Robert Pattinson on ‘The Lighthouse,’ Dancing With Willem Dafoe and His Love of Little Richard

Robert Pattinson Variety Cover Story
Matthew Brookes for Variety

Robert Pattinson may be one of the world’s biggest stars, but even he’s felt the sting of rejection.

On this week’s episode of “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeartRadio’s movie podcast, Pattinson tells me he was 19 years old when he was fired from a theater job just days before the show was set to open.

“I left and I was very self-pitying,” Pattinson said. “I walked out and I went to this pub by the river and got absolutely trashed, and then saw that Little Richard was playing in the South Bank in London. I went to a Little Richard concert afterwards, just wept the whole time. I was like, ‘This is the most amazing, amazing concert I’ve ever seen.’”

Turns out that Pattinson is such a big fan of Little Richard that he waited by the stage door for an hour and a half to get his autograph. “He’s great,” Pattinson said. “I love Little Richard. My talent contest in school when I was probably 14, everyone was getting up to do their thing and I played ‘Lucille.’ I played the piano so hard there was just blood all over the keys afterwards. … The next kid had to go and play the piano drenched in blood.”

Pattinson can currently be seen in Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse.” He and Willem Dafoe co-star as lighthouse keepers who begin to lose their minds while enduring a harrowing winter storm on a remote New England island in the 19th century.

In one scene, they’re drunk and dancing together in the lighthouse. Pattinson and Dafoe took dancing lessons together. “Willem can just do everything,” Pattinson said. “He’s really good at dancing as well; picks up this whole jig in like 10 seconds. I’m just like, ‘I can’t even do it.’ … I just remember going and saying in the classes, ‘I can’t do it.’ I’m getting really embarrassed now. My face is going very red. I’m just going to go and I’ll just do this in the park and after go off at five o’clock in the morning watching this video on my phone, by some trees, learning to jig.”

Pattinson admits he wasn’t sure what to make of “The Lighthouse” when Eggers first sent him the script: “I couldn’t quite tell how it would work. … It seemed very experimental, in the script. I mean, there was the scene when me and Willem are arguing about his cooking. There were literally two pages where both of us just saying, ‘What?’”

Next up for Pattinson is “The Batman.” “I’m glad I’ve had quite a lot of time,” he said. “I didn’t realize there were so many Batman comics. Hundreds and thousands. But I’ve been reading a lot of those, and not really just the kind of classics. I just like reading the sort of individual periodicals. It’s nice to kind of see the absolutely contemporary ones.”

You can listen to the entire interview on “The Big Ticket” below. You can also listen to “The Big Ticket” on iHeartRadio or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.