- Is it true that the first thing you do when you are given a script is read the first and the last line?
“If the screenwriter is good, the beginning and the end work and you there’s a 75% chance it’s a good story. Otherwise, the best thing to do is forget it. Today the problem is that scripts with the worst-written first pages are those that are made into movies and and make more money.”
-Are you saying that Twilight is bad-written?
“Things don’t always work this way. But it’s true that when I first read it, it didn’t appeal to me. I couldn’t understand what was so special and why everybody was so into it.”
- Water For Elephants is a romantic movie.
“Yeah, but what appealed to me was the historical period, the Great Depression and the circus. It’s so intriguing. Chlidren don’t dream of running away with a film crew, but with the circus. It still happens today, I guess. At least they did in the 30’s, when there was no tv and no cinema down the street. Besides I liked that it was also about animals and and human-animal relationship (he stops and bursts out laughing). I know, it sounds weird this way.”
-Anyway, the fact remains that it’s mostly about the love story between Jacob and Marlena.
“In the beginning, you may think “oh there comes the guy, he’s going to meet the girl and it’ll be love at first sight. Then they’re going to run away together”. But it’s not like this. It’s a more complex story. Jacob falls in love with Marlena, but doesn’t try to bring her with him. She first kisses him and then rejects him, but indeed he accepts her choice. She will always be an extraordinary woman to him, no matter what. Jacob just wants to give and doesn’t ask for anything in return. That’s the best kind of relationship.”
-Could you ever have a relationship with a married woman?
“Life is not black and white. There are married couples that never see each other. Is that marriage? But there’s a thing I’ve never got, that is why do people cheat?”
-You can’t understand a behavior which is typical of the majority of people nowadays.
“I can understand the impulse, but not how you can keep two relationship going at the same time for long. This usually happens to people with children, but I can’t really get why a non-commitment guy would choose to date four girls at the same time either. It must be hell, especially for men”.
-Why especially for men?
“I think it’s more complicated for men, because somehow they have to “provide for” their women. I’m not talking about money support, but about enthusiasm: they have to cultivate the relationship. Doing it with more women at the same time would be very hard, a real work.”
- Are you saying that because you’ve already tried?
“I’m not the casual-affair kind of guy. If I choose to be with someone it’s because I really want it. When I have a relationship, I’m 100% into it. If I felt like seeing more women at once then I wouldn’t go around saying “this is my girlfriend”.
- So you do not believe in cheating. And what about the until-death-us-do-part love, like the one in movies?
“My mother was 17 and my father was 25 when they met, they’re still together and look very happy. I’ve grown up believing that you can stay with the same person throughout your life.
- Speaking about parents, in Vanity Fair you played Reese Witherspoon’s son. But then your part was cut from the movie during the editing.
“It was my first movie. She was already famous, and I remember she was very nice to me: she always asked me if I wanted to read the lines together, if I had doubts or questions”.
- In less than 10 years you’ve turned from being mother and son into lovers. What do you think about it?
“Well, looking back on it, I think that let me play her son didn’t make any sense. I mean, she wasn’t even 28, she was too young to have a kid. That’s why they decided to cut it, apart from other problems. Another reason was that our scene together was way too depressing. The problem was that nobody told me anything. I found it out when I went to see it. At the end, someone was supposed to ask Reese “Are you going to meet Rawdy?”, that was the name of my character. She was supposed to say yes and there I would have come. But she said “no”.
- Bel Ami, starrring Christina Ricci, Uma Thurman and Kristin Scott Thomas, is coming out this year as well. You play the part of a seducer and make sex with lots of women. Then we have Breaking Dawn in November, where you and Bella finally have sex. You mentioned many times your unease shooting these kinds of scenes. Are you getting used to it?
“It wasn’t that difficult in Bel Ami, since we were dressed most of the time. Twilight worried me a lot instead: there are high expectations and everybody is talking about it. So I went to the gym every day for a month. It was the first time I was in shape in all my life.
- Was a month enough time?
“Yes, but anyway I could’t have done it for longer. Oh, you forgot Cosmopolis. That’s plenty of sex scenes. In one of them a girl shoots me with an electic gun, it’s crazy!”
- So going back to my question, are you getting used to it?
“I don’t know. But I know I will have to go back to the gym.
-You are not a physical fitness buff, aren’t you?
“I go from one extreme to the other: before starting work I practice for four hours per day, every day. Then I stop. It’s the same story with alcohol: all or nothing. In Louisiana it’s very difficult to resist temptation; but I found out that if I drink 5 beers a day, doing sport is useless. Try as you might, your body won’t change. I think I should really stop drinking, too.
Thanks to Deborah for the translation @CSI_Robsten