Most of us know of, and are perhaps even a little bit in love with, the British actor and musician Robert Pattinson. His film career has brought him much success, but he is surely best known for his role as vampire Edward Cullen in the Twilight Saga films. The Twilight films have made him a household name around the world, and his acting skills have won him many fans. With his fresh-faced looks and quirky sense of humor, he is certainly an attractive personality. But this summer he is playing a character far removed from his usual good-humored roles — one that will likely shock and disturb his fans. In the upcoming sci-fi horror film, The Lighthouse, directed by Robert Eggers, Pattinson plays Professor Robert Jameson, a ruthless scientist who devises a way to grant immortality to his family and friends. But, as this is a horror film, the audience will likely not find out until the end that he was not exactly who they thought he was. To learn more about the intriguing character and the making of the film, we spoke with producer Eric Newman of XYZ Films about the process of creating The Lighthouse and about the actor’s harrowing experience on the set. Take a look at our interview:

How Did You End Up Casting Robert Pattinson?

While we were making the British serial killer movie Night School, we were brainstorming ideas for our next film. One of the ideas that stuck was Professor Robert Jameson, a brilliant scientist who discovers a way to make people immortal. We started gathering the talent for the film, and when we saw Robert Pattinson’s audition, we knew we had found our man. His ability to convincingly play a serious, complex character while still having the screen presence to appeal to audiences was exactly what we were looking for. Plus, he is a great sports fan, and this was essential to making his character interesting. The actor was more than keen to take on the role, and after some discussion, we agreed that he was the one to play this character. From that point on, the role was all about finding the right look for him. He came back with a couple of options, and we picked the one that best suited his look. He is a very distinctive character, so it was important that we found the right way to portray him. We were also lucky enough to have Emily Mortimer, who plays his love interest, join us during the making of the film. We were able to explore the relationship between the two characters, and it was a real bonus to have someone with experience in romance play a part in a comedy. Without giving too much away, at the end of the day, it’s all about comedy and horror, and there are plenty of jokes within the movie that are definitely relevant to the subject matter. We have received great critical and popular response to the film, and it is definitely worth a look from an actor’s standpoint.

How Did You Find The Right Look For The Professor?

The Lighthouse is the first time that we have seen Robert Pattinson play a character that is not exactly what the audience might expect. Up until this point, he has either played a character that is silly, buffoonish, or a bit of both. For the most part, the audience has known what kind of character they are going to see, and the actor has generally played the part to perfection. In The Lighthouse, we see a more mature and calculated Robert Jameson, and it is a complete departure from what we usually see the actor portray. In order to fully understand what is going on, the viewer will need to be aware of how he got to be who he is, and that is something that the film is explicitly telling the audience. They need to know that this is a story about ambition, and it is a story that has a great deal of seriousness underlying it. His performance is a tour de force, and it will undoubtedly make you question everything you know about the actor. It is important to note that the majority of the film was shot on location at the St Barts, and it was necessary to find a way to make the island look as realistic as possible. It was a painstaking process, but one that paid off. The fact that he was able to go there and understand what was required to get the shots made, and then go back into his performance and bring that same understanding to the role, was exceptional. We were also lucky enough to have Mike Babitzky, a fantastic camera technician, assist us on set. He was able to give us amazing shots that really helped bring the location to life. As a whole, the team were instrumental in making the film look as good as it could, and I am sure that they are all proud of the work they did.

The Cast And Crew Had To Deal With A Serious Subject Matter

The subject matter of The Lighthouse is a bit unusual, and it is not often that you see an actor tackle such serious issues in a comedy. However, this is a very unique film, and it is important to the narrative that the viewer understands exactly what is going on. It is fair to say that while making the film, the cast and crew had to deal with a serious subject matter, and it was not always welcome news when the humor struck. On one hand, they wanted to make the patrons in the pub laugh their heads off, but on the other, they did not want to downplay the seriousness of the matter. In some instances, this led to some scenes that were a little bit awkward to shoot, but in others, it resulted in some truly exceptional material. The fact that they were able to find the humor in some of these scenes, and maintain the viewer’s interest, is a testament to the strength of the script and the acting prowess of the whole crew.

How Did You Pitch The Film To The Studio?

The very first step in making a film is pitch the film to the studio. For The Lighthouse, we had a small budget, and even then, it was a very difficult process trying to get our movie made. We initially pitched the film to several major studios, but none of them were interested. We were fortunate enough to score a deal with Canal +, after we showed them the rough cut of the film. It was a risk to agree to let them see the movie before it was finished, but it was well worth it. The fact that they were able to see something that they liked and agreed to back the project gave us the boost we needed to finish the film and release it this year. It has now been picked up by several other countries, so it is proving to be a real success.

What Were Some Of The Hardships That You Faced While Making The Film?

While the cast and crew of a film are mostly happy to be there and acting, occasionally there are difficulties that pop up. The biggest challenge for us was figuring out how to make the island of St Barts look as realistic as possible. It was extremely important to the narrative that the viewer understood that this was an actual place, and not some magical make-believe land. What made this even more difficult was that our director of photography, Andrew Gunn, lives in St Barts, and he did not have the money to travel back and forth from the island to shoot the scenes. So, we had to find a way to make it look as good as possible, using his local knowledge and practical tips from the specialists at the location. This was not an easy task, but we are very proud of the end result. We also had some very heavy rainfalls that made shooting difficult, and it rained for almost a week straight while we were there, so we had to figure out ways to protect the sets and equipment from getting ruined. This was certainly not a cheap or easy process, but this is a realistic look at what making a movie is like, and it is definitely an interesting glimpse into the world of filmmaking. We had some brilliant mind games while we were there as well, and they really added to the process. The biggest game that we played was ‘What If…?’ There were several scenarios that we would run through, and it would often leave us pondering unanswered questions. Even when we had all the pieces in place, it would still not be quite real until we started shooting. Once we were actually there, it was another story. When the camera started rolling, it was as if we were transported back into fiction, and it became our job to make it real again. Making movies is certainly not a straightforward process, and it requires a lot of work, but we are very proud of the end product, and the hardships truly paid off.