Robert Pattinson
Image: Getty

Just before he sparkled his way onto screen as Edward Cullen in the film adaption of the Twilight series, Robert Pattinson flaunted his cheekbones and general Britishness as Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In 2005 if you were to have asked me who my favorite actor was, I probably would have said Robert Pattinson, even though he speaks fewer than twenty lines in Harry Potter. The cheekbones spoke for themselves.

According to a recent interview with The Guardian, if you were to ask Robert Pattison who his favorite actor is, he’d probably say Bruce Willis, and he might not even consider himself much of an actor.

Robert Pattinson is convinced he doesn’t know how to act. Willem Dafoe can act, Pattinson thinks. Willem Dafoe can act the socks off anyone in the business. And Joaquin Phoenix. Joaquin Phoenix could tie his shoelaces on film and be nominated for an award. And Bruce Willis – Bruce Willis! – now there’s a leading man. But Robert Pattinson? Nope. “I only know how to play scenes, like, three ways,” he says. Three! That’s all. Despite more than a decade in the industry. “I’m nervous on, like, every single movie.”

Advertisement

At least one of those three ways he knows how to act a scene, as we come to discover over the course of the the interview, manifests in some, uh, rather physical ways.

While filming The Lighthouse, Pattison said that he would punch himself in the face, spin until he was dizzy, or drink mud from a puddle in order to get into character. Now, I don’t know a lot about acting, but if that’s what it is I saw plenty of award-worthy performances at the large state school where I went to college.

“Because I don’t really know how to act, I kind of wanted to somehow make it real, and one of the ways I’ve always thought makes that a little bit easier is if you shake up your physical state just before action. You end up walking into a scene having a different” – pause – “feeling.”

Occasionally, Pattinson would gag so hard he’d throw up. “And I forgot I had a mic on the whole time, so the producers and the director, before every single take of the movie, would get…” He sits back in the booth and makes a loud retching sound. “It kind of puts everyone else off.” What did his co-star think? “I don’t know, I was too engrossed in my gagging.”

Advertisement

I’m curious to find out if Pattinson plans to employ the same kind of method acting in his upcoming role as Batman in 2021's The Batman. It’s the first film he’s filmed in a proper studio in quite sometime and happens to be filming, to Pattison’s great pleasure, in the same studio where he filmed scenes for Harry Potter back in 2005.

I suppose we will have to wait until the film wraps to determine which of the three ways he will choose to act his scenes, but should things go south he does have a plan B.

And what will he do if all of his worst case scenarios play out? If he never gets Batman’s vibe? He thinks for a minute, then tosses back the head and gives the big giggle. “Porn,” he says. “But art house porn.”

Advertisement

As it turns out, his gagging technique may be put to better use than he previously thought.

Weekends at Jezebel, freelance writer living in San Francisco. Please clap.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter