Here are two new interviews of David Michôd talking about Robert Pattinson and The Rover
TWITCH: In contrast, there is Pattinson’s character, who I think is extraordinary in this film. Can you talk about bringing him into the role? How did you work with him on attenuating his performance, making sure it didn’t get too broad?
MICHÔD: In a way, the answer to both questions is that Robert came in and tested for me and his tests were just extraordinary. I, like everyone else, didn’t know what he was capable of. Certainly his previous work didn’t give you a clear indicator. I met him before I even knew I was going to make The Rover, and there was something about him that I really liked. He’s obviously intelligent and really wonderfully emotionally available. When [Pattinson] came in to audition for me, he came in with a really beautifully defined and sophisticated reading of the character that seemed from the outset to avoid all of those possible moments of caricature that that character could so easily slip into.
How did Pattinson get hooked into the project?
I had a meeting with him maybe a year before I made the movie and it became immediately apparent to me in that meeting that he not only loved Animal Kingdom but had seen all of the shorts that I had made with my friends. He had beyond that a really eclectic, sophisticated interest in cinema. He was actively looking for interesting things to do and actively looking to meet interesting filmmakers.
Had he done any of his Cronenberg work when you first started working together?
Yes, I had seen Cosmopolis. I had even had a phone conversation with Cronenberg to see what working with Rob was like generally. [With] Cosmopolis, that is another character that is quite brooding and still in a way that’s not similar to the stuff he does in Twilight. It didn’t give me a clear indication that he could do the 180 degree shift that I was going to ask him to do on The Rover.
I always needed to see an audition. He was willing to do it because he knew that he wanted to play the character and that he needed to work hard to get it.
I love that whole notion of you as a director in Australia just calling up Cronenberg and asking him for advice. Is that a common thing? I picture some secret handshake between directors where you exchange private numbers.
I think in the world of filmmakers and generally those kinds of phone calls are reasonably easy to facilitate because they’re reasonably important. I didn’t want to ask David whether or not Rob was a good actor. I felt that I had seen that in the tests and long auditions that he had done for me. What I wanted to know was what he was like as a human being on set because those things can be important. David shared his experience which turned out to be much the same as mine, that he was delightful and hard-working.