Update: Ajout d'une autre partie de l'interview / Added an other part of the interview
The 31-year-old actor tells EW, ‘I’d love for people to watch “Good Time” and think I’m a first-time actor who they’ve never seen before’With the role that made him super-famous five years in the rearview mirror, Robert Pattinson is returning to theaters in his first leading role since the end of the Twilight franchise. The 31-year-old British actor stars as a low-life New York criminal named Connie Nikas in the critically acclaimed Good Time.In the exclusive clip above, which is a snippet from the movie’s opening scene, we first meet Connie’s brother Nick (played by co-director Benny Safdie), who has developmental disabilities, as he’s speaking to a psychiatrist (Peter Verby). Pattinson’s character barges into the office to drag his brother out, triggering a very twisty plot that before long will lead to the two brothers on the run from the police after a sloppy bank robbery.Pattison spoke to EW about finding the look, sound, and essence of his character. His performance has been generating awards buzz since the film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Good Time is in limited release now and expanding to more cinemas in coming weeks.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tommy Lee Jones has an interesting connection to this character that you play in Good Time, isn’t that right?ROBERT PATTINSON: Yeah, absolutely.How so?
[Co-director] Josh Safdie had sent me Norman Mailer’s book The Executioner’s Song and then I watched the movie [made for TV in 1982] with Tommy Lee Jones as murderer Gary Gilmore. It’s just such a fascinating character. There’s something about his nihilism and the way he processes things. There’s not a conventional sense of guilt within him. After he’s committed a crime, he still thinks it’s someone else’s fault. Never self-reflective at all — that gave me a lot of energy as the character I was playing.Because Connie in Good Time lacks a certain self-awareness?
Yes. It’s so interesting playing someone who makes everything pragmatic for himself. Connie thinks that everything is excusable because it’s in the service of what he wants. But that’s not how morality works. He needs that explained to him. And I found that fascinating.And how did Tommy Lee Jones’ appearance affect how you look in this movie?
That was a kind of later thing. In preparation for the role, we were trying all these different things with my face. We were trying to get me to look more like Benny [Safdie], who plays my brother. So I put on a fake nose, tried some other prosthetics. But I looked crazy.Crazy in the wrong way?
Yeah, crazy but not subtle. So what we did, and it was very simple, was just put a little bit of scarring and pock marks on my skin.Is there something irresistible for you, given how recognizable you are, about being in a film where audiences might not know it’s you at first?
I kind of love it. I keep wanting to disable audience preconceptions. I’m trying to find a world that’s also so different to a large part of the audience. And then you have them trapped. Whereas if the world is something that all the audience understands, then they are more likely to say, “OK, I recognize him and now I’m going to judge how his performance compares to other people.” I’d love for people to watch Good Time and think I’m a first-time actor who they’ve never seen before.How did you come up with the character’s voice?
I had the luxury of being isolated while working on this. I was living in a basement apartment in Queens. And I was just repeating and repeating stuff until it vaguely felt right. I’ve worked with dialect coached before but for this role it was just repetition. And I stayed in the accent while we weren’t filming. It’s a fun accent, I must say. I missed it when it was gone.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How are you feeling this morning?
ROBERT PATTINSON: Sorry, I’m just about totally brain dead. I’ve crapped out today. This is going to be interesting.
Would you like some coffee?
I’ve already tried that [laughing]. It’s not working.
Where were you this morning? On one of the talk shows?
Good Morning America, yeah. I’m tired but not at all tired of doing press. I’ve basically done no press for about three years and I genuinely want to talk a lot about this film. But it’s been interesting promoting a movie like this, depending on the venue.
Do you feel like when you go on those shows that your reputation precedes you a bit?
There’s an expectation for a certain energy. It’s difficult because I feel like I’m wearing a lot of different hats at the same time. I’m editing a lot in my head as the interviews go on. I think that’s why I get so anxious. And then I end up saying some dumb stuff. It’s always dangerous if I’m trying to make a group of people laugh. That’s when I say the dumbest stuff.
It was almost 10 years ago, July of 2008, when you attended your first Comic-Con for Twilight. You said then that the scream from the crowd was like “the sound you hear at the gates of hell.”
[Laughing] I do remember that actually.
What do you think when you think of yourself back then?
And it’s quite weird because I remember saying that and it was literally the exact wrong thing to say. It’s crazy. But it’s funny that even as I’m promoting stuff now, I’m gripped by this perverse urge to say the opposite of what I’m supposed to say. It’s like a goblin dancing in my head and it keeps happening to me in interview after interview after interview. I’ve just had a week of giving bad, wacky answers about things. And I just keep thinking, “Play it cool, don’t say anything crazy.”
Even after all these years of giving so many interviews?
Yeah. I think I just keep wanting to pierce this fantasy bubble. I was on Stephen Colbert’s show yesterday and I could really feel by the end of the interview that there was this little demon, telling me, “You’re boring, boring, boring! Say something crazy, say something crazy!”
Does it seem somewhat surreal that the current president of the United States once wrote a bunch of tweets about you?
[Laughs] I think there’s so many different levels of it. Your identity exists on many different planes at the same time and they all can be quite different from each other. When he said that, it didn’t really mean anything. But I guess now I’m sort of thinking, like, “Well, I guess that is related to me.” But how does that fit in with all the other things going on in my life? And sometimes you think, “Can I use this in my acting? Or should I be putting it away.” It’s kind of interesting, I guess. I don’t know — this could be why people get annoyed with me.
Do you feel that at a certain point you’ll need to re-enter the franchise fray? People talk about the “one for me, one for them” philosophy of acting.
I’m hoping that if I create the content that I want to see and think of myself as an audience member, then it will all work out. Because then someone like me will go to the cinema. There are plenty of other huge movies, everybody is trying to do that. And I think there is a minor renaissance of what used to be a mid-budget movie, which would now be considered a micro budget I guess. I love going to the cinema to see interesting, crazy things. I don’t just want to watch that on TV.
And there is financial profit in those projects, right?
Of course, because people are going to see them. And if that is encouraged and fostered, then that’s amazing. You can literally see it coming alive again, which is so wonderful. It’ll only die if we let it die. We were at the Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn last night, doing a Q&A. I’m really loving what’s going on with a bunch of different theaters. I think actors should get together and do a United Artists kind of thing and just have their own movie theaters. Just decide. I think there’s such a wider spectrum of what people will go to if something was promoted right and made available. It’s like if you went to a theater where you didn’t know what was playing. You just knew that the quality control was fine. I would love to be involved in that kind of thing.
Do you see yourself producing or directing movies in the future?
Hmm, people don’t realize how specific a skill set directing is. Everyone thinks, “I like movies, I could direct them.” But you need to be expert time manager and an expert manager overall. Producing is a bit more interesting because you just pick all the right people and hope that it comes together. I would love to figure out how to help with the distribution of films. That’s the one part that’s almost completely taken out of the hands of the people who made the movie. And the control is just so important.Do you feel you have control over your career?
Well, I feel like I’ve had three moments of reinvention already. From Harry Potter to Twilight and then this current phase I’m in now. Control, yeah. But what I really hope is that I have the same enthusiasm today for wanting to surprise myself and surprise others as I did back during my first day on my first job.