Twilight Zone

Twilight Zone

Robert Pattinson returns as the vegan vampire in the second film in the popular Twilight series


Originally published on on November 2009



If Robert Pattinson ever had any doubt about his popularity in Japan, his two trips this year would have dispelled it. The 23-year-old British star seemed bemused by the reception he got during his most recent three-day visit to promote The Twilight Saga: New Moon, directed by Chris Weitz. In the US, he is usually asked about his romance with Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart (which he routinely denies). In Japan, an army of pubescent fans waited for six hours to attend a meeting with the young star—and some girls wanted to know if they could date him when they get older.

“Japan’s been pretty good to me and very supportive of Twilight,” said Pattinson, whose big break was the 2005 film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, in which he played Harry’s friend Cedric Diggory. “Unfortunately, I never get to see anything in Japan, except my hotel room. I’d like to wander around Tokyo and feel the vibes.”

In the Twilight series, Stewart plays Bella, who moves from Phoenix to the small Washington town of Forks, where she falls in love with Edward (Pattinson), a 109-year-old vampire (whose family masquerades as Goths). These aren’t the usual vampires—they are “vegetarian” and sparkle in the sunlight, rather than melt away.

The second novel to be filmed, New Moon starts off with Bella recovering from an attack from a group of evil (that is, non-vegetarian) vampires. Edward’s family decides to throw a birthday party for her. However, when she cuts her finger at the party, things get out of control. Edward winds up dumping Bella because he feels that he’s a danger to her, and she turns to school chum Jacob (Taylor Lautner) for comfort—but Jacob has a secret, too.

For Weitz (The Golden Compass), the biggest challenge about making the movie was dodging the legions of fans. “We had to film one extended sequence in a small Italian mountain town with 1,000 extras. But somehow, Twilight fans from all around the world had found out we were filming there, and every hotel was booked out. Everywhere we turned, they were in the background. It even got hard to go to the toilet.”

Vampires have been a staple of literature and movies for ages. Why the renewed popularity?

“I think people have connected to the books,” Pattinson said. “You can feel that the writer is on intimate terms with the characters, which in turn makes for good melodrama.” Weitz thinks the stories succeed because they are concerned with emotions. “A lot of movie franchises these days just rely on explosions and fights, but if you don’t believe in the characters, it won’t work. Another reason for the success is the cast. They are thoughtful and intellectual. When you are playing a 109-year-old vampire, it would be very easy not to take it seriously. But Robert and Kristen were a pleasure to work with and the reason I wanted to do this movie is because I liked their performances in the first film.”

Pattinson and his co-stars have just finished the third film in the series, Eclipse, which he said will look “incredibly different” and be more action-oriented. The fourth book, Breaking Dawn, came out in the summer of 2008, but no plans for a movie have been announced yet.

That won’t matter to Pattinson’s local fans.

“I do get quite a lot of fan mail from Japan,” he said. “Ever since I did Harry Potter, it’s been consistent, even when some of my movies don’t get distributed in Japan. For some reason, Japanese fans send me a lot of music CDs. I have an enormous collection of Japanese pop music.”

Chris Betros is the editor of Japan Today (