GQ Q&A With Robert Pattinson
Within moments of meeting Robert Pattinson, GQ.com learns a valuable lesson: you simply can’t compete with Twilight fans. Having previously expressed his admiration for Martin Amis in an interview, it was decided we should present everyone’s favourite server-crashing undead heartthrob with a copy of the new Amis novel Lionel Asbo. Sadly one literary-minded Edward Cullen devotee has trumped our gift. “I got given a first-edition signed copy of Money by a Twilight fan in Germany yesterday,” reveals Pattinson. “She was trying to tell me that she found it in Massachusetts while we were surrounded by all these people screaming.” Pattinson stars in David Cronenberg’s striking and strange new film Cosmopolis, out this week, which sees him as an otherworldly billionaire sating his carnal, financial and intellectual desires riding through town in the back of a limousine in search of a haircut. After some preliminaries (when presented with the latest edition of GQ he cries out “Andrew’s wearing my suit!”), he talks about his hip-hop moment of glory, the worst haircut he’s ever had and what he’s learned from working with Frida Giannini at Gucci…
Your character has two lifts in his huge apartment, one of which is soundtracked by hip-hop. Which rapper would you have in your lift?
Robert Pattinson: Definitely Ol’ Dirty Bastard. The biopic looks amazing! That guy Michael K Williams as well – I was obsessed with The Wire for ages. The guy who is directing – Joaquín Baca-Asay, who is James Gray’s director of photography – is amazing. All his movies look incredible.
How did you feel when Tinie Tempah shouted you out on Chase & Status’ “Hitz”?
What? [delighted, bewildered] I haven’t heard it. I keep hearing everyone talking about him but for some reason I never really got into British rap. I don’t know why.
The line is “Like Rob Pattinson I make a lot of n****s jealous”
Wow. That’s really cool, actually. That’s amazing. I didn’t realise I had that relevance [laughs]. I wonder what made him single me out?
We asked our Twitter followers to pose questions for you. One account “Robeardhottinson” asked 48 alone…
Not your typical GQ reader, I’d guess…
But she did ask about your worst haircut…
I did this movie about Salvador Dali a few years ago and had hair extensions and a little bob. That was incredibly bizarre. The extensions were temporary as well. I was trying to swim to somehow get in shape two days before we started shooting in this apartment complex in Barcelona. There were all these children everywhere… and I was this weird, pasty, hungover person with a girl’s black bob, swimming in the pool with huge clumps of hair falling out. I had my whole body totally waxed as well because Dali didn’t haven’t any body hair. It was the most terrifying thing – this is terrible, but I saw the potential cannibal guy [Luka Magnotta] in the Sun today and I looked a bit like him.
Are sex scenes getting easier?
It’s always a big thing. Juliette Binoche is one of my favourite actresses and within five minutes of meeting her on this we were pretending to have sex. Which wasn’t in the script. With both sex scenes we were supposed to have finished sex before we did the scene. Both times David was just like, “Yeah, just have sex.” That was a little awkward. I thought that Patricia McKenzie, who I did the other sex scene with, despised me up until that day on the set. We hadn’t said a single word to each other apart from when I asked, “Where are you from?” and she literally looked me up and down. I was like, “I’m not trying to do anything – I don’t have any idea!” Then on day of the sex scene she was like, “Hey how’s it going?” I don’t know what kind of preparation that was for this scene… but it definitely did something.
What TV do you never miss?
In America there is a channel called TruTV which is just reruns of Cops and World’s Dumbest Criminals. I could watch that the entire day. Someone told me – I don’t know if it’s true – that David Simon watched tonnes of Cops to get the dialogue for The Wire. I was like, “I knew it…”
What has working with Frida and her team at Gucci taught you about tailoring?
That’s funny, I’ve never had her singled out before – it’s like it’s a secret! She taught me one thing – you should definitely have good contacts at Gucci. They’re absolutely amazing. The amount of times I’ve been stuck in some random city and have called her up and had things brought in at absolutely the last minute – it’s crazy. But also all this stuff is custom-made. You can do quite crazy things [with colour] if you have incredibly classic, really well-made suits. I guess I’ve been quite boring for a while. I used to be more interesting with them. Now I always just request things two days before: “Can you send 25 suits?” I don’t even know what I want to wear!
What’s the strangest gift you’ve got from a fan?
It’s funny: there are certain things that get picked up on really quickly. I quit smoking the other day and didn’t even really realise that I’d said anything about it. I’ve been chewing these f***ing toothpicks all the time. Someone noticed in Cannes and literally the next day in Lisbon, then in Paris and in Berlin there were about 20 people on the red carpet giving me huge amounts of toothpicks. Thousands of them. I don’t even remember saying it in an interview but I must have said it somewhere. That was kind of strange.
You are one of four individuals who consistently dominate internet discussion. Out of your rivals – Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga – who are you most fond of?
I really like Nicki Minaj. I think she’s great. My favourite song? She’s amazing in “Monster” with Kanye West. It’s annoying that I’m part of this internet thing though – they all have Twitters and an online presence. How did I get part of this group? I didn’t do anything. I’m trying to avoid it!
Cosmopolis is out 15 June.