In recent years, Robert Pattinson has emerged as one of our most daring young actors, someone who’s completely willing to shed his heartthrob persona in service of role. He did it as the drug-addled petty crook in Good Time, and as the dandy Dauphin of France in the upcoming Netflix film The King. But perhaps his biggest leap yet, occurs in A24’s upcoming thriller The Lighthouse, in which he plays—what else—a lighthouse keeper on the brink.
In a new Esquire profile, Pattinson explained exactly how he went about playing someone who’s losing his mind. “Because you’re playing a mad person, it means you can sort of be mad the whole time,” he said. “Well, not the whole time, but for like an hour before the scene. You can literally just be sitting on the floor growling and licking up puddles of mud.”
But that’s not all. Borrowing from the playbook of other fully committed actors like Robert De Niro, Christian Bale, and Joaquin Phoenix, Pattinson revealed the extraordinary lengths he went to in order to embody someone who gets blind drunk on kerosene. “[I was] basically unconscious the whole time,” he said of his on-set drinking. “It was crazy. I spent so much time making myself throw up. Pissing my pants. It’s the most revolting thing. I don’t know, maybe it’s really annoying.”
He went on to describe one scene in particular, in which he and costar Willem Dafoe are supposed to be passed out and sleeping on one another. Here’s what he says happened: “I felt like we’re completely lost in the scene and I’m sitting there trying to make myself gag and [director] Robert [Eggers] told me off because Willem’s looking at him going: ‘If he throws up on me, I’m leaving the set.’ I had absolutely no idea this whole drama was unfolding.”
Just give him the damn Oscar now.