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Robert Pattinson Doesn't Know How To Play A Normal Guy

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ROBERT PATTINSON
Robert Pattinson stars in "The Rover." | Alexandra Wyman/Invision/AP

Robert Pattinson is tired.

The 28-year-old has spent the better part of the last month doing press for David Michôd's "The Rover," a slow-burn thriller that's caked in equal parts dirt, dried blood and nihilism. Pattinson has appeared on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter. He's done interviews with BuzzFeed, The Daily Beast, Indiewire, Jimmy Kimmel and, now, The Huffington Post. "It was good in theory," Pattinson said of the press gauntlet, before trailing off.

Fortunately, the performance Pattinson is promoting is one of his best yet. He plays Rey in "The Rover," a simple-minded criminal who gets left for dead by his brother in post-apocalyptic Australia and then goes on a journey of revenge with Eric (Guy Pearce), a man also wronged by Rey's sibling.

"I think lots of people want to do stuff that's relatable, and I want to do stuff that's unrelatable," Pattinson said of his career outlook in general. "I don't think I have particularly normal emotional reactions to things. So trying to play someone who is just a normal guy ... I don't really know how to do it."

HuffPost Entertainment spoke to Pattinson at the Bowery Hotel in Manhattan about "The Rover," his relationship with tabloid media and the never-ending cycle of rumors about his career.

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You've worked with these incredible directors: David Michôd, Werner Herzog, David Cronenberg and, soon, Olivier Assayas. What are you gleaning from those experiences?
It's just going to school. I think that's exactly what I'm doing. I think a lot of actors know what they have in them, and they kind of work with directors who help them do the specific thing that they already want. I have no idea what I have! I'm just kind of hoping something will happen if I work with Herzog or Cronenberg.

A lot of coverage surrounding your performance in "The Rover" is couched in headlines about how this film puts "Twilight" behind you. But "Twilight" was two years ago, and it felt like "Cosmopolis" already "put 'Twilight' behind you." Does that narrative get annoying?
I guess when certain people ask me, it's kind of annoying. Like, "How do you feel about everyone seeing stuff differently?" It's kind of insulting. "So you're saying all the stuff I did before was shit? Thanks, man!" I always forget how little people actually know you. You feel like you've done so many interviews, but most people have just seen a couple movies. Maybe! Or just seen you in a tabloid or something. You kind of forget that when you're in the center of it.

So much was made about you singing "Pretty Girl Rock" after the Cannes premiere that I expected it to be a much bigger moment. But it's kind of subdued and melancholy. Did the response that scene received surprise you at all?
The one thing I was thinking was that there was some kind of meta, breaking-the-fourth-wall thing happening, because of all the "Twilight" stuff. But it's really not that, and that's the one thing I was afraid of it being. Obviously people started bringing it up thinking it's a comment on something.

I guess? I don’t know why they would think that.
Because people love all that stuff. I always read film reviews, and so many always love it when the movie is winking at itself and it's being self aware. Who wants that? It's crazy! So I didn't want it to seem like it was self aware. I like it, though. When the song cuts in, that's the funniest part. It's so loud. He's skipping behind Guy afterward. Do you know those guys who recut "The Shining" trailer? It's like suddenly the movie becomes that moment.

Do you actually read reviews?
Yeah. I don't quite know why. It's so difficult to figure out if you're doing the right thing. I guess there's some way of knowing after reading, sort of. But sometimes it's just incredible how opposite everything can be. It's bizarre. You learn absolutely nothing after, and you just hate bad reviews. You can't even remember the good ones.

On the topic of reading things about yourself: There was a story recently that claimed you were being sought for Indiana Jones. How do you find out about ridiculous casting rumors like that? Google alerts?
On the press tour. I had no idea. I swear it's people who know it's going to generate tons of bad publicity for me. There will be one totally random article not based on anything, and then there are 50 afterwards totally slamming me. It's like, "I didn't even say anything!"

You've been in the public eye for a while now, but does it still surprise you how much false information is published about you?
It's really crazy. With me as well, it's the same stories again and again and again. No matter what. I was trying to figure out a way to not be in tabloids anymore, and I just don't even know how to do it. I thought if you don't get photographed then they can't do anything.

No, it doesn't matter.
No, they put, like, five-year-old photographs in articles.

You seem to have very eclectic tastes. Do you ever worry about playing a movie-star game, where you do one for them and one for you?
I'm not entirely sure how it works. I've seen other actors who try to do that, or just done studio movie after studio movie, and then suddenly it just ends. So, I don't really know what the game is. I just kind of think if there's at least one element that you can guarantee is going to bring some kind of fulfillment to your life -- which is in a lot of ways working with someone who is just kind of a hero -- than even if the movie is terrible, you know something [positive] will happen just to say you did it.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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