I know we are in the middle of the Good Time promo right now, but GQ Rob has pretty much shut down the internet for the day. Enjoy! Full disclosure…I can’t stop staring at the BTS video, but the accompanying article is almost as fascinating as the video. We’ve taken the liberty of sharing a few excerpts from the interview below, but please head on over to GQ for the full article.
Robert Pattinson Is Alive Again
The Twilight heartthrob seemed damned to be a brooding ex-vampire forever. But then he drove a stake through his career and got to work resurrecting it.
So it’s settled, says Rob Pattinson, we’re going to do ayahuasca together! Ayahuasca is an Amazonian hallucinogen that people take to journey to the center of themselves, usually with a shaman, usually on a retreat, and it is a totally normal and valid way for us to spend one of our two days together, I completely agree. Yes, Rob, let’s do it. For the great big stunt of our GQ cover story, let’s take great big doses of ayahuasca. Let’s slide down the gooey tunnels of our ids until we Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich. Then I look it up. There’s a really long period of your trip where you’re just vomiting. But we’re up for some vomiting! Nobody here is a newborn babe who can’t handle a little reverse peristalsis! We just met, after all, and what better way to get to know each other than a little kayak into each other’s insides? Me and Rob Pattinson! Vomiting up a storm! What a story! But—but—maybe all that vomiting would make it hard to talk? Maybe it would change our psyches irreparably and return us to our loved ones forever altered? It might, right? Back to the drawing board. But you know what they say: There are no wrong ideas in a brainstorm.
So it’s settled, says Rob Pattinson, we’re going to swim with sharks! No one’s done that, right? The best way we can get close to some edge of existence, he thinks, is to swim with sharks, daring them to eat us. I suggest that maybe ayahuasca brings us to the edge of existence, too? And wouldn’t it be hard for me to write this if one of us (me) got eaten by one of those sharks? Sure, sure, he gets it. Anyway, he says, “I’m afraid something will happen that makes me look like a pussy.” Which is fair, and so we’re not going to do it.
So it’s settled, says Rob Pattinson, we’re going to a Russian spa in West Hollywood! Sure! Let’s sit together in a spa, me in my bathing suit and you, Rob Pattinson, in yours, and you can talk about your workout regimen, and I can tell you about the care and maintenance of my C-section scars! Both of them! Argh, but a friend told him he’d seen Justin Bieber there, and Pattinson was like, no way, he will not be Bieber-derivative, which I support. (And usually spas are gender-separated?)
So it’s settled, says Rob Pattinson, he’s gonna come to me! Yes, he wants to infiltrate my suburban life. How’s that for turning this whole thing on its head? He’ll come to where I have coffee every day, at the Able Baker, and we’ll have a latte and a cookie, then haul over to do camp pickup with the kids. Yes! Me and Rob Pattinson! In New Jersey! Yes, come on over, Rob. The kids get picked up at 3:50! Bring a snack or the younger one will bitch you out for hours! Shoot, no, he has to go to Paris to get photographed for his Dior campaign in two days, so that won’t work with my deadline. Pattinson, bless him, brings an unfiltered, uncut fire to each idea. Me, I am getting whiplash from nodding vigorously as I consider them. I am excited just to bear witness to his enthusiasm for all the ways you could eat the world. But I am also inspired by him. He really wants us to walk out of here with an amazing plan.
Here, incidentally, is a very quiet, virtually unknown café that he likes, just a few blocks from his house in some part of some part of Los Angeles. He asks that I don’t print where this is, since he comes here a lot, mostly because of the [privacy feature]. He sits here every day, same table, eating the same [house special scramble], hold the [thing that makes the scramble delicious], and he never sees anyone here, and he’d like to keep it that way. Sure, I say.
Suddenly, his eyes are a fever. He knows what we’re going to do. “Let’s get fecal-matter transplants,” he says. This is roughly his ninth suggestion (I’ve spared you some) for how we might spend our time together, but it’s number one in experimental procedures that are not yet fully FDA-approved. He’s been reading about it—he reads about everything, from stories about psychology to linguistics to fecal matter—and he cannot stop thinking about the possibilities. “It works,” he insists. “You can have an athlete’s shit put inside you and then you’re an athlete afterwards.” Imagine that! An athlete’s shit! Turning you into an athlete! It’s real! It might be real. It’s probably not real. But he’s just read about a woman with chronic fatigue who did a DIY fecal transplant and now she is totally fine. In fact, someone Pattinson knows did it; he spoke to that someone just yesterday, and that someone’s life has changed materially as a result—he can’t tell me who it is, because that someone is someone, but my God, we need to do this. So here’s the deal: We’re going to transplant each other’s fecal matter! I will become more like Rob; Rob will become more like me. No one’s ever done that before, right?
“There are ways to disappear, like, fairly easily,” he tells me. “It just involves effort, and most people can’t be bothered to put the effort in.”
Finally, he won. And he didn’t win because tabloids changed or because Twilight ended . No, he won because he had more money than they did: They simply couldn’t afford the gas and unbillable hours that led to no billable shot. “As soon as I saw a tail, I would just disappear again. It worked after a while. They’re just like, ‘Oh, the guy is just a hassle.’ ” He had cracked the code; he was free. “There are ways to disappear, like, fairly easily,” he tells me. “But you have to be living a quite strange life. It just involves effort, and most people can’t really be bothered to put the effort in.”
Things are easier now; not perfect, but easier. Just yesterday he was walking Solo—his girlfriend named the dog—and he saw a photographer, and he hid his face and then was angry at himself, because he knows that hiding your face is a story. As he tells me about it, he tightens that jaw that jaw that jaw, which you could luge down, but then he relaxes and remembers what it used to be like. Put it this way: He was walking his dog outside. He thinks Instagram has taken the heat off of him; it’s taken some of the fire out of the tabloids’ pursuit of movie stars. Now they chase the Insta-models and reality stars. Sometimes they chase one another. But he has no animosity for any of them, he says. “They’re just losers trying to do their jobs.”
What he is trying to say is—no offense to me personally, of course—he would rather not be here. “It’s technically part of my job, but I’ve never been very good at it,” he says. And anyway, “I’ve never been that concerned if someone sees the movie,” which he knows you’re not supposed to say aloud and maybe doesn’t entirely mean, but there you go. His eyes briefly shift toward me with suspicion. He’s sure this is what I’m after—something incendiary, maybe even something about his ex-girlfriend, or something about Twigs. (He only accidentally lets me know he calls her that—Twigs—twice: once in relation to who named the dog they both own and also in relation to the ugliness they both experienced when their relationship became public and people on Twitter spewed racist garbage about her.) In fact, Pattinson tells me, he went to therapy a few years ago during a low time, and the therapist often remarked how good he was at talking without saying anything. Now he applies this skill whenever he’s forced to hang out with people like me. “If I could stay silent,” he says, “I would.”
He’s convinced that I’ll take whatever I learn and make his loved ones’ lives a hellscape. Back in the Twilight days, someone Googled his sisters’ names and started hounding them at work. He realized that he should never say anyone’s name—not his ex’s name, not Twigs’s name. (Just watch this. Me: “Are you getting married?” Him: “Eh…,” then laughs.) He tries to make a point in interviews of saying nothing that isn’t already known: “I always think the risk reward is very much weighted in the wrong direction.”
“I want to be misunderstood. People are always changing, and the more you put something down in print, people form opinions and they’re constantly creating who they think you are.”
After we return the cart, Pattinson and I hit the restaurant in the clubhouse. We sit with beers served in glasses the size of fishbowls and eat hot dogs (ketchup and mustard). I try again for even one iota of intimate conversation. But he just asks me why he would ever answer. So I think back on all the interviews I’ve done, and I tell him very honestly that I think it’s because people want to be heard. Most of us, even the most famous of us—sometimes especially the most famous of us—want to be understood.
“I don’t,” he says. “I want to be misunderstood. People are always changing, and the more you put something down in print, people form opinions and they’re constantly creating who they think you are. If you do something that contradicts that, or if you do something which goes out of that box, then you can look like a liar or something like that.”
He prefers to stay nimble, you see. There will be less to combat later if someone like me can’t throw his words in his face. It’s just not worth it, he says. Especially now. Especially now that he’s finally back among the living. Living is picking the movies you want, reacting to the world as it comes. Living is walking your dog. That’s why he isn’t giving me shit, he tells me. He hopes I understand. It’s for the best, he says. He’s alive again. Finally he’s alive again.