THANKS to his role as ‘vegetarian’ vampire Edward Cullen in the Twilight saga, Robert Pattinson is now one of the biggest stars on the planet. But for that very reason he nearly turned down his latest role in David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis.
“It was a little nerve-racking and it scared me because I was shooting the last Twilight movie when I got offered it,” he says. “I was really self-conscious, thinking ‘Ugh, I’m just so over-saturated everywhere’,” says the 26-year-old, taking a cocktail stick out of his mouth - he recently gave up smoking.
“I really wanted to do ensemble things and then this comes along, which is so in your face - I’m speaking all the time. But there was something about it which I thought was amazing and it was David as well, so I couldn’t really say no to it.”
In the movie, Pattinson plays 28-year-old billionaire Eric Packer, who is determined to be chauffeured across New York City in his extravagant limousine to get a haircut, even though the city is in turmoil compounded by a visit from the President of the United States.
As the day goes by, wild activity erupts on the streets while Packer watches helplessly as his empire collapses. His growing paranoia leads him to piece together clues to a most terrifying secret: his imminent assassination.
It’s a visceral trip for cinema-goers. Dialogue is almost poetic and the majority of scenes take place in Packer’s limousine.
Cocooned within, he conducts business meetings, meets lovers, eats, drinks, urinates and even has his daily check-up by a doctor.
But it wasn’t the sex or violence or even a certain probing scene that fazed Pattinson. “The toughest part was just the first day,” he says.
“The only thing I didn’t really know how to do, even when we started shooting, was say the first line, which is ‘I want a haircut’.”
Laughing nervously, he says, “I still think it’s the worst delivery in the whole movie.”
Far from feeling embarrassed by the scene in which he undergoes a prostate examination - while seducing his financial advisor - Pattinson says he was excited about it.
“I mean it’s doing a scene that you know has never been done before and is never going to be done again,” he laughs.
Cosmopolis is released tomorrow