Robert Pattinson stopped by the Variety studio to talk about “The Lighthouse,” mustaches and spending a day singing sea shanties with co-star Willem Dafoe.
After playing the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the FIPRESCI Prize for director Robert Eggers, the indie went on to earn Pattinson some of the best reviews of his career. He’s also in the mix for a Golden Globe acting nomination.
Pattinson plays a junior lighthouse keeper in the 19th Century under the tutelage of Dafoe’s character who begins to grapple with his own sanity.
The actor admits he knew the film might be a tough sell, as it’s shot in black-and-white, in a nearly square aspect ratio, and features only him and Dafoe in speaking roles. “It’s a wild movie, it’s kind of tonally complicated, it’s very sort of different,” says Pattinson. “The one thing I knew for sure from seeing some of the dailies was, if nothing else, this is going to make a great trailer.”
One of the most memorable scenes involves a wild night where the two lighthouse keepers get increasingly drunk, dance and sing sea shanties together. “I’m pretty sure that whole sequence was pretty much in one day,” he recalls. “We were drinking water but downing whole whiskey bottles of water…oh my God, it’s kind of waterboarding of yourself. It seems like such an easy thing but it was one of the most horrendous things I’ve ever, ever done in a movie.”
Finally, Pattinson spoke about the bushy mustache he sports for the film. “I love having a kind of interesting facial hair thing in a movie. It just always makes you contort your face in a strange way and it kind of helps with an accent and things,” he notes. “I’m always fascinated by a guy who chooses to have a moustache. What are you hiding behind there?”