mercredi 9 août 2017

"Robert Pattinson Is Alive Again" New Interview with GQ Magazine

"Robert Pattinson est de Nouveau Vivant" Nouvelle Interview avec le Magazine GQ





From GQ:
By Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Robert Pattinson Is Alive Again

The Twilight heartthrob seemed damned to be a brooding ex-vampire forever. But then he drove a stake through his career and got to work resurrecting it.

So it’s settled, says Rob Pattinson, we’re going to do ayahuasca together! Ayahuasca is an Amazonian hallucinogen that people take to journey to the center of themselves, usually with a shaman, usually on a retreat, and it is a totally normal and valid way for us to spend one of our two days together, I completely agree. Yes, Rob, let’s do it. For the great big stunt of our GQ cover story, let’s take great big doses of ayahuasca. Let’s slide down the gooey tunnels of our ids until we Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich. Then I look it up. There’s a really long period of your trip where you’re just vomiting. But we’re up for some vomiting! Nobody here is a newborn babe who can’t handle a little reverse peristalsis! We just met, after all, and what better way to get to know each other than a little kayak into each other’s insides? Me and Rob Pattinson! Vomiting up a storm! What a story! But—but—maybe all that vomiting would make it hard to talk? Maybe it would change our psyches irreparably and return us to our loved ones forever altered? It might, right? Back to the drawing board. But you know what they say: There are no wrong ideas in a brainstorm.






So it’s settled, says Rob Pattinson, we’re going to swim with sharks! No one’s done that, right? The best way we can get close to some edge of existence, he thinks, is to swim with sharks, daring them to eat us. I suggest that maybe ayahuasca brings us to the edge of existence, too? And wouldn’t it be hard for me to write this if one of us (me) got eaten by one of those sharks? Sure, sure, he gets it. Anyway, he says, “I’m afraid something will happen that makes me look like a pussy.” Which is fair, and so we’re not going to do it.
So it’s settled, says Rob Pattinson, we’re going to a Russian spa in West Hollywood! Sure! Let’s sit together in a spa, me in my bathing suit and you, Rob Pattinson, in yours, and you can talk about your workout regimen, and I can tell you about the care and maintenance of my C-section scars! Both of them! Argh, but a friend told him he’d seen Justin Bieber there, and Pattinson was like, no way, he will not be Bieber-derivative, which I support. (And usually spas are gender-separated?)
So it’s settled, says Rob Pattinson, he’s gonna come to me! Yes, he wants to infiltrate my suburban life. How’s that for turning this whole thing on its head? He’ll come to where I have coffee every day, at the Able Baker, and we’ll have a latte and a cookie, then haul over to do camp pickup with the kids. Yes! Me and Rob Pattinson! In New Jersey! Yes, come on over, Rob. The kids get picked up at 3:50! Bring a snack or the younger one will bitch you out for hours! Shoot, no, he has to go to Paris to get photographed for his Dior campaign in two days, so that won’t work with my deadline.

Pattinson, bless him, brings an unfiltered, uncut fire to each idea. Me, I am getting whiplash from nodding vigorously as I consider them. I am excited just to bear witness to his enthusiasm for all the ways you could eat the world. But I am also inspired by him. He really wants us to walk out of here with an amazing plan.
Here, incidentally, is a very quiet, virtually unknown café that he likes, just a few blocks from his house in some part of some part of Los Angeles. He asks that I don’t print where this is, since he comes here a lot, mostly because of the [privacy feature]. He sits here every day, same table, eating the same [house special scramble], hold the [thing that makes the scramble delicious], and he never sees anyone here, and he’d like to keep it that way. Sure, I say.
Suddenly, his eyes are a fever. He knows what we’re going to do. “Let’s get fecal-matter transplants,” he says. This is roughly his ninth suggestion (I’ve spared you some) for how we might spend our time together, but it’s number one in experimental procedures that are not yet fully FDA-approved. He’s been reading about it—he reads about everything, from stories about psychology to linguistics to fecal matter—and he cannot stop thinking about the possibilities. “It works,” he insists. “You can have an athlete’s shit put inside you and then you’re an athlete afterwards.” Imagine that! An athlete’s shit! Turning you into an athlete! It’s real! It might be real. It’s probably not real. But he’s just read about a woman with chronic fatigue who did a DIY fecal transplant and now she is totally fine. In fact, someone Pattinson knows did it; he spoke to that someone just yesterday, and that someone’s life has changed materially as a result—he can’t tell me who it is, because that someone is someone, but my God, we need to do this. So here’s the deal: We’re going to transplant each other’s fecal matter! I will become more like Rob; Rob will become more like me. No one’s ever done that before, right?

I look up from my notebook and blink. He is rubbing the fine layer of stubble resting luckily on his jawline, which you could hang your dry cleaning on. We sit back and consider. You know, if this is too hard, we could just come here again, I say. Maybe we could just not do anything and just come here. He shakes his head. That won’t do. No, we’re going to do something.
He stares at the iced coffee he ordered. He used to drink “a million” cups a day, but lately, since he turned 31, he finds that it’s making him crazy. “Yeah,” he says, “if I have a little bit too much, I’ll suddenly think the trapdoor in the bottom of my life is falling.” Plus, too much coffee is like truth serum for him (hey, what if we did truth serum?), but he still loves coffee. So far he’s had maybe one and a half fingers of a regular-size cup. He puts his fist up to his heart. “I already feel like I had a speedball.” He lets out a kind of cackling laugh after he says this—head back, launching upward—but it comes out almost like a moon-howl. He laughs like this after almost everything he says, which is an intense way to communicate. When he talks, he tugs on the chest hair near his clavicle so that the bits of skin attached to each follicle pull up and form a miniature mountain range. We sit perpendicular to each other, and he keeps on his Helmut Lang sunglasses. Sometimes he looks at me, but mostly he looks at his scramble and at his dog, Solo, whom he has brought along—he shares the dog with his romantic partner, the experimental British musician FKA Twigs—and who has a Mohawk.

Okay, so a fecal transplant. Check. A doctor will creep his (or her!) way into our colons and replace our poop with each other’s poop. Why not? What do we have to risk, other than infection and death?

So it’s settled, I say. I am game for it. I was game for all the others, too, because this is exciting for me, for someone to be as into this as much as I am. Maybe he wants to do something he’s never done before, or see something he’s never seen before, or be someone he’s never been before. It seems like this is the only criterion for how he wants to spend our time, just as it seems to be the only common denominator among the movies he chooses to make now: It has to be something new. It has to deliver a real connection. It has to teach him something about himself and test him.
His new movie—his first starring role in years, made by a pair of gifted young brothers named Ben and Josh Safdie—is definitely a test. It’s called Good Time, and it is a locomotive that will grab you by the chest hairs near your clavicle for 100 minutes; Pattinson classifies it as the “panic genre.” He plays a desperate low-level con artist in Queens trying to protect his little brother after a bank robbery gone wrong. Without giving too much away, let’s just say it’s intoxicating to watch someone never slow down over the course of 24 hours and not once in that time make a good decision.
Yes, the new Rob Pattinson is defined by his willingness to go berserk or go home. But maybe it’s just on-screen. Already Pattinson is reconsidering the fecal matter. Fecal transplants probably aren’t something that can be arranged in a day, even when you’re Rob Pattinson. Probably you need a diagnosis code or something. They probably aren’t as easily accessible as a colonic, and at this point who hasn’t done a colonic with a journalist? Anyway, he adds, maybe with some menace, “if we did a swap, I don’t know if you’d be able to handle my shit.”
As we continue to discuss ideas for our big something, I bat away my thought about what these ideas also have in common, which is that they all render me incapacitated, unable to ask him any questions, and him unable to answer any. We’d be in different rooms, or on a hallucinogen, or in the belly of a shark, or in surgery, for Chrissake. But no, it couldn’t be that. It has to be this: That after years of playing dead, Rob Pattinson feels alive again.
Yes, that has to be it.

He spent his formative acting years suspended in Twilight, playing a vampire who mostly just stood there, brooding—an inert emo-reactor to his cis-mortal heroine, played by Kristen Stewart. If you’ve never heard of it, because you were in an underground prison with no access to the outside world, or even other prisoners, a brief recap: It’s about two co-dependent teenagers (one of whom has been a teenager for 100 years) in a super-toxic relationship that unfolds over five movies in the small town of Forks. The blood of this lonely, virginal teenage girl gives off a scent that is like heroin to this teenage vampire who lives there, meaning he wants to eat her but also that he wants to love her. By the end of the third movie, they still haven’t slept together. Finally, in movie four, the two have sex, which they feared might kill her. But she then immediately becomes pregnant, and that actually does kill her. What is the opposite of subtext? Did I mention the town where this takes place is called Forks?

When the cameras stopped rolling, Pattinson was surrounded by oceans of admirers who made his world small and paranoid. So you can maybe understand why, freed up by all of those coffins full of Twilight residuals, Pattinson is now doing what he’s always wanted to do: making movies that are relentless and dark and kinetic and subversive. He could’ve gone a lot of different ways after Twilight; the world loves a pallid British super-villain. But it would’ve been more standing still: the CGI, the green screens, the waiting around in his trailer. Plus, he says, “I think you have to have a specific type of confidence to be in those movies.” He was confident he didn’t. He couldn’t just stand there and be defiant, the way villains do. He couldn’t stay on one note and mean it.

Instead, he plunged himself into a series of gritty art-house movies, which, of course, is a strategy favored by just about every teen idol trying to go legit. But this is different in that he doesn’t appear to be picking these projects with a calculated eye toward prestige, or even edge. His recent films are unified primarily by the fact that they feature directors who are great and mostly unheralded, and characters who are a little scary to play. Hardly anyone saw any of these movies, and he says he never expected them to. The point wasn’t for people to see the movies. And so far, he’s been right nearly every time. So far, it appears that Rob Pattinson has killer taste.
Cosmopolis, his first post-Twilight movie, gave him the chance to work with his lifelong hero and favorite director, David Cronenberg, and to try his hand at (a very dark sort of) comedy. His character, a nihilist finance bro in the age of Occupy Wall Street, sits in the back of a limo for the duration of the film. He loved Cronenberg. He loved working for his hero. But still, there wasn’t a lot of movement. Edward Cullen’s most notable attribute, besides his looks—powdered face, strong lip, clenched jaw, which would slice through his hand if he rested it there—was his stillness. After that, he wanted some motion. He wanted to floor it.
He started noticing how supporting roles got to be wilder and more eccentric, how they weren’t subject to the stolid requirements of a leading man, so he went and did a bunch of those— The Rover, Queen of the Desert, The Lost City of Z —much smaller films that allowed him to move, tinker, alter his appearance. You could watch The Rover, a brutal Australian-made post-apocalyptic heist-revenge tale, without realizing until the credits roll that you’ve been watching Rob Pattinson the whole time. “Yeah?” he asks happily when I say this to him. He loves that. Hearing that is the best thing he could hear. Next up: a project with the visually sumptuous French filmmaker Claire Denis, someone he’s been wanting to work with forever. “It’s a lot about sexual fantasy,” he tells me, “and how your past intermingles, and this thing about kind of having your semen stolen from you in a spaceship and like forcibly impregnating people.” Look for it in theaters soon!

Pattinson came across the Safdie brothers in his endless reading. What caught his eye was a single still image from the last movie they directed, a much admired 2014 heroin-junkie drama called Heaven Knows What: It was a close-up of the film’s star, Arielle Holmes—stringy-haired and staring warily beneath a hot pink filter—whom the Safdies met one day in Manhattan’s Diamond District and decided to make a movie about. When Pattinson first saw the image, on a film-geek website, the movie wasn’t even out yet. But he couldn’t look away. He reached out to them immediately with a blind note saying he was a huge fan and that he wanted to be in their next project. Just to reiterate: He hadn’t even seen the movie yet. But he didn’t care. He was hooked. “I want to disappear into a role,” he told them.
Good Time did not exist in any form until Pattinson reached out. The Safdies were in the middle of another movie when they got Pattinson’s note, but they invited him to talk and showed him the finished version of Heaven Knows What. “He said he just wanted to be part of that energy,” Josh Safdie told me. “Rob is constantly overturning rocks to see if he can find a worm to eat. He is genuinely interested in discovering things.”
To prepare for Good Time, Pattinson spent weeks in New York just walking around Queens, asking friends of the Safdie brothers to read the lines from his script back to him until he got the accent right. He read The Executioner’s Song and In the Belly of the Beast because Josh mentioned them in passing. He lost weight, dyed his hair blond, got two actual earrings (he didn’t realize the holes never go away), and began to creep into the role of Connie, a petty criminal with dubious morals, redeemed only by his devotion to his intellectually disabled brother. One day, Pattinson and Ben Safdie, who plays the brother, went into a Dunkin’ Donuts in Yonkers, and Ben tried ordering coffee in character, getting more and more agitated, just as his character would. Pattinson, in character as well, tried not so gently to subdue him. “When I find someone who I have an instinct about,” Pattinson says, “who’s going to just push forward, I find it quite easy to completely give myself to that person. And I can commit so wholeheartedly because I think it’s so stressful being in a thing where you’re just constantly second-guessing everything all the time.”
On the other hand, now that he’s the star, now that the movies are so much smaller than the franchise machines that run on their own power, like Twilight, he has a new set of responsibilities. He knows a movie like Good Time would not be the subject of much mainstream attention—remember, it probably wouldn’t even exist—without his name on it. He knows that he has reached the stage of his career where he can use his immense fame to bring attention to a very worthy, very difficult movie like this one. But now, sitting here, he realizes he doesn’t really know what to say to me about it. He doesn’t love this part, the selling part, and he’s struggling for the right words. “I’m not very good at sending a message,” he tells me.
This is Rob Pattinson’s conundrum in 2017. He can disappear into roles. He can become someone new. But when he shows up to talk about the career he has now, the career of his dreams, people still mistake him for the tabloid tween sensation he was a few years ago, whose personal life was everywhere, who knew he was going to get asked about it in every interview and hated every second of it. He still does, which is why every minute we’re together I see him watching me warily, waiting for me to pounce.

Pattinson was cast in Twilight when he was 21, and throughout his four-year run, he and his co-stars would get dragged to shopping malls to do promotion. Those were the days when he spoke freely. Nervous girls would ask him everything from when Edward and Bella were finally going to bone to how he styled his hair. He told them, “I have 12-year-old virgins lick it.” He was hooded and dragged off to media training by studio executives, and from then on, in any interview he did, he was surrounded by several anxious publicists ready to tase him if he got out of line again. 

The paparazzi descended upon him in a way we hadn’t seen since Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez were a thing. (They were once a thing!) Tabloids camped outside his home. “People were like, ‘It’s fine, who cares?’ ” he says now. “ ‘They’re just photos or whatever.’ They’ll say, ‘Just live your life.’ But that’s not life for me, if someone’s observing it.”
During the height of the Twilight madness, he had each of his friends call Ubers while he traded outfits with them in the restaurant bathroom, so that photographers wouldn’t know which car he got into, and then he sent all the Ubers in different directions, because drop dead. He rode around in the trunks of cars “constantly,” he says, because fuck you. At one point he had five rental cars and kept them, along with a change of clothes, in parking lots around town. If he was being followed, he’d dip into one of the lots, switch his clothing and his car, and leave. One day, coming home from Venice, he realized he was being tailed. He drove around for hours because he didn’t want anyone to know where his new house was. Finally, as the sun came up, he pulled over and got out of the car and approached one of the photographers. “You’ve gotten your pictures,” he said. “Can I please just go home now?” “No,” the guy told him. “My boss says I can’t come back until I know where your new house is. Sorry, man.” Pattinson never tried to negotiate or appeal to their humanity again.

Finally, he won. And he didn’t win because tabloids changed or because Twilight ended or even because he and Kristen Stewart broke up, a breakup instigated, of course, by the very paparazzi they had worked so hard to dodge (look it up). No, he won because he had more money than they did: They simply couldn’t afford the gas and unbillable hours that led to no billable shot. “As soon as I saw a tail, I would just disappear again. It worked after a while. They’re just like, ‘Oh, the guy is just a hassle.’ ” He had cracked the code; he was free. “There are ways to disappear, like, fairly easily,” he tells me. “But you have to be living a quite strange life. It just involves effort, and most people can’t really be bothered to put the effort in.”
Things are easier now; not perfect, but easier. Just yesterday he was walking Solo—his girlfriend named the dog—and he saw a photographer, and he hid his face and then was angry at himself, because he knows that hiding your face is a story. As he tells me about it, he tightens that jaw that jaw that jaw, which you could luge down, but then he relaxes and remembers what it used to be like. Put it this way: He was walking his dog outside. He thinks Instagram has taken the heat off of him; it’s taken some of the fire out of the tabloids’ pursuit of movie stars. Now they chase the Insta-models and reality stars. Sometimes they chase one another. But he has no animosity for any of them, he says. “They’re just losers trying to do their jobs.”

What he is trying to say is—no offense to me personally, of course—he would rather not be here. “It’s technically part of my job, but I’ve never been very good at it,” he says. And anyway, “I’ve never been that concerned if someone sees the movie,” which he knows you’re not supposed to say aloud and maybe doesn’t entirely mean, but there you go. His eyes briefly shift toward me with suspicion. He’s sure this is what I’m after—something incendiary, maybe even something about his ex-girlfriend, or something about Twigs. (He only accidentally lets me know he calls her that—Twigs—twice: once in relation to who named the dog they both own and also in relation to the ugliness they both experienced when their relationship became public and people on Twitter spewed racist garbage about her.) In fact, Pattinson tells me, he went to therapy a few years ago during a low time, and the therapist often remarked how good he was at talking without saying anything. Now he applies this skill whenever he’s forced to hang out with people like me. “If I could stay silent,” he says, “I would.”
He’s convinced that I’ll take whatever I learn and make his loved ones’ lives a hellscape. Back in the Twilight days, someone Googled his sisters’ names and started hounding them at work. He realized that he should never say anyone’s name—not his ex’s name, not Twigs’s name. (Just watch this. Me: “Are you getting married?” Him: “Eh...,” then laughs.) He tries to make a point in interviews of saying nothing that isn’t already known: “I always think the risk reward is very much weighted in the wrong direction.”
But it’s not just his personal life that he refuses to dive into. He’s also alarmed by the prospect that if he says the wrong thing about a film he’s trying to promote, it could be a disaster. “We live in very sensitive times,” he says. One false move, he says, and it becomes the story of the movie, undoing a lot of good people’s hard work. I surmise, but he will not confirm, that he is referring to several bits in the movie that might go over some p.c. line that the Internet has drawn.
I ask him to give me an example—one example—of a movie where this happened, where a single remark or bit of gossip derailed the whole thing. He looks at me searchingly, shaking his head. He doesn’t want to name anything because he assumes that will get him into trouble, too, shitting on someone else’s movie. But I sit quietly and wait. I can wait all day. Finally, he’s got one.
“Like Waterworld, for instance.”
I look up from my notebook and squint. The Kevin Costner movie?
“It’s one of the greatest movies ever made,” he continues, “and everyone said it was bad. And for years everyone was like, ‘This is a terrible movie.’ And now people are watching it and the veil is being taken away.”
I am momentarily speechless. Then I confirm whether he’s actually seen Waterworld. He has. Later, I will check to make sure there isn’t a Sidney Lumet movie that’s also called Waterworld. There isn’t.
Already he regrets saying this, invoking his beloved Waterworld. He looks down at the coffee. He gets a far-off look in his eyes, staring straight ahead, over my shoulder, at the restaurant wall. He looks at me again and pushes out a micro-sigh.
He tells me a story about filming The Rover in 2014, in a town in Australia with a population of 90, several hours north of Adelaide. He could stand out in the open desert, taking a piss. “I know no one can see this,” he thought then. He could barely get his head around it. Just four years earlier, he was filming a movie in Central Park, and 3,000 people came out to watch. For anyone else it would be just a regular piss. For Pattinson, it was the urination of liberation.

So after all that, we end up playing golf, something he’s never done before and I’ve only done for other articles. It was his suggestion, as out of nowhere as the others. It stuck simply because it was the last thing he thought of before there was no time to think of anything else, so we got ourselves a last-minute tee time.

He shows up this time in a gingham shirt, unbuttoned to just below the thorax, a baseball cap, and sneakers. He is less anxious than yesterday; he is happier when he is moving. Calmer, too. We rent a golf cart and make it through exactly one hole before it becomes clear that the combination of our ineptitude at golf and cackle-moon-howl laughter does not jibe well with the foul humor of the Angelenos who are available to play golf on a Friday afternoon at 3:12—a time that is called the Twilight slot, if you can believe it. We do not know quite where to put our tees. We do not know where we should be aiming our balls. There are people behind us and people in front of us, and perhaps we hadn’t considered how very, very seriously other people take golf.

We decide to bail. I get into the golf cart with him, and he has to drive backward in order for us to make our escape. He does it at full speed, swerving in reverse with the confidence of a man who has been chased down by innocent-looking Priuses with devious-looking photographers hanging out the driver’s-side window.
“We are going really fast,” I say.
He turns briefly toward me and gives me a funny look. “No, we’re not.”
I was right all along, you know. Sure, yes, all the activities he suggested were about doing something cool he’d never done before, but mostly they were about not talking. Maybe I was being naive, but you have to know I go into each one of these with a heart clouded by optimism and a willingness to believe the best in everyone. He is searching for something new in his work and in his life—that’s all real. But his ulterior motive became unavoidable after we played one hole of golf. You try asking a question with a tape recorder jammed under your bra strap and your notepad under your armpit so that you can hit a ball nowhere near the hole.

After we return the cart, Pattinson and I hit the restaurant in the clubhouse. We sit with beers served in glasses the size of fishbowls and eat hot dogs (ketchup and mustard). I try again for even one iota of intimate conversation. But he just asks me why he would ever answer. So I think back on all the interviews I’ve done, and I tell him very honestly that I think it’s because people want to be heard. Most of us, even the most famous of us—sometimes especially the most famous of us—want to be understood.
“I don’t,” he says. “I want to be misunderstood. People are always changing, and the more you put something down in print, people form opinions and they’re constantly creating who they think you are. If you do something that contradicts that, or if you do something which goes out of that box, then you can look like a liar or something like that.”
He prefers to stay nimble, you see. There will be less to combat later if someone like me can’t throw his words in his face. It’s just not worth it, he says. Especially now. Especially now that he’s finally back among the living. Living is picking the movies you want, reacting to the world as it comes. Living is walking your dog. That’s why he isn’t giving me shit, he tells me. He hopes I understand. It’s for the best, he says. He’s alive again. Finally he’s alive again.
Taffy Brodesser-Akner is a GQ correspondent.
This story originally appeared in the September 2017 issue with the title "The Second Coming of Robert Pattinson."


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