Film3Sixty: Your character in Bel Ami, Georges Duroy, is he an amoral man?
Robert Pattinson: HE just doesn’t have a conscience. He’s content to do nothing and thinks everything should just be given to him. But if someone slights him, or directs any insult at him, the most overwhelming energy grabs him and he turns into this absolute devil, it’s like in Giant, when [James Dean] builds the entire empire to say ‘F-you’, he’s exactly like that but without any redeeming characteristics. The whole story is these people trying to beat him down into remorse, and just as he’s about to touch it, something good happens to him again.
You have a lot of attractive women to conquer in the film …
Yeah, there’s Christina Ricci, Uma Thurman and Kristin Scott Thomas. And I sleep with all of them!
It was an enjoyable film to shoot then?
The script is amazing. It’s very funny in a kind of strange way. I had to do four weeks of rehearsals, six days a week, like really full-on, including movement rehearsals, which I’ve never done before. That was kind of exhausting and doing fencing every day as well, which is absolutely impossible!
Did you choose the role because the character is so polarized from Edward Cullen in Twilight?
It’s always the script. I guess there’s something quite fun about Bel Ami, going from Edward to playing some guy who pretty much abuses women to get money out of them. Edward so wouldn’t approve – and I thought that was a funny irony. But the story, independently, is great, so I only thought about the irony afterwards.
How do you deal with fame?
I just try to keep working. I remember ten years ago Leonardo DiCaprio saying he liked to be able to take a break from everything, but I don’t think he can do that anymore. I think you both need to capitalize and steer your career at the same time, especially with a thing like Twilight, where it is literally such a huge thing that has blown up. It’s like a whole system, a whole universe.
Is it a burden to you, or does it open doors?
It opens doors and it closes others like anything does. You can say, oh if I was still unknown, then no one would judge me, but at the same time, nobody would give a shit either. It’s a weird little balance.
Bel Ami is in UK cinemas now.