Robert Pattinson is currently in the middle of releasing his sophomore album, VIGILANTE, which was inspired by—and features songs written for—the legendary Harry Potter books and films. The album’s first single, “Sorcerer & Sorceress,” has been climbing the Billboard Alternative Songs chart since its release last month, reaching a peak of No. 3 last week. In advance of the album’s official release on November 12th, we got the chance to speak with the English actor about his craft, his favorite Harry Potter character, and more.
How did you get into acting?
I remember being really young and asking my dad if I could be an actor when I grew up. He must have thought I was joking because he said, “You’ll be an actor? You’ll be the funny guy on TV?” And I just thought, “Actors are funny guys on TV. I don’t see what the problem is.” (Laughs) So, from then on, I suppose I’ve just been doing it.
I went to the London International Film Festival in 2015 to support the UK film industry, and got a chance to see a Harry Potter film in the cinema. It was one of the last shows and, as you’d expect, the place was heaving. It was an incredible feeling to be in the middle of that, and I could only think about how lucky I was to be there. It really is the best place to see films. It was such a magical moment. The film itself was pretty good too, but it’s the experience of being there that made it memorable.
What is it about the Harry Potter films that has drawn you to them?
I suppose it’s that magical world that we as humans create. I like the escapism of it all. I also think that it’s an incredible accomplishment just to be able to write a novel as complex and detailed as Hogwarts. It must have taken a lot of research.
Which Harry Potter character is your favorite, and why?
Ah, difficult question. I suppose it’s a tie between Harry and Ron, and then again maybe it’s not. I have so much admiration for Barty Crouch Jr. because he was a real character, created by J.K. Rowling, and he’s very human. Plus, he’s a father figure to Harry. And then, of course, there’s Dumbledore. So many great characters. It’s an embarrassment of riches.
Do you have a screen adaptation of any of your own books that you’d like to see happen?
I’ve had a few films made based on my books, but I’ve never been overly keen on them. I think it can be hard to find the right balance between adapting a book and creating your own movie. I have a few ideas for new stories that I’d like to see turned into films, but I’m not sure how to go about it yet. My dad’s got a saying: “You write a story, then you write a story.” And that’s what I’m trying to do. I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with a story that’ll make it to the big screen, but I’m sure I’ll write a few more novels before I die.
What do you think would make for the perfect Harry Potter movie?
That’s a good question. I love going to the cinema and watching films. I think the perfect Harry Potter film would have to include all the elements that made the books so special. But also, it needs to work as a standalone film too, which is probably the most difficult combination to achieve. I think we’ve only just scratched the surface with Pottermore, the digital adaptation of the entire Harry Potter series. It’s the best one yet, but it still doesn’t capture everything that was wonderful about the printed edition. There’s so much more that we could explore, and I think that’s what makes the books so special. They never get stale. Every time you read them, you discover something new.
With all the talk of the digital vs. printed book phenomenon, how does that affect your work?
It’s interesting you say that because it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. I’ve been making a conscious effort to read more printed books, simply because they’re more comfortable to read than anything on an electronic device. It’s the same with music. It can be nice to have a record player, but it’s the rare opportunity to listen to music the way it was meant to be heard: through loud, pounding, passionate singing and musicianship that you can feel in your chest.
What has been your biggest challenge as an actor, and how did you overcome it?
I suppose my biggest challenge has been finding the right tempo for my acting. When I first started out, I would rush my lines and speak quickly. Since then, I’ve worked hard to find a way of speaking that’s not only authentic, but that feels right for the character too. For example, I’ve slowed down a bit on the set of Harry Potter, which has helped immensely. I’m not going to lie: it can be hard to find the right rhythm while acting. There are so many unfamiliar words and phrases that you have to learn as you go along, and it can be hard to know when you’re doing something right or wrong. But as long as you keep at it, you’ll get there in the end.
Do you have any advice for young actors just starting out?
Yes, absolutely. Don’t be afraid to take classes or take advice from people who know better than you. I didn’t know much about acting either before I started, and I quickly learned that there were a lot of things I didn’t know. I suppose the only advice I can give is to follow your heart and never be afraid to try new things. That’s what makes us human. We should all be happy that we have the ability to explore the world around us and let our imagination run wild. Why should acting be any different?
It’s been a pleasure talking to you. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. Make sure to check out VIGILANTE when it is released on November 12th.