“Because you’re playing a mad person, it means you can sort of be mad the whole time. Well, not the whole time, but for like an hour before the scene…” – Robert Pattinson
In the years since the last Twilight movie, actor Robert Pattinson seems to have been on a mission to prove that he brings much more to the table than what appeared on screen in those hugely successful — but critically maligned — vampire romance films. He has worked with an assortment of directors known for their own style, including Robert Eggers, who directed Pattinson opposite Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse.
In an in-depth interview with Esquire, Pattinson spoke about how the film’s rehearsal process caught him off-guard, but admitted it was liberating to play a “mad” character.
While most actors typically choose to focus on their successes in interviews, Pattinson reveals that he had a rough start on The Lighthouse and was surprised that he even made it to the first day of shooting. This is because he spent a week rehearsing with Dafoe and, admittedly, says it went poorly. He explains:
“It was very, very frustrating. I just couldn’t achieve what they wanted me to achieve in that room. Robert [Eggers] was getting furious with me because I was just sitting there, completely monotone the whole time. He could not stand it. I just don’t know how to perform it until we’re performing it. By the end of the week, I’m thinking, ‘I’m going to get fired before we’ve even started’. I definitely feel like, with the rehearsal period, we were quite angry with each other by the end of it. Literally, we’d finish for the day, I’d f*cking slam out the door and go home.”
“I knew that there was diminishing expectations of me throughout the week of rehearsals. I definitely became an underdog. They’re like, ‘Wow, this was a big mistake. He’s really sh*t.’”
Understandably, Pattinson felt much more comfortable on set with his character. He says, “Because you’re playing a mad person, it means you can sort of be mad the whole time. Well, not the whole time, but for like an hour before the scene… You can literally just be sitting on the floor growling and licking up puddles of mud.”