Transcript of part of the Q&A – Just Rob’s answers :-
Rob your character in Cosmopolis is very dark and considerably troubled was it a deliberate decision to move away from things you’d already done?
No not really. I never tried to move away from anything in particular. With Bel Ami I read it after the first Twilight and liked it then. I thought it was kind of funny; it’s the only job I’ve ever done where I’ve been worried about the audience perception. To go from playing one character who’s supposed to be the ideal boyfriend, ten you go to playing a guy who’s preying on people. Who’s basterdizing people loving him. Then I ended up doing it well after, I felt differently when I’d done like two more Twilight films at the point. With Cosmopolis I just found it… this just seemed really really new it wasn’t just good. It had something that I don’t think I’d seen before. Also not just in the writing but some of the subject matter, I don’t think you’re going to see a six minute long prostate exam in any other film anytime soon!
David Cronenberg is such a unique talent is he a Director you sought out to work with?
David is an adjective. You don’t really think about being able to work with adjectives. The thought never really came into my head. It came completely out of the blue and it took me a while to really process it. And still when I saw the final film, I like the movie there’s something very foreign about it. Then it gets to Cannes and it’s so bizarre! I was thinking at the time that I got offered it that I was oversaturated and I was looking to do ensemble pieces. In this one my character is almost sort of obnoxiously present. He’s incessantly speaking and even the way David shot it, the camera was like 8 inches away from my face the whole time. It was not what I thought I was going to end up doing but it was something that was very hard to say no to.
How did you find your character, he seems to be so full of disgust with himself and the world he lives in? He does seem desperately unhappy and increasingly self-destructive.
I don’t necessarily know if he’s unhappy. I think if the film has any type of comment it’s that…. You know I always feel really comfortable saying the film means this or that when I’m by myself, but when I’m sitting here next to David I’m like arrgh! It’s about the absurdity of the world. When I first read it I took it as an absurd comedy. Then when people saw the film in Cannes, hardly anyone was laughing and I was like… hey I thought this was funny. It’s not so much about trying to destroy yourself I think he thinks that if you look at everything and the world doesn’t make sense then you have to start again. It happens again and again and again. To me you don’t have to be prophetic to see that it’s going to completely fall apart. He just suddenly sees it for the first time and ocne you really see the world it all crumbles.
How does it feel to be in amongst such an amazing cast?
I just spent the whole movie in a perpetual terror. It wasn’t like I could just spend the first few weeks getting used to the world. There were new people coming in every day. But at least having the limo remain the same. It was a weird environment to work in. There’s no one even behind that camera that you can see. Normally how I try to work is that you try to connect with the eye of the guy who’s behind the camera. In this you start having a relationship with a camera, which is just an inanimate object. It’s really odd. A lot of the actors who came in said it’s not a really nice feeling to begin with. So you had all these talented actors coming in and I felt at least far more comfortable with the environment.
Did the scenes where you were outside the car provide you with some relief from that?
Sort of. I noticed that when I got out of the limo my walk changed. It’s not my walk. It’s this weird thing, there’s this scenes near the end where I’m walking up to an apartment and I watched it the other day and was like “My walk seems really weird”. I think there’s something about being Canadian, I was so comfortable. I hate that. I read this thing about James Gandolfini that no matter what’s happening in a scene he’ll always figure out a way to sit down. Clearly for different reasons from why what I wanted to. It is a great thing to sit down if you can figure out some way to sit down. It’s so much easier. When I finally did stand up I was like I want to sit down on the floor!
You took the film to Cannes how was that?
It was amazing. I was in Cannes just to promote it and I felt like I was piggybacking a little on the credibility of the festival. I felt like an imposter. To have a film in Cannes much sooner than I ever thought it was amazing yeah.
Your character is looking for thrills, what kind of thrills do you look for in roles?
I really like the idea of people getting frightened of me. I don’t quite know what that means but I like the idea of it. I don’t know it’s so difficult to get anything that is dangerous made. However Comopolis is, it’s almost ridiculous that it’s a relatively dangerous movie to get made. Everyone’s been saying like there’s too much talking but I would love to try and do anything which fees fresh and new. It’ the only thing that interest me, I don’t like repeating myself or other people.
You mentioned the extended prostate exam, the film has quite a few challenging scenes in it, were there any awkward moment on set? How do you cope with being naked in front of your fellow actors and of course your lovely parents here tonight?
Are my parent’s here?! Were they giving speeches? I mean I don’t think I’ve been more afraid in my whole career than I was sitting in the Limo for the first camera test. It wasn’t even a scene and I felt like I was going to throw up. I felt like I had so many ideas about how to play it that I just completely overwhelmed myself. Literally up until I said that first line. After that point I was fine, but I couldn’t have started at a lower point. But there are certain bits. The prostrate scene we were intending to do completely naked and I remember going to David’s trailer saying “I don’t know.. I haven’t worked out enough”. Then I was sitting there and I got all paranoid about it. I didn’t care during the actual prostate exam scene because then I could sit up and suck my gut in. The thing sitting on the couch I was worried about. The Emily Hampshire was saying “It looks sweet it looks like you haven’t got a belly button” I was like “That’s not helping! Not at all”.
I like David’s comeback afterwards to her when she did her own monologue. She does this whole thing in like one take and she was terrified about it. David told her she was going to replace her whole head anyways and he just cast her for her body. She totally believed him for the rest of the take.
But I don’t know, with awkward stuff it’s like none of it is awkward if you feel like it’s going to be good afterwards. Once you get to a certain point you think that it’s going to be good. You just trust and then it doesn’t feel awkward. Besides I’ve done way more awkward stuff in my real life!