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Q&A: 'Twilight' star Robert Pattinson

(originally published Nov. 17, 2008)

In conversation, "Twilight" star and sudden mega-heartthrob Robert Pattinson frequently breaks into a giddy, surprised laugh—like he can't believe the silliness of becoming, seemingly overnight, the sort of actor who receives questions about his hair and the love of thousands of screaming girls.

You can't blame him for being a bit overwhelmed. The anticipation for the big screen adaptation of Stephanie Meyer's hit novel—about immortal vampire Edward Cullen (Pattinson) and his star-crossed love Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), whom he's constantly tempted to kill—has passed "massive" on its way to "out of control." Aside from the onslaught of posters, articles and interviews about the movie, teen girls are starting riots at malls just for the chance to meet Pattinson, who previously was best known for his small role as Cedric Diggory in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."

Despite the constant blitz of screaming, squealing fans, Pattinson says he not only doesn't get used to the attention but feels like it causes him to convulse and sweat profusely. Metromix talked to the 22-year-old English actor about becoming a vampire, not washing his hair and whether or not he's really a "sexy man-beast."

Edward can run faster than a mountain lion and stop a moving car with his bare hands. Would you want to be an immortal vampire so you could do that too?
I don't want to live forever. You don't die, so it doesn't mean anything. And then everyone would lose respect for you. It's like "Hancock." Everybody would just be like, "It doesn't mean anything if he's invincible."

"Who's that obnoxious guy who keeps stopping cars?"
It doesn't mean anything if there's no chance of you dying. I'd like to stop a car if I was human. And I just did it once and everyone saw and loads of supermodels saw.

Yeah, seems like you're really having trouble meeting girls these days.
Yeah, tons of 14-year-olds. They all love me.

Why do you think you stood out from the more than 5,000 others who auditioned to play Edward?
I think because a lot of people are willing to go in and play some kind of Adonis. And they have the body and everything. There's a lot of guys, especially in L.A., who can walk down the street and look like some kind of Greek god, statuesque guy. [And that's not me.] Especially not last year. I was like this chubby-looking . I looked kind of like an old, Irish alcoholic.

And isn't that what the part called for?
[Laughs] It absolutely called for that! I think they were getting desperate, so when I came...

"We're tired of looking; Let's take the next guy who walks in!"
I think a lot of it was that. Yeah, how uncomfortable I felt trying to play this perfect guy, it kind of inspired my performance when I was in the room 'cause I had no idea how to play it. And I [was] this kind of broken, totally self-conscious person who hardly said anything. And I think they misinterpreted the whole thing, thinking I was this really intense, really passionate guy. And I just had no idea what I was doing.

So they saw you were scared and confused and said, "He's moody, dark and exciting!"
Yeah, that's the weird thing about it.

And now people online are saying, "This man is pure sex," or calling you "A sexy man-beast." How much of a sexy man-beast are you?
[Laughs] I wouldn't be able to say. I don't think I'm much of one. It's funny, it is the secret to any guy—if people find him unattractive or whatever—you just get Stephanie Meyer to tell the world, to put on her website that this guy is now attractive and everybody changes their minds.

That's amazing. So, how long does it take to get your hair perfectly coiffed like that?
It's the funniest thing. I just wear a hat a lot. I have so much residue crap in my hair from years and years and years of not washing it and not having any sense of personal hygiene whatsoever. Even today, I go into these things where I'm supposed to be this sexy guy or whatever, and I'm literally asking [the studio rep] if I get plumes of dandruff on me, can you just brush it off.

What did you learn by not washing your hair for six weeks?
That it starts to wash itself. If you don't wash it for six weeks you won't have to wash it ever again. Until it gets unbearable.

Edward's such a forbidden love for Bella. What would you say to parents who thought you were bad news for their daughter?
"You're right." And the girl would like [me] even more.

You're not trying to appeal to parents?
He's a vampire, he's a social pariah. He's not a role model. He's a parasite. That's the cool thing about it. I don't think a vampire has any responsibility to anybody.

Last question: How much more comfortable would this interview have been if I was screaming and crying and trying to touch you?
It would have been a lot more comfortable. [Laughs] It would be standard.

Plus:

I told Robert Pattinson I'd say something, and he had to say the first thing that came to mind. Here are the results:

Twilight: Bella

Edward: Vampire

Robert Pattinson: Sandwich [Ed. Note: Pattinson, apparently, recently ate a sandwich]

Kristen Stewart: Brown hair

Dracula: Big eyebrows

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Black hoodies

Garlic: Tasty

Teen girls: [Laughs] Hardcore. [Laughs] That sounds really bad! That's not what I meant. Screamers. [Laughs] Even that! Hardcore screamers. [Laughs hysterically]

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com. @mattpais

 

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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