In a conversation as twisty, intense and referential as one of David Cronenberg’s own movies, the director and his Cosmopolis star Robert Pattinson spent the better part of an hour Wednesday giggling and talking to the New York Times’ TimesTalk on live video about everything from the billionaire-gone-downhill film, which opens wide in theaters Aug. 24, to prostate exams, Snooki as American royalty, of sorts, to watching YouTube videos of psychopath Jeffrey Dahmer to yes, THAT situation involving Kristen Stewart, albeit briefly and vaguely.
The lengthy interview was with the Times’ David Carr, in front of an audience of mainly screaming, frenzied Twilight fans expressing their love for Pattinson, who looked demurely casual in a backward white baseball hat, striped shirt, black blazer and sneakers. Carr also incurred some wrath when he dared compare Pattinson and Stewart’s romantic troubles following her admitted affair with Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders to the problems of another kind of royalty — Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana. Boos filled the room.
Here are five of the best moments from the interview:
1. Pattinson: “Things fall apart when they’re supposed to fall apart.”
Hmmm. That’s what Pattinson mysteriously said within a philosophical ramble about the paparazzi and accountability, after being asked about media attention to his romance, and if as much attention should be paid to politicians. He could have been talking solely about the state of America, which he called “a very hopeful country,” or he could have been talking about … well, you know.
2. Pattinson: “I think America really wants to have a royal family, like a Democratic royal family. People pick their king and queen, and their prince and princesses.”
That’s what Pattinson, hailing from England, said when pressed about the nature of fame in the United States. When Carr stated that if Pattinson and Stewart have trouble, it’s like Charles and Di having trouble, Pattinson shut down, saying, “I wouldn’t go that far,” while audience members shouted at Carr for even suggesting the comparison. Cronenberg lightened the tone, joking, “Let’s stop at Princess Snooki.”
3. Cronenberg: “There is a scene that involves a prostate exam with Rob, so you may want to see the movie.”
At that moment, when Cronenberg referenced Pattinson being in an, ahem, compromised scene within the film, also in which he has sex with multiple women over the course of one day, audience members whooped and hollered their approval. “He [Pattinson] said he had no idea about shooting the scene that most prostate exams take 10 seconds. His takes six minutes [in the film],” said Cronenberg.
4. Cronenberg: “Snooki is round little ball of love.”
When the esteemed director mentioned that he and Pattinson had rung the New York Stock Exchange bell on the trading floor, Pattinson piped up, “The Jersey Shore cast had done it the week before.” Cronenberg snapped back, “I actually used some disinfectant gel.” Carr demurred, “You’re kind of mean,” and Pattinson exclaimed, “You don’t even know who she is!” To which Cronenberg replied, “Snooki is a round little ball of love.”
5. Pattinson: “I didn’t do a shred of research. … I was looking at sociopaths and Howard Dean.”
Pattinson didn’t research the stock market or billionaires. But he did, along with costar Paul Giamatti, look at YouTube videos of notorious killer Jeffrey Dahmer, he said. He also worked on his American accent. “For some reason, I [also] became obsessed with Howard Dean,” added Pattinson of the one-time Democratic presidential candidate whose thunderous shriek of “YEAAAHHHH” during a speech in 2004 landed him in the eye of a media storm. “He would be a great president, just because of his voice,” said Pattinson, smiling.
–by Solvej Schou