Robert Pattinson appears a little befuddled. The Twilight heart-throb has come straight from a night-shoot on the movie he’s filming, Water For Elephants, into our interview. In real life, Rob couldn’t be further removed from the character he plays in the Twilight saga, Edward Cullen. He’s warm, funny, and, in sharp contrast to Edward, very relaxed. There are no pouts and fiery-eyed stares from Pattinson. He and co-star Kristen Stewart will not discuss their off-screen relationship, despite ’jokingly’ stealing a kiss on stage at the MTV Movie Awards in June, but he’s happy to talk about anything else, from the serious to the trivial. Clearly, he was not built for superstardom – he finds the interview process awkward – but he’s loosened up since his early pre-Twilight interviews and luckily he’s not cursed with an A-lister’s ego. Dressed in jeans and white shirt, his famously wild hair neatly cropped, he settles down for a natter about life…
Have your mates ever called you Edward by mistake?
People have called me Edward – not family, that would be weird! My mates might have done it to rib me. They don’t really know about Twilight, but some of them found out about this R-Pattz thing, so now one of them always calls me R-Pattz, which he thinks is hilarious.
Edward can read thoughts. If we could hear your thoughts, what would they sound like?
Complete silence, dust blowing in the wind. Or maybe just like white noise…
What aspects of Edward do you most identify with?
It’s changed a bit in this film. In the first two, I guess there was his feeling that you can’t relate to anyone, or no one can relate to you. I was like, ’I never want to talk to anyone’. I used to feel like that when I was younger. I’ve grown up now.
Are you a traditionalist, like Edward?
It is quite pronounced in the movie, and I respect that, but when I work on other films, I want to play really amoral characters. I don’t feel like I have to stand by his values, but I respect them. I guess courtship is a good thing, but only if it’s pleasurable. Some people meet each other in a bar and sleep with each other that night, then stay with each other for the rest of their lives. Or they could stay with each other and never get married. It just doesn’t make any difference.
You definitely play an amoral character in your next film, Bel Ami.
Yes. There’s something fun about Bel Ami, going from Edward to some guy who pretty much abuses women to get money out of them. Edward so wouldn’t approve – and I thought that was a funny irony. In Bel Ami all the women my character screws over are all attracted to him to begin with, so he starts having affairs with them and destroys their lives.
You are much less intense than Edward, clearly…
I don’t know, I guess in a lot of ways. I think the main thing is he’s very extreme in his way of thinking, and I’m not like that. I don’t think in such absolutes, like ’I can’t be with this girlfriend, I’m going to kill myself!’ It’s quite a teenage thing.
Can you go out anywhere without being mobbed?
In LA, sometimes I can. I wish I still had the beard I wore for Bel Ami. It was a good disguise. But LA is definitely harder than London, although London’s changed recently. The good thing about Britain in that respect is that people are often too embarrassed to come and say stuff. They’re embarrassed to have even seen you. I used to go into the same HMV shop all the time and they had New Moon posters everywhere, and I was worried I’d get stalked, but the guys at the counter would not even look at me, even though there were posters everywhere.
How hard is it to dodge the paps in London?
I can’t believe I was photographed recently going to buy underpants with my best friend in Marks & Spencer. They were 5ft away – we were going to have this nice little day, and they photographed me buying underpants!
So you can laugh it off?
Yeah, the only time things matter is when people start calling my family for stories. That gets in the way. 99 per cent of stuff is just made up. The thing is, the more stuff is reported, the more it starts to affect your career. If you’re constantly in gossip magazines people think, ’He’s not a proper actor, he’s just a gossip person.’
Do you want to step out of the limelight?
I want to produce a film. It would be so satisfying to turn up to work and not have to go into costume or make-up. You stand behind the monitor and don’t even have the responsibility of the director.
You recently said you think you might be dead by 30. What was that about?
I was talking about luck running out. When I was doing interviews for Harry Potter, I was thinking, ’I don’t want this to be all the luck in my life.’ So now I’m getting ridiculously lucky and I wonder if I might suffer some punishment at the hands of the universe and be dead by the time I’m 30. I like to believe in fate, so I’m not responsible for anything!
You’re working with animals on Water For Elephants. How’s that?
Almost every day I’m working with an exotic animal; there are scenes where I’m leading buffalo and elephants into cages. It’s insane, like I got bitten on the arm by a lion with no teeth. They were like, ’It’s fine, he does it all the time.’ And I was like, ’Erm, OK…’ But they had to get him to do it harder, because he was being so gentle and just licking my arm.
Is it true you’re going to play Kurt Cobain in the Nirvana movie?
Sometimes these things just appear. I love Nirvana, but I love them a bit too much – I’d be embarrassed. And you see all these comments, like from Courtney Love, saying ’What the f*ck! He’s totally wrong for it’, and I’m like, ’I f*cking said no, you d*ck!’ I didn’t get offered it. For one thing, I’m too tall, and I can’t sing like him, I’m nothing like him!’ It’s ridiculous.