Robert Pattinson’s instantaneous and often overwhelming star power is fantastic for the moment. But what happens when “The Twilight Saga” comes to a close and his herds of adoring fans find another up and comer to fawn over? If Pattinson has anything to do with it, he’ll have moved on from simply being a Hollywood heartthrob and have established himself as a reputable actor. Not only does Remember Me provide him with the opportunity to be remembered long after his claim to fame has come and gone, but it allows him to deliver a similarly important concept to moviegoers: the value of moving on but never forgetting.
Pattinson stars as Tyler, an NYU student struggling with a vast amount of demons he’s not quite sure really exist. It’s fortunate that Pattinson can’t relate to his character in two respects: he didn’t have a troubled youth and that disconnect made the role much more intriguing to tackle. During a roundtable interview he explained, “All the people who I’ve met who are troubled teenagers, you meet their family and their family is like, ‘I don’t know what to do. He’s just I have no idea what his problem is.'” Tyler definitely has problems to work out, but a recent family tragedy further exacerbates the situation causing him to get unnecessarily heated and even violent.
Tyler finds solace in Ally (Emilie de Ravin), a peer with her own troubled past. A habit of indulging in dessert before eating the main course reflects the importance Ally places on living in the moment. De Ravin said, “I think a lot of her personality traits stem from losing her mother at a young age. Even the little things like the whole dessert thing, it’s just basically saying that why wait for things in life? Take hold of the day and enjoy it and respect it and appreciate it and appreciate the people around you and don’t be fearful of living.” Using her passion for life, Ally eases Tyler’s troubles and nestles into his heart. It took much more than rehearsal time to be able to convey the zeal behind that relationship on screen. “We spent a lot of time together just getting to know each other as people.” De Ravin added, “That’s why when we were actually shooting, everything just sort of fell into place and felt very natural and not contrived in any way.”
De Ravin’s character doesn’t only share a particularly strong connection with Tyler, she has one with her father, police detective Sgt. Neil Craig (Chris Cooper), too. Just as Tyler doesn’t know where to direct his anger, neither does Neil. Ever since his wife was murdered right in front of young Ally’s eyes, he’s carried on as a very protective father, often overly so. Tyler feels the brunt of Neil’s desperation to keep his little girl safe when the two get into a scuffle.
Pattinson recalled, “Chris is deceptively incredibly strong.” He added, “I remember I’d seen a lot of stuff with Chris Cooper and I stupidly said, ‘Isn’t he always small?’ Because I don’t know, I’ve always had this image of him being quite small and then he turned up on the day and he could literally throw me around the room.”
Luckily for Pattinson, Cooper was aware of the intensity of the scene and how to handle it. “Everybody was aware of how close the camera was and how much force to be used on working with Robert.” But Cooper points out that this is no ordinary fight scene. He explained, “given the circumstances [Tyler is] confronting me about what and why he developed this relationship with my daughter and it was just simply a ferocious father’s reaction to what the father interpreted as mean and mean spirited.”
De Ravin wholeheartedly agreed, “[Neil], as [Ally] is, is scared because they’re all each other’s had for the last ten years, so that then sort of manifests.”
And that’s not the only scene infused with intensity. Pattinson found a moment between his character and his father particularly difficult to film due to an issue that nearly everyone can relate to. “It was supposed to be one of those arguments where you feel like, this is the time I’m really going to let my dad or whatever have it, and then the only thing that comes out is this hysterical yabbering.” When you’re overwhelmed with fervor for a particular matter, there’s no controlling the words that can flood out. Tyler’s vehemence often skews his better judgment, particularly when it comes his father’s negligence of his young sister.
That particular matter generates one of Remember Me‘s most remarkable elements, Tyler’s relationship with his little sister Caroline (Ruby Jerins). On top of struggling with the same familial misfortune as Tyler, she struggles with a faulty connection to her father and is a victim of bullying at school. Tyler takes it upon himself to come to Caroline’s rescue whenever necessary. De Ravin was nearly speechless when discussing her youngest co-star, “If there’s anything else going on on the screen when I watch the film, it doesn’t matter. She’s amazing. She’s so and in observing her when I worked with her but also when I saw her working with Robert. They had amazing chemistry too. They were just perfect together.”
Pattinson has two older sisters of his own, but appreciated the opportunity to adopt a younger one. “Ruby in the film, is kind of like the ideal little sister. Even in reality she’s like the coolest 11-year-old I’ve met in a long time.” He particularly likes the scene “where [Tyler] goes into the school to confront Caroline’s bullies.” It may not be the most appropriate course of action, but it has a sense of justification. Pattinson added, “It’s just a fantasy thing for me, being the older brother, you always want to do stuff like that. It sounds like the most unprofound idea, but it did feel really good doing it.”
Even with the profound nature of the characters’ circumstances, nothing can compare to the film’s conclusion. Beginning in the year 1991 and then jumping to the year 2001, there’s no denying that 9/11 will eventually make some sort of impact. There’s no doubt that once that momentous scene arrives, audience members will have conflicting opinions concerning its inclusion and Cooper was well aware of the potential controversy. “I was a little concerned about the use of that as, for lack of better words, a device in the film.” After viewing the film he was confident that rather than using the event as a means to evoke emotion, director Allen Coulter respectfully recognized the victims. “When I saw ‘Remember Me’ I said, ‘Okay, that’s possibly one of those individuals.’ I thought it was fair and valid.” De Ravin said, “It’s a huge part of the year the movie’s set in, so the film wouldn’t be doing justice to that year without involving that.”
Then there’s the added concern that Remember Me could be too profound for the demographic Pattinson’s involvement will inevitably attract. Screenwriter Will Fetters points out that they were obligated to create a PG film from what he considered to be an “R script.” However, the film did earn its PG rating and Fetters is confident that it is an “adult-themed story that can be experienced by young people.”
That’s a good thing considering throngs of ‘Twihards’ will likely invade theaters come March 12th just as they invaded the film’s New York set. Pattinson’s star power is undeniable and everyone involved in the making of Remember Me felt it through the massive presence of Pattinson’s fans. De Ravin admitted, “It was distracting at times.” She noted that the set was very accessible. “It’s not like you can close down Central Park.” She continued, “If Rob and I are just trying to get the logistics together of our rehearsal and figure something out you’ve got everyone watching you and just knowing that, even if you’re not looking at them watching you, just knowing that [made it] trying to focus.”
Cooper joked, “You’re just glad it’s not happening to you.” He recalled, “I’m taking the train back and forth because I’m not needed everyday and here I am opening up my bags to put my clothes in the drawer, I turn on the TV and it’s a news flash that, ‘Robert Pattinson’s been hit by a taxi cab,’ and I’m thinking, ‘Well do we have a film?'”
Even with the taxi incident, Pattinson was accepting of the situation. “It’s always going to be difficult when you’re just trying to play a normal guy and then you go around the corner and everyone’s taking pictures.” He assured us, “It got better throughout the shoot. As soon as you get used to it, it just becomes like any other job. It’s just part of the furniture.”
So what’s next for the series that earned Pattinson such a massive amount of adoring fans? Other than The Twilight Saga: Eclipse hitting theaters on June 30th, nothing quite yet. Pattinson explained, “I’m only doing two more films oops – one, maybe two more films [laughs], before we do any version of ‘Breaking Dawn.'” That one Pattinson is doing with “Declan Donnellan who’s an English theater director. I’m in his film called ‘Bel Ami.'” The oops-worthy film? Perhaps he’s referring to Francis Lawrence’s Water for Elephants in which he’ll star alongside Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz. Regardless, Pattinson lamented, “There’s only so much you can do. It would be annoying to have films coming out like every three months, so you can’t do too many, but at the same time you do things to try and make sure you don’t get pigeonholed in any particular area.”
He should discuss typecasting with Cooper. He’s the quintessential testy cop. Having played the role numerous times, Cooper hopefully exclaimed, “I’ve been trying to put the word out. I would love to play a comedy. I’d love to.” He recollected, “The only person that ever took slightly a chance with me was Spike Jonze in ‘Adaptation.'” Unfortunately he had to add, “But then nobody else has taken a chance like Spike. I’ve gone back to, ‘Oh okay, play the tough guy, play the military, FBI characters.’ That’s just how it works out.” Even though he considers his characters all-too-similar, he’s still very thankful for every opportunity that comes his way. Of John Wells’ The Company Men he said, “They’re coming to me to work with Tommy Lee Jones and Kevin Costner and Ben [Affleck]. It’s a great compliment and it was a great little ensemble of actors and all of them were dealing with this loss of and the insecurity of losing their jobs and I think it’s a timey story and, once again, it’s valid filmmaking for me.” That film has yet to secure a distributor in the US, but Cooper has enough on his plate to keep him busy for the time being. He’s in “‘The Town,’ [which] Ben Affleck directed. I play his father in that. It’s just one scene but it’s a really good, really good script. ‘The Tempest,’ Julie Taymor and I just finished working with John Sayles for the fifth time on a film called ‘Baryo’ about the American occupation of the Philippines.”
As for de Ravin, it’s no surprise that she’ll be busy in Hawaii for a little while longer. After season four of “Lost” she was put on “a holding deal for season five.” That secured her character, Claire Littleton, up until now, but with a show like “Lost” you never know what’ll happen and which cast member will be the next to fall victim to some force on the island. De Ravin assured us, “Yeah, we’re still going. I’ve been working a lot and we’ve got what? Like three episodes left to shoot.” So it seems as though we can look forward to enjoying Claire’s presence up until the very end. As for de Ravin’s plans for after the show concludes she said, “I’m looking at projects to work on right now. I’m taking meetings, but I’d like to go home for a couple of weeks.”
Pattinson, Cooper and de Ravin are certainly unforgettable in the acting realm, but will Remember Me have a lasting impact? You can see for yourself when it arrives in theaters on March 12. You can also check out our video interview with director Allen Coulter here.