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“In a lot of ways, I was kind of crossing lines of what I thought I was comfortable doing. I had to do all this naked stuff.”

“I didn’t want to get stuck in pretty, public school roles, or I knew I’d end up as some sort of caricature. Playing Dali has been a complete turning point for me. It’s the first part I’ve had that has required really serious thought. I became completely obsessed with Dali during the filming, and I read every biography I could get a hold of. He was the most bizarre, complex man, but in the end I felt I could relate to him. He was basically incredibly shy.”

“I read that you were really nervous about filming the nude scenes and the explicit scenes, how did you prepare yourself for those?”
“[Laughs] I had so many ridiculous answers just come into my head [more laughs]. I had a penis implant! I don’t know, I just kind of, it’s funny because Spanish people are so … have no problem with nudity at all, I mean at all, and English people obviously do have, like, the most enormous problem with it. It’s like little things, like when I saw my father getting changed for swimming I got, like, traumatized by it … I don’t really know what I did, I just kind of freaked out a bit.”

“I thought I’d never get another acting job again,” Pattinson says. “So I was like, ‘Yeah—why not try to do something weird?’ There’s all these gay sex scenes. And y’know, I haven’t even done a sex scene with a girl, in my whole career.”

“According to Pattinson, he sees playing Dali as a turning point in his career. “To not betray or insult someone’s memory, it seemed a lot more important than other jobs I’ve done before,” he says. “I definitely felt I had a lot of freedom when I was doing for various reasons.”

“[Little Ashes] He’d read for the Lorca part, but when they asked him to play Dalí, he said yes. “I wanted to have a vacation in Spain,” he says. “But it became just—really, really hard. I’d never done a job that was so hard.”

“And here I am, with Javier [Beltrán], who plays Lorca, doing an extremely hard-core sex scene, where I have a nervous breakdown afterward. And because we’re both straight, what we were doing seemed kind of ridiculous.” (Now he’s sort of laughing.) “Trying to do it doggie-style. Trying to have a nervous breakdown while doing it doggie-style. And it wasn’t even a closed set. There were all these Spanish electricians giggling to themselves.”

“[Little Ashes] “It’s nothing,” he says. “It would never have been released. I mean, that’s a terrible thing to say, but this was a movie where we didn’t even have stand-ins! We were scrambling, the entire time. We didn’t even have trailers.”

“I guess in a lot of ways, it’s the story about him putting a mask on,” he says. “In the rest of his life, a lot of the time he forgets he’s wearing the mask. Or he’s aware he’s wearing the mask but he can’t get it off. I found that the most interesting part of him. Someone who’s wearing this mask, which is destroying everything in their life… they can’t get it off and they can’t remember how to get it off. They can’t remember who they were before. And if they go back to who they were before, it’ll probably destroy them too.”

“Whenever he does touch reality, which he does when he’s younger, in brief little moments when he gets through his shyness to actually connect with someone, it causes mayhem in his life,” says Pattinson. “I think he was like that the rest of his life. And his relationship with Lorca scared him from having any kind of reality in his life at any point afterwards.”

“[On relating to dali] “Just hyper-consciousness and stuff. I guess I do relate to that quite a lot,” he mumbles. “What I really related to is this idea of ambition. Just being so concerned about being the best and being known for being someone important. He keeps continually forgetting that it doesn’t really mean anything at all. And I always found that idea interesting. But I think Dali has a lot of shame – and I don’t really have that!”

“Pattinson admits there is some comparison between Dali and Twilight’s Cullen, who endures a similarly fraught affair with a teenage girl. “I think both of them were terrified. Especially Dali. He had so many sexual hang-ups. He was crippled by so many different things.”

“If you read some of his early-life autobiography, it’s horrible… the amount of mental anguish he has to go through, just to have any kind of even vaguely sexual relationship. It’s really depressing what he’s going through in his head. Dali had a massive fear of penetration – penetrating someone or being penetrated.”

“To not betray or insult someone’s memory, it seemed a lot more important than other jobs I’ve done before,” he says. “I definitely felt I had a lot of freedom when I was doing for various reasons.”

[On Twilight Fans reaction to Little Ashes] “I think girls” – at this point he can’t stop himself from a smutty chortle – “almost really like watching something like that. From what I’ve read, people really get excited about that – it sounds really sexy!”

“[On his portrayal of Salvador Dali] “I guess I was expecting things to be more graphic,” Pattinson says. “There’s so much shame involved, and the thing I was really worried about was trying to show the madness of it.”

“I did this movie about Salvador Dali a few years ago and had hair extensions and a little bob. That was incredibly bizarre.”

“I did it before ‘Twilight,’ and I assume it will come out at some point next year. “It’s a tiny, tiny movie, and I don’t know what would have happened [to it] if ‘Twilight’ hadn’t happened.”

“It was the first job I had where I had an opportunity to really obsess over something, and I brought that mentality into ‘Twilight,’ doing that as well. When I was working in Spain doing [‘Ashes’], no one spoke English. I was the only one that spoke English on the whole set most of the time. So all I did was read about Dalí and just think about the script a lot. I realized that if you fight enough to find what the story is, it will start to form how you want it to form. So many actors are so subservient to their directors, they forget they are human beings — a director can’t know everything.”

“There was tons and tons of letters. There’s a book of letters between Lorca and Dalí, where they make obvious references to their relationship, which is obviously more than just a friendship. Dalí says, like, ‘Lorca tried to have sex with me.’ It’s a very complicated script, and before anyone would see it, I recommend that you read a biography of Dalí. Otherwise, you wouldn’t get too much out of it.”