The chiselled Brit teen idol tells LWLies about his work on The Rover and his swift transformation into an actor who’s always up for a challenge.
Robert Pattinson’s star power still burns across the globe but all he wants to do with it is make interesting art house movies. David Michôd’s The Rover fits that bill. Pattinson stars opposite Guy Pearce as a splash of humanity in a violent vision of post-apocalyptic Australia. We spoke to him at the Cannes Film Festival, where he also had David Cronenberg’s Maps To the Stars on the docket.
LWLies: David Michôd has said that there’s a very angry man – aka him – at the heart of The Rover. What emotions did you draw from for it and what emotions do you think it conjures?
Pattinson: It definitely conjures a lot of dread and anxiety but it was the character I was reading from. Also the first thing I connected to was purely a stylistic thing. Clean writing and also having it so stark. It was so original, even the way it looked on the page.
What did you find interesting about Rey when he first came into your life?
I thought it was quite interesting to read something where you actually can’t tell if the guy’s mentally handicapped or not. I asked David at the beginning in the auditions whether he was or not and he was like, ‘I don’t know. Maybe’ and then we established that he was someone who has just been really severely bullied or someone that has been told that he’s mentally handicapped his whole life but it’s more to do with confidence. He’s really shy and people around him, his family, are really rough and have been slapping him around his whole life and so he’s decided that he can’t be his own person. He’s never even attempted to think for himself or speak for himself or anything. It was interesting, the only time when he is his own person is when a horrible man forces him into it.
He goes from being the only peaceful person left alive to not being that anymore.
I don’t think he even really knows what’s happening. I think you can force anyone to be anything. Eric is trying to make Rey more like him. I guess Rey sort of does become just like Eric in the end. He’s been forced to be someone who he’s not, even though it’s out of his comfort zone. He is better. He can stand up for himself a little more but it’s in this totally backward and weird way that’s completely pointless. And I think Eric looks at what he’s done. He’s created a monster and can see himself for this first time and it makes him reflect.
With Rey I was always interested in that dynamic where a husband is beating up their wife and the wife keeps coming back all the time and the worse the husband is the more the woman thinks he loves her and I like transferring that to the relationship of Rey and Eric slightly. I kept thinking that I hadn’t really seen that in a movie. I was kind of looking at it as a love story. There were scenes where I was trying to flirt with Guy.
Was he receptive to your advances?
He had no idea. Neither did David. I said half-way through, ‘You know I’m playing this as a love story.’ In one scene when he was kicking me I tried to put my hand up the back of his shorts. It was cut out of the movie. Read more…