Reality bites for vampire Robert
TWILIGHT heart-throb Robert Pattinson says his role as a 19th century Parisian social climber who sleeps his way to the top reminds him of today’s reality TV stars.
Trading in his brooding vampire for the role of an ambitious bon vivant in Bel Ami, Pattinson’s character, Georges Duroy, seduces the French capital’s most powerful women, played by Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci and Kristin Scott Thomas.
Pattinson says Georges was an upstart who knew how to use the media to his advantage.
‘‘It’s basically like being a reality TV star – he found a loophole in life and is making money by basically doing nothing,’’ he says.
Ricci says the film’s copious love scenes were anything but erotic to make as directors Nick Ormerod and Declan Donnellan insisted on historical authenticity.
‘‘It was so intimate and romantic with 100 crew members there and no ceiling,’’ the 32-year-old says, joking.
‘‘And I was told, ‘don’t shave your armpits, be accurate’. Then you see it on screen, with your arms raised, in this beautiful lighting – and you’re just like ‘that was a bad move’. ‘‘Some accuracy is just not called for.’’ Pattinson says he was ordered not to have a chiselled upper body for the love scenes.
‘‘Declan said ‘everyone in the 19th century didn’t have six packs so don’t work out’,’’ Pattinson, 25, says, referring to the ever-soslight paunch he took on for the role.
Of course, he admits romancing a string of beauties from teenagers to their mothers had its charms.
‘‘Hmmm, older women or younger women? I get my cake and eat it too basically. They both have their good sides,’’ he says.
Based on a Guy de Maupassant novel of the same name, Bel Ami is about Georges, a cavalry officer from poor origins living in a cockroachinfested hovel who trades on his good looks and charm to ingratiate himself with high society.
He meets a newspaper editor and his beautiful wife Madeleine (Thurman), who helps him take a job as a reporter by dictating stories to him about the political situation in Morocco, in which France is seeking to boost its interests.
Meanwhile, Georges has taken the wife of a wealthy businessman as a lover (Ricci) but when the editor dies, he marries Madeleine. He is soon put off by her dominance.
When his job at the newspaper looks threatened, he beds the publisher’s wife (Scott Thomas), winds up a gossip editor and makes a fortune with a subsequent marriage.
Pattinson says he hopes he can lure some of his loyal Twilight fans to Bel Ami.
– DEBORAH COLE
Bel Ami. Uma Thurman, as Madeleine, and Robert Pattinson, as Georges Duroy in a scene from