the first movie directed by David Michôd who wrote "Hesher" and "Animal Kingdom", a close friend of the Edgerton brothers. The gang it's good to be seen with to be accepted by the aficionados of independent movies in the US. He then will be reunited with his fairy godmother Cronenberg in "Maps to the Stars" written by Bruce Wagner, a flagship figure of the new generation of American writers.
So, even if he likes to hide behind his geeky and tortured persona, Pattinson is not lacking determination and he's valiantly building a career that is beginning to look like him. After all, DiCaprio was also subjected to young girls shouting their admiration and Brad Pitt showed some abs in "Thelma & Louise" and even in several episodes of Dallas before David Finche, Neil Jordan or Terry Gilliam gave him more substantial roles. Nobody blamed them for it. And we will forgive Rob Pattz for playing in not so great movies. Especially since, laughing, he promises, under the gaze of his new Dior female colleagues to make an effort on the fashion side : "I like fashion but I'm not really comfortable with the idea of being judged by what I'm wearing so I'm always wearing the same clothes. But look, I have this Dior jacket that I was given and I wear it everyday!". It's never too late Rob. Let's hope that even with a impeccable look he will never lose his frankness. "A few months ago I started designing women dresses, couture dresses...". He burst out laughing. "I was certainly having a nervous breakdown!". Fragile, touching and irresistibly sexy despite himself. Pattinson, the teen idol, has become a man.
Enough of vampires, werewolves and sugary romances. The british actor Robert Pattinson, who earned worldwide fame and millions of dollars to star in the five instalments of The Twilight Saga is completely redirecting his career to more dense and original projects. His most recent choices have been critically acclaimed, as are his performances.
The starting point of this transition was the movie Cosmopolis, by David Cronenberg, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. In this talkie film, he plays Eric Packer, an expert in the world of finances, who spends his time inside a limo, receiving unusual visitors, whilst a major crisis erupts outside the car.
Bel Ami (which premiered in Brazil in 2012), based on the work of Guy de Maupassant, starring Uma Thruman; Mission: Blacklist (in pre-production), where he plays a soldier who helps in the hunt of Saddam Hussein; and The Rover (shot this year), where he portrays a mentally disturbed man, are other great examples of the actor's current phase. Last july he started filming a new movie with Cronenberg, Maps To The Stars, a mixture of drama and black humor, inspired by society's obsession with the celebrity industry.
And the news don't stop there: The boy who started doing theater at 15 years old, in Barnes Theatre Company, and had a brief modelling career is the new face of the fragranceDior Homme. To represent such an important brand and be able to work with partners he admire (the photographer Nan Goldin and filmmaker Romain Gavras) were the necessary fuel he needed to jump on this "wild" adventure, in his own words, inspired by James Dean's quote: "Dream as you'll live forever. Live as you'll die today." Check out the interview:
After Twilight, your career has been going through lots of transformations. How's this transition going?
I just turned 27 and only now I'm realizing no one looks at me like I'm a kid anymore. Being an actor is weird, and the idea of success changes through the years. But there's the good side of fame as well: I don't have to work just for the money. So now I'm trying to use my time, my energy and my influences to make interesting choices no one else is making. Indeed, there's something about Dior's work that is very similar to my current state of being: an almost agressive independence!
The partnership with Cronenberg seems to be going really well.
I had such a good experience in Cosmopolis! David is an incredible person, and the most fun, intriguing man to work with I've ever met. He has been making movies for the last 40 years, and every film he makes shows just how unusual he is. We started shooting his new movie recently. It's called Maps To The Stars, with Julianne Moore and John Cusack. The scripts of these two films are amongst the most original ones I've ever read, that's why I hope to continue working with him forever.
You just closed the partnership with Dior. Was the invite for the campaign a surprise?
When Dior contacted me, I was truly shocked at first because their name alone is almost mythical. It's a very sofisticated fashion house, that never compromises their image. They approached me in the right way and at the right time because Twilight was coming to an end. I remember I was impressed when I met with the creative team and saw that they had an extremely open mind. Their interest was in an artistic collaboration, more than the commercial itself.
Why did you choose Romain Gavras to direct Dior's film?
I've wanted to work with him for a long time. To be honest, I tried to get in contact with him for about a year. He used to be like: "I'm not going to talk to you". Until I told him that I wanted him to direct Dior's commercial. That's when he finally met me! (laughs) He has a visual language completely different from everything I've seen before.
And how was the job?
Romain made it happen! We were driving along a beach in a tiny BMW and there were 6 meters of sand. If I slowed down, the car was going to sink, so, we were going at 90 miles/hour with a camera in the car. The car was skidding a lot and there were three models inside of it, for whom I was responsible. All I know is that after about 2 hours the car got in the water and the bumper fell off. It was wild!
Do you think that perfume is essencial to all men?
When I was 12 and started talking more to girls, I used to think that wearing perfume was the right thing to do. I remember being on vacation in Portugal and watching teenagers going inside bars. I used to think that if I smelled like perfume I was going to convince everyone that I was an adult. And the worst thing is that it worked! Perfume and hair gel were my best friends that summer! (laughs)
How do you spend your free time?
I'm so boring! I spend all day on the Internet looking at what young directors are doing. Right now, I'm also trying to develop a script with a friend.
We know that you are a musician and plays guitar. Do you have any musical project?
I still play guitar and I really have been rehearsing a lot more now than I used to. But I really don't play on a concert or anything like that for years.