Rob talks about it too. "Do you mind if we sit outside?" he asks as he stands in his hotel room, looking longingly out the window. "I need some air." It's a cold, gray day, but who is to deny him some freedom? (And chivalry is not dead, girls. A young man will still lend you his jacket. Maybe because he is British.) Rob doesn't just face paparazzi, he gets clawing, shrieking girls too. New Yorkers may remember he was clipped by a cab while fleeing from the ladies on the set of Remember Me this past summer. "But at least that's an experience, something new," he says. "If it's just screaming -- and I know this sounds so ridiculous -- that gets old. But sometimes when there's literal chaos, it's like being in a war zone, and that's kind of exciting. You're just running through the crowd of people chasing after you and no one knows what's going on." Rob has laid low for a few days -- a disturbance in the Force so great that Perez Hilton (home of some of Rob's 15,200,000 Google hits) felt compelled to post, "Where is R-Patz?!" "If I'm not out, I've had a heroin overdose," Rob observes. "It's one thing or another."
At the moment, there is only one thing anyone cares about regarding these two, who, as Twilight's Bella and Edward, manifest all of our vampiric romance fetishes: Are they dating or what? Well ... it's clear that Rob and Kristen are close -- very close. Okay, who is the most romantic then? "I have a no-b******* detector," says Kristen, "so I'd have to say Rob is. I think romance is anything honest. As long as it's honest, it's so disarming." Rob chuckles when asked the same question. "Um, I don't know. What did Kristen say?" You. "No. I'm better at faking." This is followed by a very long laugh.
The two first met at the 2007 auditions for Twilight, what they both assumed was going to be a cult vampire movie -- not a $380-million-grossing global phenomenon complete with their own Barbies. They were thrown into a bedroom scene -- well, a scene in a bedroom, anyway. "It wasn't like we had to lie down together," Kristen says, "but we were very reactive. We had a very responsive, palpable thing." Robert notoriously took half a Valium beforehand. "I was calm and collected, and then we do this thing where we're pretty much making out. I've since tried to do it at another audition, but it completely just collapsed." He adds, "Kristen was very different from how I expected the girl who played Bella would be. I was kind of intimidated."
Even though she was born and bred in chillaxed Los Angeles, Kristen is an intense young lady -- and the shock of unruly black hair she currently has (a legacy from her role as Joan Jett in the upcoming The Runaways) does nothing to dispel that perception. Some Twilight fans were upset about their Bella turning into a noir-haired badass, but rest assured she'll be wearing a wig in Eclipse. "I think it's ridiculous that you need to look a certain way to be conventionally pretty," she declares, then smiles, "but now that my hair's grown out and shaggy, it sort of looks a little funny. I'll admit that." Kristen swears like a sailor and feels everything 200 percent. "She's a unique girl," says Rob simply. "You really don't meet many people like Kristen."
Today, in the hotel's Constellation Suite, Kristen is sitting on the concrete terrace in her uniform of jeans, a white tank under another tie-dyed one, and a hoodie. "I'm like, f***, I'm not wearing a neon-colored tube top or something pink," she says, putting her at odds with many in her red-carpet, The Hills-ian peer group. Ask her who made her top and she has no idea. A look at the tag, though, reveals something called Born Famous Couture. She looks mortified, then cackles. "I did not buy this, I promise."
Of the two, it seems Kristen wears the pants. (While she will admit to one girlish thing, a love of Chanel, her dream outfit is a custom Brooks Brothers suit.) When she ventures into a dress, it might just be covered in metal, like the Rock & Republic mini she wore to the Teen Choice Awards earlier this year. "Everyone was like, 'Look at your spiky skirt!'" she says with a grin, "and I was like, 'Spiky skirt? They were bullets, mofo!'" She gets some stick in the media for not suffering fools. "People think I'm trying to be rebellious, but that's the last thing I'm doing," she says. "But I would hate myself if I tried to satisfy the people who have a problem with the way I speak about myself, so it's okay."
"Kristen doesn't take any slack," Rob says. "She sticks to her guns -- and that's difficult to do." He also thinks she's a better actor than he is. "I don't really know how to act. I'm kind of guessing everything. ... Even though I can conceptualize stuff, she can actually do it. I can make something so complex and then be like, That was pout 27." He reckons she's a better judge of character too. "She'll decide on someone a lot quicker. She has a lot more self-esteem than I do, so she's like, 'You're an idiot and I don't want to talk to you,' and I'm like, 'I'm an idiot too!' So I'll talk to an idiot for like three days before deciding."
That handicap aside, Rob is gloriously handsome. The planes of his face work beautifully in 3-D, 2-D, probably 1-D too. But in person, he doesn't have a whole lot of game. He is self-deprecating to a fault. (During the interview, he refers to himself as an idiot a half dozen times.) He also maintains, in all seriousness, that he's never broken up with a girl; they've always broken up with him. "Eventually, the girl is like, 'I know it's got nothing to do with me. You're an?...?idiot.'"
In the corner of Rob's hotel room sits a stack of boxes. "Most of it is my dirty washing from New York," he says shamefacedly. "I didn't do any washing the whole time I was there. I just put it in boxes and shipped them up here." When his clean laundry runs out, he steals socks and underwear from sets. I find a suspicious lump in his jacket pocket, which turns out to be a pair of black socks. "Oh, God!" he says, bursting out in laughter. "See? I'm a klepto."
Famousness, it seems, hit Rob before he could coordinate his infrastructure. The most functional parts of his hotel room's decor are a couple of guitars and a box of Ray-Bans. "Do you want a pair?" he asks, thrusting them into my hand. "I've got 16." At least he's prepared to withstand the glare of the spotlight. He chuckles and says, "My dad says he likes to bask in my glow."
Rob might want to stash some of those sunglasses, because the excitement about next summer's release of Eclipse, in which Bella and Edward get engaged, might, yes, eclipse New Moon. The tabloids are excitedly reporting that Rob and Kristen are "Engaged!" based solely on them calling each other "husband" and "wife" on set. So it seems only appropriate to hit them with a newlywed game of sorts. ...
Who spends more time on their hair?
Rob: "I have weird personal-space issues, and so I can't stand people -- um, I'll do anything to not have any touch-ups."
Kristen: "Rob. In a very childish way, in every aspect of his life. He'll literally start talking in a different voice if he's won something. He sounds like a five-year-old."
Rob: "I'd say it was even. She said me? Really? When I really win things, it's just like..." [Kristen is correct: He makes a noise like a five-year-old.]
Kristen: "I'm definitely claiming that one. Rob can barely jump rope. I call him Flippy because when he does his stunt rehearsals, he flips around [makes a gesture like a penguin]. And, God, when he tries to run ..."
Rob: "Kristen. You notice it in the film; she looks so much more athletic than I do. And I'm supposed to be the superhero."
Kristen: "I'd have to say him. I hope he says him too actually. Like every time he looks in the mirror and he twists his hair. Actually, he could give a f*** about his hair. I hope that sarcasm translates."
Rob: "It's kind of a tie. We're both pretty proud people. Her ego is more solid than mine, but mine has soared to such peaks, it's ridiculous. Mine's more erratic, but it can get to a point when it's, like, godlike. Only in my eyes, of course. Sometimes just when I say hello the right way, I'm like, Whoa, I'm so cool."
Who Googles themselves more?
Rob: "She would say me, but I reckon it's her. If either one of us catches the other one doing it, we're like, Jesus Christ, is that what you're looking at? And the other one's on their phone pretending to text. I look up my competition more than she does. I'm incredibly shallow. I think she just looks at herself."
Who's the better musician?
Kristen: "Rob. He's a great singer. Heartbreaking."
The most outgoing?
Rob: "I was once, but not so much anymore. Kristen's a little more open now."
Kristen: "Who can hang? Definitely me. He's very sensitive. He's got a fragile ego."
Kristen: "Rob. He's a little bit more paranoid, so that feeds into superstition more."
Rob: "I am. I believe a lot in karma and stuff. Like when I end up with egg on my face, I'm like, Fate! I was born doomed. But I think it's more being an idiot than superstitious."
But perhaps it pays to be a little paranoid. Whatever it takes for Rob and Kristen to live their hothouse lives as normally as they can -- until the November 20 opening of New Moon, anyway. In the interim, CNN will report whenever Rob gets a haircut (it already has), and girls will get mad at Kristen for not wearing pink tube tops and taking their dream man away. They both fantasize about what they would do if nobody could see them. "I'd like to say something noble," Rob says, fiddling with his hair, "but I'd probably spy on people to hear what they think of me -- and then hate them for it afterward." Kristen is, as ever, a little blunter: "I'd go for a walk."