While the Twilight Saga was dominating box-office receipts, Robert Pattinson was busy shooting his latest movie, Damsel. The film is based on the Grimm’s fairytales and follows a young woman, played by Elizabeth Taylor’s great-granddaughter, Lynn, who sets out to avenge her father’s murder. Lynn’s character is named Damsel, which perfectly encapsulates the story — an independent woman fighting to save herself and those close to her.

If you’re a fan of the star-crossed lovers genre, then you’ll no doubt be stoked to see Pattinson’s take on the titular role. As luck would have it, the actor has graciously agreed to give us a taster of what is to come in the movie. So without further ado, let’s dive into the interview.

New York Minute

The first question we need to ask is: When did you first hear about Damsel?

It was a project that I’d been trying to do for a while. I always like to work with Eric [Gilliam], who I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a few times before. He’s an amazing visual storyteller, and for me, he’s the ultimate director. I think he and I have the same mind-set when it comes to storytelling. So when Eric approached me with this project, it was something I couldn’t refuse. Plus there was a part that I just couldn’t say no to, being in New York and the opportunity to be with my favourite actress, Lynn [Taylor’s] great-granddaughter.

Screenwriters On Set

The second question we need to ask is: Did you write the screenplay yourself, or did you co-write it with anyone?

I did most of the writing myself. Eric and I had been talking about turning one of the Grimm’s fairytales into a screenplay. I love that world, the way that it was originally written. So I went down the line and wrote all the scenes. Then I would meet with Eric and Lynn and we would flesh out the story together. Sometimes we would change things, sometimes not. But all the while, I was thinking of the original stories and what would work best on screen. I think that’s how you get the best of both worlds — keeping the essence of the story and bringing it to life through cinema.

Romantic Fantasy

The third question we need to ask is: How would you describe Damsel in three words?

Romantic fantasy, terrifying fantasy, and sexy fantasy.

Romantic fantasy is what we’re trying to achieve. It’s a fairy tale — a love story. One that’s been steeped in darkness — a love triangle that ends in tragedy. The only way to save these two star-crossed lovers is for someone to sacrifice themselves. For me, it’s always been about the romance. About how far these two will go to be together. Will they succumb to their lust? Or will they fight it and save each other at the expense of their own happiness? In the end, it’s a story of bravery and selflessness. Of someone standing up for what they believe in and what they love. A fantasy in every sense of the word.

Terrible fantasy is sort of the polar opposite. For me, it means big, scary, chaotic things. Like a superhero movie. Something that’s very entertaining, but at the same time, very frightening. I love movies like that. I love the grandiosity of it all. The spectacle.

Sexy fantasy is what everyone else in the world will make of it. For me, it means a certain combination of glamour and danger. Of course, I want to play the romantic lead, so that means wearing gorgeous gowns and posing in beautiful locations. But at the same time, it means danger. There’s always a shadow lurking behind every corner. A witch waiting to curse you. A giant spider ready to bite you. An assassin on the hunt. You never truly know what’s around the next corner.

Is It A Trend Or An Iconic Brand?

The fourth question we need to ask is: Does this type of movie add a new dimension to the star-crossed lovers genre, or is it a trend?

I think it’s a little of both. It’s definitely a trend, especially now that we’re in the middle of awards season. We’re seeing a lot of these sorts of stories coming out at the moment. And as for the brand, I can’t say that I’d ever thought of Elizabeth Taylor when it came to romance, particularly female-driven romance. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that she was the perfect representation of the type of woman that I wanted to play. As for the gowns, my favourite designer for this movie is probably Ganni. I wore a lot of their clothes during the filming and I still feel like a real princess.

Princess Of Darkness

The fifth question we need to ask is: Is Damsel the first in a series of romantic fantasy movies starring thespian royalty?

No, it’s not. At least, not directly. There’s a really great adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest coming out in October. It stars Mark Rylance, Geoffrey Rush, and Kelly Macdonald. I’m not sure how familiar you are with Shakespeare’s work, but I guarantee you will know the characters when you see them. If you’ve never heard of The Tempest, then you must be wondering what sort of craziness has befallen us. It’s a story of an island where spirits are free to roam and the magical powers of Prospero are at our disposal. One of the movie’s trailers even shows us a witch-like figure, silhouetted against a sunset. It looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of this particular fairy tale in the future.

A New Direction

The sixth question we need to ask is: With romantic fantasy now firmly established as a cinematic trend, what sorts of stories will we see from here on out?

I think that we’ll start to see darker material. Which is always nice, as there’s so much light-hearted fun to be had in these sorts of movies. It’s just a shame that it has to be associated with sadness and tragedy. There’s a great opportunity to have some fun and frolic, but at the same time, learn a thing or two. A lot of the stories that I’ve read have a very dark undertone, but at the same time, there’s something strangely thrilling about them. Dark is definitely the new light.