HFPA In Conversation: Robert Pattinson, Mastering His Craft

by Kirpi Uimonen Ballesteros November 20, 2019
Actor Robert Pattinson

armando gallo/hfpa

Before Robert Pattinson went on to fight criminals as Batman he wrestled mentally and physically with Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse. The two men drive each other insane on a lonely island. “I think everybody’s a massive fan of Willem and rate him very highly. But in the script, the description of his character is just blunt force obelisk because there is so much physical domination of my character. I just assumed the guy was going to be enormous and evil and I couldn’t think of an actor who was going to do that really because I am quite tall. Then when Robert Eggers sent me a picture of Willem, suddenly I was like wow. Because there is something very frightening about him. He seems dangerous but also there is mischievousness and there is just something naughty about his face and his voice and he is like that. There’s a mischievous energy to him,” Pattinson tells HFPA journalist Kristien Gijbels. 

From a late 19th-century lighthouse keeper Pattinson jumped to the historical world of Henry Prince of Wales (Timothée Chalamet) in the drama The King, based on several William Shakespeare plays. “I always love something when the cut of the costume makes your whole posture completely different. It was so peacocky that it just completely changes things. It makes you behave very differently.”

He believes he learns something new from every project. “I feel like it is stuff you try and figure out in one movie you do bring it to the next one a lot of the time. Especially things about an understanding of the camera. No one really wants to admit it that much but knowing your face is so important in film acting. It is not just about feeling something or being able to express it, you are acting to the camera almost more than you are acting to the other actor. And the only way to do that is being in front of a camera and have an understanding of lights. I think that is something you can literally only learn through experience unless you just have it naturally. But I definitely got a little bit better at that.”

Before we see him in the Batsuit Pattinson is exploring vintage comic books. “I actually got a bunch of the golden age ones for my birthday like two years ago. It’s kind of interesting seeing the evolution of it. The character’s been extraordinarily different throughout the decades.”

Listen to the podcast and hear why he got interested in the role in The Lighthouse; how was shooting in Nova Scotia; how was filming long takes with Willem Dafoe; why he ran in circles on set; why he got a lot of freedom to develop his character in The King; what happened on the day people got to know he will be playing the next Batman; what he remembers from the Harry Potter set; why he walked to Harry Potter and the Goblet on Fire premiere; with what kind of camera he filmed his audition for Twilight; why his agents are important to him; how he feels when people tattoo his face on their bodies; what was his dream profession before he became an actor; why last year was significant for him; why he joined the drama club;  and what is his favorite place in Los Angeles.