Q&A: Robert Pat­tin­son goes un­der­cover in NYC for 'Good Time'

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

"Good Time" is a story about one bad night gone worse. Robert Pat­tin­son plays a small time Queens crook named Con­nie Nikas whose botched rob­bery and es­cape at­tempt lands his men­tally hand­i­capped brother in jail. And that's just in the first few min­utes. The film doesn't come up for a breather for the next 90. Peo­ple have de­scribed "Good Time" as "'Mean Streets' on MDMA" and "'Af­ter Hours' on crack and meth" which might even be too tame to fully cap­ture its ki­netic pace. The film­mak­ers be­hind it, Josh and Benny Safdie, are two who the gen­eral pub­lic would be for­given for not know­ing. They are 30-some­thing broth­ers whose last film, the pun­ish­ing heroin drama "Heaven Knows What," played in only 14 theaters.

So how did they get one of the big­gest movie stars in the world to lead their next film? Pat­tin­son called them. The Associated Press sat down with Pat­tin­son and the Safdies (Benny also plays Con­nie's brother Nick in the film) to talk about "Good Time" and how a movie star was able to stay hid­den in plain sight in New York - even on the sub­way at rush hour. Re­marks have been edited for clar­ity and brevity.

AP: It's a crazy story how Robert be­came aware of you as film­mak­ers. JOSH SAFDIE: It's not that crazy, is it? AP: He saw a pro­mo­tional still from "Heaven Knows What" and de­cided he had to work with you?

JOSH SAFDIE: I guess it is kind of wild. Hon­estly I for­get the stature of his star­dom. To me it's like a guy saw a pic­ture and he was in­spired by it and he reached out. It's to­tally nor­mal. But I guess when you look at it from afar it's kind of crazy.

PAT­TIN­SON: I don't know about the stature of my star, but I think the level of con­vic­tion was un­usual for me at least. It was like I knew. And then we did the meeting and just agreed to do some­thing. And then also for that to ac­tu­ally hap­pen af­ter­ward is even more un­usual. Peo­ple say, "Oh let's do some­thing to­gether" all the time.

JOSH SAFDIE: I warned you, I said, "Be care­ful, we are the type of peo­ple who when we want to do some­thing we'll just do it. We'll fig­ure out a way to do it."

BENNY SAFDIE: The movie wouldn't be here had he not reached out to us.

AP: Was this a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence for you?

PAT­TIN­SON: They run at a dif­fer­ent level of en­ergy to most peo­ple. It's nice, though. I was think­ing how to de­scribe the movie and it's like it's a car crash movie, but the car crash hap­pens in the first five min­utes and you're just skid­ding for the rest.

JOSH SAFDIE: We wanted to make a

thriller that ac­tu­ally thrilled you, like the stakes felt re­ally real.

AP: Had you been to places like th­ese be­fore? A bail bonds of­fice? A jail?

JOSH SAFDIE: We brought Rob to this one jail called the Man­hat­tan De­ten­tion Cen­ter. We had be­come friendly with the war­den there and she was like, "Come by!" She gave us un­fet­tered ac­cess. It was in­sane. At the end I was like, "What's up with the fe­male wing?" PAT­TIN­SON: And you can't even go there

as a guy.

JOSH SAFDIE: No you're not al­lowed and she's like, "You guys can come!" I look at Rob and he's like, "I don't want to go." And I'm like come on let's go. No one had rec­og­nized us.

PAT­TIN­SON: Even the peo­ple giv­ing us the tour didn't re­al­ize we were do­ing it for a movie. Ev­ery­one was ask­ing us to con­tact our lawyers out­side. And then we went to the fe­male wing and within sec­onds...

JOSH SAFDIE: One girl was like, "HIM!" (Point­ing to Pat­tin­son). He was im­me­di­ately like, "I told you we shouldn't have gone in here." PAT­TIN­SON: The as­sis­tant war­den then was like, "Who are you guys?" BENNY SAFDIE: We're like, "We've gotta go."

AP: Were you able to stay un­der the radar while shoot­ing?

PAT­TIN­SON: Yeah, it was kind of a con­scious de­ci­sion. You find funny ways to stay hid­den. And luck­ily we were in some places that were just so crowded, it's kind of eas­ier. Some things I just don't un­der­stand like it's rush hour on the sub­way and we're steal­ing shots and we have a big cam­era and a crew and Josh is di­rect­ing me via text mes­sage and peo­ple do not no­tice. AP: So was it kind of a guer­rilla shoot?

JOSH SAFDIE: There was an il­lu­sion of guer­rilla tac­tics. We wanted to tap into that feel­ing and bring that vibe to the movie. But we push it and push it. Like Rob watches me and Benny hold­ing a four-lane street of traf­fic where ev­ery­one is lay­ing on their horn and we're like, "Go Rob, go!" He's like sprint­ing for his dear life.

PAT­TIN­SON: We're try­ing to shoot this movie to­tally un­der the radar and lit­er­ally caus­ing such a com­mo­tion do­ing this thing and I'm lit­er­ally hid­ing.

BENNY SAFDIE: I kept think­ing, "No one's go­ing to hit us!"

AP: Did anything sur­prise you about Robert? JOSH SAFDIE: I was re­ally im­pressed and sur­prised that he didn't com­plain. Not once. Ev­ery­one on our movie com­plained. BENNY SAFDIE: Ev­ery­body. — AP

Co-di­rec­tor Ben Safdie, from left, ac­tor Robert Pat­tin­son, and co-di­rec­tor Joshua Safdie pose for a por­trait to pro­mote their film, "Good Time" at the Four Sea­sons Ho­tel in Los An­ge­les. — AP

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