Short Rob interview with I (from the Independent) Words by Kaleem Aftab
Maps to the Stars is the title of the new David Cronenberg film starring Robert Pattinson. It refers to the Hollywood cartography that informs tourists where to find the homes of their favourite actors. Anyone buying one of these plans will be disappointed if they are looking for the home of Britain's mosy famous vampire. Last Year the actor sold his masion in Griffith Park, near the Hollywood sign in central Los Angeles, saying he was too young to be tied to such a lavish property and instead wanted to lay low and live life to his needs rather than his means. "The house was so amazing, he says of the abode he sold for $6.37m (3.9m. "I wasn't really thinking when I got it. I had been living in and out of hotels, and you have money for the first time." When he says money, he means a mind boggling amount. He reportedly received $20m for the final part of Twilight, the vampire saga that made him a global name, and made his private life public fodder. Pattinson says selling the house is part of a general disassociation with Hollywood. "If you are the kind of person
who needs to be pushed into doing something, Hollywood is not the right place, so I think I might be done with Los Angeles.”
We meet on the day of the Toronto Film Festival premiere of Maps to the Stars and there is a yearning for Barnes, west London, where he grew up. His dad imported vintage cars from America, and his mother worked for a modelling agency, a profession Pattinson entered just before he hit his teens. “I think I need to spend more time in London, or just move around a bit more. I’ve been in LA for six or seven years and it’s weird. The more you stay, especially as an actor, the more you think that you’ll be missing out on something by leaving, but you are not really. It’s a fun city, but you are permanently on holiday. I feel like I’ve been on holiday since I was 22.”
It seems the 28-year-old has had enough of the focus being on his romantic life rather than his career. His relationship with Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart dominated headlines before a very public split, and now there’s endless speculation that he’s going out with every girl who just happens to be in the same room. The fascination with his love life must be frustrating because, since Twilight ended, not many column inches have been expended on the impressive résumé he has been building.
In addition to twice working with Cronenberg, he gave one of his best performances as a left-for- dead armed robber in David Michôd’s Australian outback thriller The Rover and he’s just finished playing T E Lawrence for Werner Herzog and photographer Dennis Stock for Anton Corbijn. On the horizon is an adaptation of The Lost City of Z, to be directed by James Gray.
The impressive list has come about because Pattinson has been seeking out auteurs: “In the past two years, I’ve done stuff just for the director and not really thought that much about the script,” he says. “Now I’m swinging it back a little, trying to get a medium between the two.”
He’s thankful to Cronenberg for taking a chance on him, especially when people wondered if all he had to offer was a blank stare. “Working with Cronenberg just opened stuff up. People approach you in a different way. Now I’ve done a few other things and it kind of works on a bit of a roll, working with auteur-y guys.”
Maps to the Stars is about the oddballs that populate Hollywood. Pattinson has an affair with a PA (Mia Wasikowska) and then memorably has sex in a car with her boss, Havana – Julianne Moore won the best actress gong at Cannes for her portrayal of an actress whose best days are behind her. It’s a Hollywood that Pattinson knows all too well; “I’ve met characters that are pretty similar. Everyone is saying the film’s biting, but I think it’s sympathetic to a host of characters. Women like Havana: in reality people would despise her, they don’t have friends for a reason, but I don’t think anyone comes out of the movie hating her and that’s testament to Julianne. It’s a bunch of weirdos who spend a lot of time self-obsessing and talking about it afterwards.”
The actor says he’s not exactly in a position to talk: “I self- obsess a lot. When I’m doing interviews I’m always waiting for some stupid remark to come out.” When he first entered the room, his opening gambit was, “I’m so bad at doing press junkets,” said with a glint in his eye that gave the impression he thinks much of it is a charade.
“I used to be so dumb in interviews; try to make jokes all the time and everyone is thinking, ‘this guy is a moron, he’s just been saying dumb stuff for years and years’.”
Herzog is a director he has long admired and he jumped at the chance to play T E Lawrence in his Gertrude Bell biography Queen of the Desert, starring Nicole Kidman as the British archaeologist who helped draw the Iraq/Jordan border at the turn of the 19th century. “It’s sort of close to the real guy, it’s certainly not Lawrence of Arabia- like,” he says. “It’s a small part as well,” which suits him just fine: “It’s quite nice doing small parts. The film isn’t totally reliant on what I do, so I get to work with who I want to work with and it’s not my fault if it doesn’t make any money.”
Maps to the Stars is in cinemas today.