Most actors try to be diplomatic when they've starred in a film they didn't really like - and then there’s Robert Pattinson.
Pattinson, who starred in the sparkly vampire adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, has made little secret of the fact that he despised the "weird" story - saying in one infamous 2011 interview that if he hadn’t been working on it he would “mindlessly hate it.”
The new instalment retells the first Twilight novel from protagonist Edward Cullen’s point of view and its original manuscript was famously leaked in 2008. Following the leak, Meyer took a hiatus and announced earlier this year it was finally going to be published - more than a decade later.
Although Pattinson may have played Cullen (who he likened to an “axe murderer”) in the several film adaptations, based on numerous scathing comments it seems unlikely he’ll be revisiting the role if the new book snags a film release.
He’s since gone on to star in a wide range of films, from the romance Water for Elephants to the Oscar-nominated film The Lighthouse. He is also set to star as Batman in an upcoming reboot of the series alongside Zoe Kravitz, with other films due to be released including Christopher Nolan's Tenet and The Devil All the Time.
Pattinson appears to have softened on his position in recent years and found one good thing to say about the films, pointing out that they had “soundtracks quite ahead of their time” and noting that it had become “quite a hip thing to like” amongst 20-year-olds.
From Pattinson’s revelation that he was nearly fired from the role to his most savage statements on the series, here’s a roundup of his unvarnished thoughts.
On how he was nearly fired
Speaking to Howard Stern in 2017, Pattinson revealed his agents were so concerned that he was going to get himself fired from the films they flew over to sort him out.
While shooting the first movie, Pattinson said he played his character as “really intense” which rubbed producers up the wrong way as they thought he was too serious.
They resorted to handing him a highlighted copy of the book with every instance of his character smiling (he responded by returning the copy, highlighted with every instance of his character frowning.)
He explained, “I thought I was pretty safe. [My agents] flew up and were like, ‘You have to do the opposite of what you’re doing now or you’re going to get fired today.”
Pattinson revealed he eventually caved (though some “compromise was made”) and said, “I literally came back after lunch and was like ‘Hi! I wanna keep my job!’”
On his pay
In a blisteringly candid interview with Access Hollywood, Pattinson pulled a pained face when asked if his experience on the film had turned out to be what he wanted.
After being asked if he was “happy with your pay”, Pattinson instantly responded, “Could’ve been better.”
On author Stephenie Meyer
Pattinson has certainly been less than kind towards Meyer, saying that she was “completely mad.” Speaking to E! News, he said that he was “convinced Stephenie was convinced she was Bella” and said the book read like something “that wasn’t supposed to be published."
“It was like reading her sexual fantasy, especially when she said it was based on a dream and it was like, ‘Oh I’ve had this dream about this really sexy guy,’ and she just writes this book about it,” he continued.
“Like some things about Edward are so specific, I was just convinced, like, ‘This woman is mad. She’s completely mad and she’s in love with her own fictional creation.’ And sometimes you would feel uncomfortable reading this thing.”
On just plainly not liking the series at all
He said to Vanity Fair in 2011, “It is weird being part of that - kind of - representing something you don’t particularly like.”
He also said in a different interview with Moviefone the same year that if he hadn’t been involved, “I think I am a judgmental and cynical person who would just mindlessly hate it without having seen anything; I just think I’m a bad person.”
On Twilight fans
Pattinson and his co-star Kristen Stewart found themselves swept to super-stardom when they took on the roles of Edward Cullen and Bella Swan.
Speaking to Vanity Fair in 2011, he called it “crazy” that fans had taken their obsession to the next level.
He said, “It does have an angle which is attached to something quite primal in girls. I guess people want it to define them, like, ‘I’m a Twilight fan.’ That’s crazy to me. I think people really just like being part of a crowd. There’s something just tremendously exciting about hyping yourself up to that level.”
Fans of Pattinson also coined a nickname for the star, calling him RPatz. He said in another interview, “I would like to break the hands and mouth of the person who came up with it.”
On his very first Twilight premiere
In the behind the scenes DVD commentary for Twilight, he and its director Catherine Hardwicke revealed Pattinson left the premiere screening at one point.
As his character Edward gazed into Bella’s eyes, Pattinson told Hardwicke, “I think this is where I can’t handle it anymore. In the premiere.”
“Is this where you ran out of theatre?” she asked him.
“That’s what your mom told me,” she continued. “You just ran out.”
On his problematic character Edward Cullen
Pattinson has a lot of questions about his character Edward Cullen, including questioning why a “108-year-old vampire” would be interested in a “kid” through to his unhealthy fascination with Bella.
He told OK Magazine, “If Edward was a non-fictional character and you met him in reality, he’s one of those guys that would be an axe murderer.”
Buzzfeed was also able to source footage from another interview with Pattinson, in which he said, “When you put the bare facts out, [Edward] tells [Bella] he killed forty or fifty people and ‘You really shouldn’t [love me]. I wanna kill you so much every single day, every moment I’m with you I'm desperately wanting to kill you.”
“And [Bella’s] like, ‘I don’t care, I love you.’ And it’s like, well there’s definitely something wrong with her and there’s very obviously something wrong with me,” he continued.
He also spoke with Jennifer Lopez for Variety's Actors on Actors series and called it a "weird story."
He summed up the series saying, "Twilight is about this guy, and he finds the one girl he wants to be with, and also wants to eat her. I mean, not eat her, but drink her blood or whatever."
On the story
Pattinson once told Variety he felt he “stopped mentally progressing around the time when I started doing those movies” and has questioned the logic of Twilight’s story - at length.
In the Buzzfeed supercut, he recalled with disdain that his character had to “look on... Google Images” to find out more about human/vampire birth even though he and the Cullen family members were “like three hundred-year-old geniuses.”
He didn’t stop there and questioned the birth itself in an interview with W Magazine, saying, “It’s nuts... I had to give [Bella] a caesarean by chewing through a placenta. I don’t know the medical—how it works. But there was definitely chewing through something. No, it’s wild. Once you got it in your head you’re like, oh, this is just the thing for little girls. And then, like, it’s kind of—it’s difficult to get past.”
He continued, “If it hadn’t been so successful, I think people would have thought it was really weird. It’s a really weird story. But I think once it becomes mainstream, it’s difficult for people to see how strange the story is.”
On who made his Twilight experience memorable
Pattinson famously dated his co-star Kristen Stewart, however, their relationship later fell apart the same year that their film Breaking Dawn - Part 2 was released.
Stewart was photographed kissing her Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders, which prompted her to give a public apology to Pattinson.
When asked which of his coworkers helped make his experience “rewarding”, he spent a good thirty seconds trying to come up with an answer - before eventually settling on “SK-II face packs”. SK-II is a skincare brand.
On his final days on the Twilight set
Pattinson was asked by WOIO if he had taken any mementos from the set of Breaking Dawn - Part 2, the final film in the Twilight series, to remember the series by.
He responded simply, “My dignity.”