Robert Pattinson appeared at the Berlin International Film Festival on Friday (February 17) to promote his latest effort, the big-screen adaptation of the Guy de Maupassant novel "Bel Ami." During the press conference, the actor opened up about making the film, which follows a manipulative young man who romances various women in 19th-century Paris.
"To work as a journalist? It's funny. I kind of like the idea, especially when he gets into the gossip section of the newspaper," the actor said about his character's job in the flick and how he related it to his own headline-making life.
"Something that was written in ... 1885, for it to be the exact same situation as it is now, where you have a template article and you just replace the name and it could be about anybody, I thought that was really funny. But he's not really a journalist. ... It's basically like being a reality TV star now," he said. "It was one of the jobs where you could kind of [get ahead]; he found a loophole in life where he could get money and a reputation by basically doing nothing. It was fun; it was interesting."
As for the film, Pattinson said that he agreed to do it because he thought he might never get the chance to play a character like that again. "It's funny, the structure of 'Bel Ami' and the character of Georges really rarely comes up in movies anymore because he's completely unrepentant, and normally a movie has to teach somebody a lesson nowadays. It was quite fun playing that," he said. "They both have their good sides."
He added that when he first read the script, he related to Georges' motivations. "I read the script a long time ago. I was pretty young. I think I've changed a little bit," the actor said. "I kind of understood that. You create an empire just so you can sh-- on someone else. I think I've grown up a little bit. I'm not as horrible."
The film is much different in tone than "Twilight," and Pattinson addressed any concerns he might have about bringing that audience along to this film, which opens in March.
"I guess my responsibility, I think, it's not necessarily to give anything back other than try and do the best work you can. You get an audience for doing certain jobs, so I think the biggest disservice you can do to your audience is trying to repeat the same thing and to come just to get money or whatever," he said. "If a 'Twilight' audience would come watch 'Bel Ami,' it's a movie that I wouldn't have thought that audience would go to, so I think that in some way, it's kind of doing a service to someone. I felt like I learned a lot from it."
Pattinson spoke about balancing smaller films with big ones like "Twilight." "Having blockbusters in your life is never a bad thing," he said. "When you're making it, if everyone is expecting it to be a blockbuster, it's kind of lame."