Robert Pattinson on the Male Gaze, Playing a Psychopath, and the Status of His Many Upcoming Arthouse Movies

IndieWire | 6/22/2018 | Staff
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When Robert Pattinson first received the script for the David and Nathan Zellners’ “Damsel,” a quirky, inverted western in which various cockeyed suitors pine for love of a woman disinterested in their advances, he passed. “It just seemed like one of those things that’s never going to get financing, so it just didn’t really register with me,” he said.

A few weeks later, he went to see “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter” in theaters, not realizing it came from the same sibling director pair. He called his agent, eager to meet whoever was behind it.

Role - Movie - Pattinson - Damsel - Terrain

“He was like, yeah, you just got offered a role for their new movie and you didn’t meet with them,” Pattinson recalled. He circled back on “Damsel,” which sees him entering strange terrain for an actor whose penchant for stone-faced roles has evolved from the “Twilight” franchise to auteur-driven work like David Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis” and the Safdie brothers’ “Good Time.” As Samuel Alabaster, the foolishly overconfident pioneer eager to rescue Penelope (Mia Wasichowska) from her supposed captors even though she may not want the help, Pattinson found himself in the unlikely position of a comedic role.

That was something he didn’t expect when he signed up, in part because the melancholic “Kumiko” — in which a Japanese woman, believing the plot of “Fargo” to be real, gets lost in Nebraska — had a totally different feel. “‘Kumiko’ is one of the strangest movies ever,” Pattinson said. “To have such an odd movie and make it coherent and kind of touching, the aesthetic of it is really elegant of it, and kind of cool, too — they had a lot going on at the same time. Connecting that with the script for ‘Damsel’ felt really left field to me.”


When he read “Damsel,” he said, “it didn’t read necessarily as a...
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