Robert Pattinson on Playing Edward Cullen As ‘Emo’ in ‘Twilight’

  • Robert Pattinson spoke to GQ about playing Edward Cullen in “Twilight.”
  • Pattinson said that portraying the vampire in a serious manner was “the only way to play it.”
  • He said there was “tension” because the studio was “scared” to make the film “a little bit too emo.”

Robert Pattinson said that he took his role as Edward Cullen so seriously in “Twilight” because he thought that was the “only way” to portray the character. 

“I do think there’s something in that first movie,” Pattinson said while discussing his most iconic roles in a new video for GQ that coincided with his March 2022 cover story. “You can see that people were taking it seriously and it kind of has a passion to it.”

“Twilight” was directed by Catherine Hardwicke and released in 2008, based on Stephenie Meyer’s fantasy novel of the same name. The film starred Pattinson as Edward, a vampire who fell in love with an ordinary teen named Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) in Forks, Washington. 

Pattinson landed the role after taking Valium and meeting with Hardwicke and Stewart for a screen test. The movie turned out to be a global success, sparking four sequels based on Meyer’s book series: “New Moon,” “Eclipse,” “Breaking Dawn: Part 1,” and “Breaking Dawn: Part 2.”

twilight edward bella rocks

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in “Twilight.”

Summit Entertainment

Since its release, the first “Twilight” film has come to be revered as “camp-cringe royalty,” as Vulture’s Wolfgang Ruth summed it up in April 2021

The movie is filled with unintentionally hilarious or cringe-inducing moments, but Pattinson told GQ that at the time of filming, he “wanted to make it as arty as possible.”

“We had this strange tension where the studio was kind of a little bit scared to make things a little bit too emo and stuff, and I thought that was the only way to play it,” the actor said. 

He continued: “It just seems so ridiculous talking about it now because I spent so much time just infuriated. It’s definitely something about being 21 as well, because I can’t believe the way I was acting half the time when I think back on it.”

Pattinson told GQ that his brooding version of the character wasn’t well-received during the production and he was told to smile more or he’d lose his job.

The “Batman” star recalled his agent and manager traveling to the set for a “surprise visit” on the day he filmed the scene in which Edward took Bella to meet his family at their home. 

Pattinson said that they told him to “do the opposite or you’ll be fired by the end of the day.”  

“That was the only thing that got me to sort of smile a little bit,” he said.

“I also think that if I tried to play it lighthearted, the way I would do it would end up looking so wrong that I’d probably end up looking even more like a psychopath,” Pattinson added.

robert pattinson as edward cullen hair

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in “Twilight.”

Summit Entertainment

In a 2017 interview with Howard Stern, Pattinson recalled the day he almost got fired and explained why he had a dark take on Edward.

“If you’re going into a relationship with someone, the way to make it really intense is if you can barely talk to each other, you can barely touch each other, it’s incredibly serious all the time,” he said. “That’s what teenage relationships are. But everyone kind of wanted it to be, like, ‘No, they should just be, like, happy and having fun. That’s what people want.'”

He added: “I was probably going a little too miserable, so there was some kind of compromise made.”

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