Robert Pattinson is a serious actor. I don’t mean that in the tongue-in-cheek “actor who takes himself far too seriously” sense, either. He’s just a stolid, reserved kind of guy, almost hilariously unfit for the teen-idol mold of stardom that was foisted upon him back in his Twilight years. He’s now settled into a more appropriate fame as a respected thespian in the service of well-regarded filmmakers (his upcoming Good Time will permanently end whatever murmurs of the “Can RPattz really act?!” conversation that still remain), but it wasn’t so long ago that he was chafing under the YA-lit spotlight.

Radio shock jock Howard Stern has a unique gift for getting good material out of famously terse interview subjects, and Pattinson obliged him with an amusing anecdote from the vampire days during a chat on Tuesday. Pattinson’s dedication to his craft didn’t always gibe with the atmosphere on set, the actor revealed, and he had some of those notorious creative differences over how the character of Edward Cullen ought to be played. The Variety item noting the interview includes Pattinson’s full, hilarious quote:

If you’re going into a relationship with someone, the way to make it really intense is if you can barely talk to each other, you can barely touch each other, it’s incredibly serious all the time. That’s what teenage relationships are. But everyone kind of wanted it to be, like, ‘No, they should just be, like, happy and having fun. That’s what people want.'

Pattinson’s agent had to fly to set to personally inform him that if he did not change his tune, he’d “get fired today.” My favorite detail of all? The producers eventually gave Pattinson a copy of Stephanie Meyer’s original novel with all the instances of Edward smiling highlighted for emphasis. He shot back by using a different color to highlight all the instances of Edward frowning.

In conclusion: it is a refreshing change of pace to see someone other than a woman being forced to smile for the sake of being personable.

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