If you’ve never heard of Robert Pattinson, it’s probably not the kind of comedy you’d expect to find on TV. The British actor has gained a reputation for being one of Hollywood’s most private and elusive stars. While his films have often grossed billions at the box office, he’s rarely given interviews or taken the time to promote his projects. In fact, it’s been 25 years since he graced our screens with a motion picture. So, it’s high time he changed all that.
Last year, Pattinson finally decided to lend his celebrity to a television campaign. In April 2019, he made his debut as a TV host with the Netflix series ‘The Briefing’, which looks at global events through the lenses of the brightest minds. In an effort to promote the show’s premiere, Pattinson held a short Q&A with fans at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. In the interview, he discussed everything from the highs and lows of making TV history, to the future of movie theater. Let’s take a look.
The Highs And Lows Of Hosting A Netflix Special
Pattinson is a seasoned TV host. After all, he’s been moderating debates for years. So, being the face of a Netflix series shouldn’t pose a problem for him. Yet, somehow, hosting a Netflix comedy special turned out to be more stressful than he’d expected. While he’d done his homework and studied the craft, he admitted that being in front of a camera and trying to be funny were different tasks entirely. As he put it, “it’s a completely different ballgame to being in a scene with funny people and saying funny things. And it’s like playing a word search while someone is verbally assaulting you.” Needless to say, he wasn’t thrilled with the experience. “I was really nervous. I’d never really interviewed anyone, much less done one at the Fringes. It just felt really weird. I wasn’t nearly as good as I’d been hoping to be. It just didn’t feel like it.”
Still, he insisted that he’d learned something from the ordeal. Namely, that he didn’t want to do this kind of thing ever again. “I’m done being a host. I don’t want to do this ever again. I don’t want to talk to any more people in TV or film. I can’t believe I did this one time.” So, he resigned himself to being “just [an] actor for the rest of [his] life”.
The Future Of Theaters
While movie theaters have been struggling for some time, they’ve still managed to hang on for dear life in the face of changing times. According to a 2019 study by the research group CinemaScore, filmgoing habits have shifted to online streaming platforms. Specifically, 41% of moviegoers now go to the theaters just to watch TV shows and films. And only 28% visit cinemas to see movies. So, it’s a wonder that theaters have managed to stay afloat for so long. Still, the endless stream of content available on demand means changes are inevitable.
Pattinson is well aware of this trend and worries about the fate of movie theaters. In an interview with The Guardian, he said that while cinemas have always been places of enlightenment, they may also be sites of great danger. “I feel like they’re dying,” he said. “I mean, you go to the movies to escape for a while. But there’s always something more interesting to look at on TV.”
Pattinson wasn’t alone in his criticism of the movie theater. After all, comedian and author Roseanne Barr said that while cinemas have been a welcome change for some, they’re not fit for the 21st century. “The problem with cinemas is that they don’t change with the times. They haven’t evolved in 40 years and the experience is just as bad as it always was. And it’s not surprising considering the majority of theaters are full of people who are over 50 and just want to see a movie and get out quickly. So, it’s not like they care about a unique experience for everyone who visits them.”
Pattinson isn’t interested in criticizing a business he hasn’t tried himself. Still, it’s hard not to interpret his comments as a dig at the franchise he’s partly responsible for. After all, Twentieth Century Fox released Pattinson’s first feature film, ‘Lost and Found’, in theaters in August 1994. And it was one of the biggest hits that summer, as well as the beginning of a franchise that would eventually make him a multi-billionaire. As a result of its huge success, ‘Twilight’ was born, launching Pattinson and the franchise into a new era of superstardom.
Is cinema obsolete? Perhaps. But that doesn’t mean that we have to give up on the idea of going to the theater. Instead, it might mean we need to find a new way to watch movies. And given the way things are going, maybe it’s time to look into alternative avenues for entertainment. After all, nobody likes sitting in a stuffy theater for two hours while waiting for the show to start. Especially if you can watch all the movies you want on demand from Netflix or Amazon.