When the next Batman was announced it took some by surprise. Richard Pattinson is most famous for playing angsty vampire Edward Cullen in ‘The Twilight Saga’, even though that was 19 movie roles and eight years ago.
So, donning the famous Batsuit will give him a chance to transform himself in more ways than one – as he exclusively reveals to RSNG, the 33-year old is now hitting the gym six times a week and discovering new ways to live past his limits, including running in London’s parks…
RSNG Even away from Batman, have you used physical exercise to deal with the stress of what has been an intense career often lived in the camera lens?
ROBERT PATTISON, THE NEXT BATMAN ‘I’ve kept fit to the point of feeling good about myself, but in the past it would tend to go in waves. I think a lot of us are like that – we will have phases of really hitting it, then break off and kick back for a while.’
‘In my head I’ve always wanted to ascend to a really peaked level of fitness and then have the wherewithal to stay there… so that’s the challenge.’
‘When you realise you need a break from your break you’ve probably gone too far backwards!’
RSNG Have you looked to supplement traditional fitness with other methods, such as meditation or yoga?
RP ‘Not really. I like working out and that's when I am most at peace with things in my life. I’ve never really looked into any alternative methods, but I do feel as though I’m on a new grounding at the moment, so I can’t entirely rule out trying other things.’
‘I’m aware in the past that with a medium fitness level, going running a few times a week was about the right frequency to stay in a certain physical shape.’
‘For Batman, I’m now hammering it five or six times a week, so whereas my anxiety outlet was a run before, I’m now doing that so frequently that I might look for something else. I guess I’ll let you know when I get there!’
RSNG What is your general approach to getting in shape?
RP ‘As I said, I’m all in or all out! It’s feast or famine. I realise I need a more thorough approach to the way I undertake fitness because it’s too easy for me to go one way or the other… or at least it has been in the past.’
‘When you get to the point where you realise you need a break from your break, you’ve probably gone too far backwards. I just need a structure which comes from something constant in life… a job, a relationship, a fitness programme.’
RSNG You sound much more conscious these days about keeping fit, working out and eating the right things?
RP ‘I am getting more so – Batman has forced me into that way of thinking. It’s a film that’s not out for another year and that seems like a long way away, but the hard work is fully on now.’
‘Big bursts of fitness in the past have all been about getting back to a good place mentally, or perhaps filling time when I’ve not had work on.’
‘Now I’m driving myself to be fit for the opposite reasons – I’m in a great place mentally already, and this is all being done for a role. It’s nice to have it this way round – it heightens the urgency.’
‘These days it’s almost a necessary byproduct of a role that you’ve got to be ripped’
RSNG Do you have any style or fitness icons? Do you aspire to be like The Rock?
RP ‘No, I don’t think so, haha! For me it was much more about the subtle style icons rather than those who were big built. When I was growing up watching movies the real strength guys were few and far between… perhaps Arnie and Jean Claude Van Damme.’
‘These days it’s almost a necessary byproduct of a role that you’ve got to be a bit ripped.’
‘In the past I’ve told myself health is about much more than having a six-pack – I would rather idolise someone like James Dean or try to imitate some aspect of his personality or his acting style. Look how he owned the screen, look how he took a scene and made it all him. He wasn’t sitting around getting ripped!’
‘Of course, because of Batman, I may actually now be getting myself in a place where I can think about good body form. It’s going to be a new one for me.’
RSNG Have you had people commenting on your improved body shape or move towards a new shape?
RP ‘They have but, really, I don't worry about it anymore. I’m used to getting stopped and commented on, so it doesn’t really faze me either way. The fact is I live in London and I can go around pretty easily, even when I’m exercising outdoors.’
‘For the most part I get left alone. Usually if someone stops me it's very polite and friendly and there's no longer that kind of frantic attention, but the nature of celebrity culture has changed a lot in the last few years – there are a lot fewer paparazzi than before and people aren't buying the gossip magazines or newspapers the way they used to.’
‘Everyone is going online instead where there's much less money. Now everyone can take a photo and put it up on Instagram. I’m done worrying about it, to be honest.’
RSNG You’ve put yourself up for potential criticism as regards this new fitness drive. Does that worry you?
RP ‘No - I'm not afraid of failure. I'm a little bit more ambitious in the kinds of roles I'm choosing now. A few years ago I would have run a mile away from anything with a physical edge.’
‘I have several other projects coming up where I feel I'm pushing myself further than I'm comfortable, and that is a very healthy thing. I apply that same logic to time at the gym or looking at fitness goals that seem unachievable first, but in actual fact become second nature.’
RSNG Like what?
RP ‘Even something as simple as doing a 5k or a 10k. I don’t care what you say – when you do one for the first time, it hurts. The second time you do it – it hurts! The third time, perhaps a little less. By the 20th time, you’re not even thinking about it; and I love that.’
‘The trick is to get yourself to the point where you absolutely believe it will get easier. If you have faith in your own ability you can get through the pain because you know the more you persist the quicker you’ll push through it.’
RSNG were you into fitness and sport at school?
RP ‘I went to a really strict school to begin with and then the second school I went to was almost the opposite, but both were similar in the sense they were incredibly arty and inspiring.’
‘Sports were typically rugby, cricket and football, but I was much more swayed by the creative side. That’s why I kind of ended up doing what I’m doing, albeit that physical side I ignored is actually coming back into a lot of film projects these days. Perhaps I should have listened more in PE!’
WHAT NEXT? If you missed Harrison Ford talking to RSNG about how he’s going to be Indy again, then catch up here.