Update: Ajout des scans digitaux / Digital scans added
Update 2: Added english translation
Translation after the cut
Translation thanks to Rob Pattinson 360:
From Twilight to auteur cinema, the artistic transformation of Robert Pattinson
Excerpt from “M,” Le Monde’s weekend magazine:
Robert Pattinson can not walk down the street. Since he became world famous thanks to his role in the Twilight saga, the Englishman draws crowds, requests for autographs and crises of hysteria. It was nevertheless necessary that he be able to be unrecognized for filming with the Safdie brothers.
In March and April 2015, the 31-year-old actor walked around New York for the thriller Good Time (in French theaters on Sept. 13), by Joshua and Ben Safdie, a pair of filmmaking brothers from Queens. Scenes in crowds of people, Domino’s Pizza or on public transport during peak hours were all necessary with Pattinson going undetected. And nobody recognized him. Connie, the loser robber he embodies, had a dirty hair and a goatee. And his face was made up with false acne scars and exploded micro-veins. The exact opposite of his angel face.
“I was terrified that I would be recognized,” said Robert Pattinson last May in Cannes, where the film was selected in competition. It has happened so many times in the past that fans or paparazzi interrupt a shoot by coming to see me. It’s horribly embarrassing. This time it worked.“
Above all, no longer be beautiful
Joshua Safdie remembers a day when, in a Queens subway, he heard a traveler say "Isn’t that Robert Pattinson going by?” Another replied, “Not possible.” The anecdote would delight the actor, who "always wanted to give the impression of being invisible in the street.” And who, with his roles in Good Time, Cosmopolis by David Cronenberg, or The Lost City of Z, by James Gray, seems to have now only one objective: no longer be beautiful.
This damaged for-filming-epidermis is a new stage in his career plan: to annihilate Edward Cullen, his character in Twilight, skin smooth and diaphanous, with amber eyes. Between 2008 and 2012… He embodied a young vampire who was reluctant to chew on people… the series earned $3.3 billion for box offices around the world, not to mention derivatives, statuettes or key chains … It has become a symbol of the delirious worship of celebrities.
Desirable for auteur cinema
Even today, he goes around the subject, embracing his career as an actor in independent films, and would prefer to not dwell on the sweet glory of his beginnings: “This kind of frenzy has an expiration date.”
The launch pad was David Cronenberg. In 2012, the Canadian filmmaker adapted Cosmopolis, and made Pattinson the main character. A millionaire and disenchanted hero who despises the world through the smoked windows of his limousine. The film disconcerts as much as it enthuses the critics, but the talent of Pattinson is unanimous. His beauty, synonymous with flatness, becomes in Cronenberg, a symbol of irony and presence on the screen. This is desirable in a global auteur cinema.
Since he began his career, Robert Pattinson has not rejected the advantages of fame. Jewel in the crown of Dior Homme fragrance since 2013, he became, in 2016, ambassador for the clothing collection of the same brand. "I can keep everything separate very easily. The man I am, the actor who shoots, the joker who promotes films, the muse who is photographed for a publicity campaign … I compartmentalize everything. Nothing ever crosses over."
Everybody wins. The actor builds a career and takes on the roles he wants. The brand takes advantage of his authenticity. As for independent films, the presence of stars in their credits makes them enjoy an incredible media exposure. This summer, Robert Pattinson toured American talk shows and the covers of popular magazines to talk about Good Time. An unimaginable advertisement for a low budget film.
The Safdie brothers have never seen Twilight, Anton Corbijn admits that "it’s not [his] kind of movies,” ditto David Cronenberg. But, by offering a role, all want to be the one who will have found the human behind the mainstream audience phenomenon.
Nan Goldin says nothing else. The American photographer was invited by Dior Homme to make portraits of the actor, published in a book, “Robert Pattinson, 1,000 Lives,” published in 2013 to the Rizzoli editions. She remembers the shooting: “I had no idea who it was. The least that can be said is that I do not have the finger on the pulse of pop culture. As I was not familiar with his work, I could feel him as he was as a being. Someone generous and supple. I felt he was not taking himself seriously."
Cronenberg, Gray, Herzog, Goldin or even the Safdie brothers, well known for their first films … Robert Pattinson likes to tick boxes and surround himself with big names. His foray into independent cinema is clever, but it limits the risks. "I’m very bad at finding beginners. I need the filmmakers to have already shot,” he admits. “If they have not yet exploded, I want to be the one who will have accompanied them to success.” And he contacts the directors. "With the exception of Cosmopolis, I have never made a film without being proactive, without signifying my desire to work with people.”
One day, while he was filming one of the Twilight movies, he saw Claire Denis’s White Material on television. “I was fascinated, I thought it was this cinema that I wanted to do. When he learned that the French filmmaker had given up on filming a science fiction screenplay, High Life, that had been written with Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died of overdose, Pattinson contacted her and expressed his desire to take the role. She was reluctant at first (thinking no one could replace Hoffman), but he convinced her and now the collaboration between Claire Denis and Robert Pattinson is very much anticipated and is in the process of coming to fruition right now.
The same goes for the Safdie brothers. On the IndieWire site, Pattinson saw a still from Heaven Knows What, their second feature film. "Struck by the sensitivity of this image,” as he himself points out, he contacted them before he even saw the film. The duo remembers Pattinson saying, “I want to get involved in what you will do next, even if I have to be part of the catering on the set. ”
The most famous actor of his generation saw himself as an foot solider. “I always wonder why people hire me. I am always afraid that it is to get funding, promotion. The only thing I can offer them is my total commitment.”
Anton Corbijn remembers his seriousness, his way of “giving himself 110%”. The Safdie brothers praise him: “the scenes he repeatedly performed, his dedication to master the New York accent, his readings to better understand the role, his days of working eighteen or nineteen hours without any complaint.” Pattinson explains: “I am asked to take a role, I do it to the end. It is a way of being legitimate ”
The permanent doubt
It’s almost reassuring. Robert Pattinson, beautiful, rich and famous, doubts constantly. “It’s always the same thing. Hardly do I say yes to a film that anxiety paralyzes me. A month before the shoot, I reread the script and find it a void, and then I start to hate the whole team. I talk to my agents, I want to get out of the project. A week before the shoot, I tell myself that in reality, I am a void. And it’s like that until the first day.”
Once on the set, Robert Pattinson thinks he’s bad compared to the others, and is terrified that everyone realizes it. “You can believe me or not, but that’s the truth. It has always been like that since school.” As a child, Pattinson was shy. His parents, a father importer of vintage cars and a mother employed in a model agency, removed him from his strict school, and enrolled him in a more liberal school in Barnes, in the suburbs of southwest London.
"Everyone was doing artistic activities. I chose drama, and I stayed behind the scenes for two years, not daring to go on stage. One day I overtook my fear, but it kept coming back.”
Josh Safdie sees Robert Pattinson as “an existential struggle. He wants to be overtaken by greatness, he wants to lose himself. As such, actors are crazy, and I think Rob is a real actor. ”
As to the personal causes of this fragility, we will know nothing. Robert Pattinson is so accustomed to fame that he knows all the ropes. His “sincerity” (the Safdie brothers), his “reluctance to his own image” (Anton Corbijn), his “vulnerability” (Nan Goldin) are undoubtedly genuine. But, by habit or by self-defense, it is compartmentalized, offering to others, or at least journalists, only his aura to contemplate.
A tribute at Deauville
Robert Pattinson is successful, he no longer needs to kill RPattz. His statue at Madame Tussaud’s can still smile silently, he can shoot the movies that he wants. He is now a legitimate actor and applauded. In Hollywood, bookmakers already betting on an Oscar for Good Time. This Saturday, September 2, the actor will be invited to the Festival of American cinema of Deauville, which pays homage to him. On the red carpet, he will take lots of selfies with the crowd, as in the time of Twilight, while he will think about the next stage, future films and filmmakers.
But if Robert Pattinson wants to neglect his physique to conform to his new ambitions, there is one thing he will not be able to get rid of: his beauty. A few months ago, Joshua Safdie uploaded an iPhone application that filters on any photograph. Depending on the chosen option, you can feminize masculine traits, make them more symmetrical, add wrinkles to young people or smooth the face so that it loses years. When the director loaded the picture of Robert Pattinson and activated the function that allows to embellish, the application did not modify a single one of its features. There was no need for it.
Photo credit: Dario Catellani
Digital scans thanks to Posh!