Robert Pattinson starred in two of Hollywood’s highest-grossing franchises with his roles in the Twilight and Harry Potter movies, and he’s spent the years since offering well-received performances in smaller films such as High Life, Good Time and The Lost City of Z. Even so, two-time Independent Spirit Award nominee doubts his acting chops.
“I only know how to play scenes, like, three ways,” Pattinson, 33, tells The Observer in an interview posted online on Sunday, December 23. “I’m nervous on, like, every single movie.”
Because of his insecurities, Pattinson doesn’t do much prep work before filming starts. “If I show it in rehearsals,” he says, “then it’s doomed to failure immediately.”
For his role as a French prince in this year’s The King, Pattinson reportedly got his costars cracking up with his flamboyant performance and over-the-top accent. “If I’m doing a scene and I see that the other actor is expecting me to do it the way I’m doing it, if I can just see that it hasn’t surprised them, I immediately feel stupid,” he explains.
While filming this year’s The Lighthouse — in which he and Willem Dafoe play lighthouse keepers teetering on the edge of insanity — Pattinson would make himself dizzy, make himself gag, punch himself in the face or drink mud. “Because I don’t really know how to act, I kind of wanted to somehow make it real, and one of the ways I’ve always thought makes that a little bit easier is if you shake up your physical state just before action,” he tells the newspaper. “You end up walking into a scene having a different feeling.”
Pattinson is currently in London shooting The Batman — playing the lead role of Bruce Wayne in the standalone superhero flick — and he says he has thoughts about never capturing the character, about his fans turning against him and about his career screeching to a halt.
“I’m a catastrophist,” he adds with a laugh. “I’m always thinking that the worst-case scenario is actually going to happen. So when it does happen, I’m like: ‘Gah! OK! I’m prepared!’”
His insecurities about his acting, however, means that any external skepticism about his turn as Batman doesn’t affect him: “There is no harsher critic of myself than myself, so I don’t need to worry about anyone else.”
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