The latest installment in the Twilight saga, Eclipse, will arrive in theaters this week. The final chapter will once again see Bella (Bella Thorne) and Edward (Chris O’Dowd) fighting a battle of wills, while her relationships with Jacob (Taylor Lautner) and Mike (Taylor Lautner) struggle to evolve as well. As if the pressures of motherhood weren’t enough, Bella must also deal with her inner self, struggling with whether or not she’s willing to risk her life for her love.

While we wait for Eclipse to arrive in theaters, Twi-hards can take comfort in knowing that the next installment of the Twilight saga, titled New Moon, will be released on June 30th 2009. In the meantime, we can look back on the first three films in the Twilight saga and consider them both as a single cohesive work and auteur’s tour de force. Although it received some mixed reviews upon its release, it’s almost impossible to discuss the Twilight saga without considering it among the greatest love stories of all time.

Robbie’s First Steps

It was a snowy night in February 2002 when a small child wearing bright red snowflake-shaped earmuffs and clutching a wooden spoon in one hand entered a toy store in Glendale, California. The store owner, who would later become known as ‘Uncle Jeff,’ was at first bewildered but then extremely pleased to see a young child walk into his store on such a cold night. Impressed by the unique and curious combination of the snowflake-shaped earmuffs and the wooden spoon in the child’s hands, as well as the red attire, the 65-year-old man decided to ask the child’s mother if he could buy the items for the little boy. After spending several years as a single parent, the child’s mother agreed and the items were purchased by ‘Uncle Jeff’ for his nephew, whom he would later name Robert.

From that moment on, the young boy grew up unaware of the world around him and believing that his uncle was the greatest magician in the universe. The only other people he interacted with were shop owners and employees at the Uncle Jeff’s toy store, whom he regarded as his family. From as early as he can remember, Robert wanted to be a magician himself. His first real experience with magic was at the age of four, when he witnessed his uncle perform a trick as he grew up believing that it was magic.

From Magic To Film: An Interview With Robert Pattinson

On the occasion of the premiere of his directorial debut, The Rover, at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, Robert Pattinson was interviewed by Katie Couric. During the interview, which you can watch in its entirety here, the British actor talked about a variety of topics, including his early inspiration, the making of his first movie, what it’s like to be a part of a billion-dollar franchise, and more.

One of the most interesting things that Pattinson discussed was his initial reaction to the idea of playing character Edward Cullen in Twilight. After having read the books and seen the first film, he found the idea of portraying a vampire completely appealing, as it allowed him to explore aspects of human nature that he found fascinating:

“I really liked the book; I thought it was very unique. When I first read the books, I found them dark and interesting. There’s this one scene…I think it’s one of the most poignant scenes in the whole book. It’s about a father and his young son, and it’s very emotional. When I read that, it really inspired me to play Edward. It’s about this father-son bond. I think a lot about my dad when I play Edward. I grew up with a lot of admiration for my father, and I wanted to be just like him when I grew up. He passed away when I was 16, so I really wanted to explore that relationship as well, playing a character that my dad never got the chance to play:

“In a lot of ways, I feel like this story is a coming of age story. Not only are you coming of age as an individual, but you’re also coming of age as a human being. As you grow older, you learn more about life and what you want from it. That was something that appealed to me, the idea that [Eclipse’s] Bella is learning to be independent, and that appealed to me as an actor as well. It’s interesting how different emotions can be tied to the same genealogy. You’re rooting for the characters but you’re also feeling sorry for them at the same time because it’s so painful to grow up and have to leave your parents. You want them to be together, and at the same time, you understand what would make them happy.”

When asked what he’s learned from the process of making his directorial debut, Robert answered:

“I think what I’ve learned is just to be true to yourself. To not be afraid to put yourself in the film, even if you’re not acting. Just to let the camera capture what it is you’re feeling. To trust yourself completely and not be afraid to show the world your very best self. That’s what I try to do now every time I step on set. I try to bring my best self every time, no matter what the scene is. I think that’s something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. It never goes out of style, always keeps you feeling fresh, and keeps the energy high on set.”

Eclipse: Living In La Bella Vida

A lot has changed since the twilight of 2002 when the owner of a Glendale, California toy store bought some wooden spoons and earmuffs for a young boy. Aside from the child’s wardrobe, most of what was in his shopping cart was books, specifically vampire-related books. While his aunt and uncle may have thought it was funny that a toddler would walk into their toy store asking for a magical wand or a vampire hat, it was actually quite the opposite: It was a classic case of a child’s wish coming true and for the first time in his life, he found something that interested him and kept him fascinated. Unfortunately for the young boy, his joy wouldn’t last long.

Since that day, Robert Pattinson has lived in constant fear of running out of material. Each book in the Twilight series is considered to be a complete work, but he worries that eventually his luck will run out. In order to prevent this from happening, he makes sure to read the newest books as soon as they’re released and tries to attend book signings and meet-and-greets with his favorite authors whenever possible. It wasn’t always easy, as you’ll soon see. His first experience with an author was when he was six years old and his father took him to meet Robert Heinlein, the author of the Time Machine and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. While Heinlein was initially reluctant to talk with a six year old, his son eventually won him over and they had a lengthy conversation about literature and science fiction.

In 2012, Robert Pattinson was interviewed by Charlie Rose, in which he discussed his obsession with vampires and the Twilight saga. At that time, he was promoting the film adaptation of the popular Young Adult novel, The Giver. When asked how he prepared for the role of Jonas, the young leader of the community, Pattinson answered:

“I actually read the whole book, which at the time was about 1,200 pages. It was quite long. I think any performance actually has its challenges. I really did my research and tried to keep as much of the book in my head as possible while I was playing it. In some ways, I felt that Jonas was a role that could transform you, as it did for me. It definitely helped that it was based on such a wonderful novel, but I still remember reading it and being completely surprised by some of the story lines.”

It was actually the first time that he’d ever read a novel about human society, as he was born and raised in a secluded English manor house. The experience was completely new and exciting for him. He went on to explain how important it was for him to play a character that he could relate to, as he didn’t feel that he’d ever completely understood what it meant to be human before:

“Before this role, I think I may have understood it more on a spiritual level, as I had read a lot of philosophy and had some great mentors who had taught me a lot about life and about the world having a purpose beyond just me. As a human being, I feel like I understand a lot more now, in that I feel a responsibility to society and to the planet. That’s what interests me about this role and this book; it’s interested me as an actor, and it’s interested me as a human being. To be able to play a character like this makes you think differently about your role as an actor and different things you can do.”