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: KenjiMS   : 2009-11-28 12:03
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Seemingly overnight, Robert Pattinson went from playing Voldemorts roadkill in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to being the immortal half of one of the hottest screen couples of all time. He spoke with TIME about how he landed the role of Twilights Byronic vampire Edward Cullen, what its like to be a generational crush and how to walk unmolested along the streets of Vancouver.
You took on an edgy vampire movie and its become this. Did you know what you were signing up for?
I had no idea it was going to be like this. I really had no idea until I guess I still dont. The time that it hit me really was when we were shooting in Italy and the emotional reaction it wasnt just screaming. It was like people were so intently listening and watching. After every take there was polite applause. And it wasnt hysteria. It was literally devotion to the characters. It was amazing. I havent felt that in any other situation.

Casting Edward was crucial to the franchise. What did Catherine Hardwicke see in you?
I dont know. I was a little intimidated by Kristen [Stewart] in my audition. So I played it like a guy who is beating himself up a lot about everything. I dont think anyone else did it like that. I think they concentrated on the confidence aspect. If you read the book, you know hes the perfect man, ideal man. If youre a guy, you have certain ideals about what you think is attractive. And thats why I didnt go into it for ages, because I thought Id end up being silly in the audition. Id be posing. I guess I tried to ignore every aspect of the confident hero of the story. And I played the extreme opposite. It didnt end up being that in the film.

If they had cast anyone else as Edward, would the franchise have been as successful as it is today?
I honestly dont know. No matter how famous I get as an individual, its always evened or even surpassed by the fame of Edward Cullen. Thats got to mean something. I dont mind that. Thats just the way it is.

Why are America and the world so mental about it?
I was just in Japan, but when I first went there in February, the people who went to the fan events there were mainly people who went to American schools. This time it was an entirely Japanese audience. No one could really speak English, but they reacted in the same way as they have around the world. Even the distributor was saying, Japanese audiences dont react like this. And they were stunned by the whole thing.

There must be this weird, primal thing in people that they react to. There are so many love stories that come out. So many vampire stories that come out. Even the load of vampire stories coming out now have the exact same story line. This doesnt have the same reaction. I think its all about being part of a club. People used to say it was a guilty pleasure. But I dont even think it is that anymore. I think people genuinely appreciate that they are part of something.

How can it continue at this level?
I have no idea. It kind of feeds on itself by the looks of things. It seems to have gone from the beginning of this year until now. I was just talking to the head of the studio who said they are only 25% through the campaign for New Moon. And the tracking on the movie is ridiculous. Even random celebrities are asked, What do you think of Twilight? Its insane. I remember saying at Comic-Con last year that I didnt know where it could go from there. I didnt know how much bigger it could get. I guess this time they are getting guys to watch it. Guys were the only other place left to go.

Yes, man is the Twilight growth market. They shoot the movies very quickly for a lot of reasons momentum for one, but also because vampires dont age. Does that throw pressure on you to, well, look exactly the same?
I dont really think about that. I think I definitely look older in this one. But then I look younger in the third one, which is just weird.

A whole generation will remember you as Edward. Youre a generational crush. Is that hard to live up to or difficult to accept?
Theres no living up to it. I think the major fear is just fighting too hard against it. Most people who have a downfall from a like situation is when they do try to fight, and fight and fight: Im not this teenybopper person, blah, blah, blah. Even if a lot of people see me and the franchise as like that, I never have, at any point. But I dont feel the need to fight against it. Ive never tried to pander to any kind of audience. Ive tried to make the films as intelligent and uncheesy as you could. And Ive tried to make them the best they can be. Ive never thought about it any other way. So I hope that pays off.

A lot of celebs use disguises to escape their bubble. Whats been your worst?
In Vancouver, shooting New Moon, I tried something. They have this thought that no one there wears hoods except for problem people. Its the only city in the world where hoods are not fashionable. Its like if youre wearing a hood, youre going to mug people. So its a boring disguise, but it worked when I wore a hood. And then Id sort of spit on the ground a little bit and do a little bit of shaking around as youre walking. Everyone moved around to the other side of the street.

Can you go out of the bubble?
You can go out. The only difficulty is when there are people waiting outside the exits where you are going. You will get followed. Its the following thats the worst part. If its just getting a photo taken outside the exit, that would be O.K. But its the following that takes away your freedom.