This morning, there were six cars outside his house.
"I don't understand why," he says, looking puzzled. " It's not scandal that has put him in the cross hairs. The only real gossip he's been involved in was his split with Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart in 2012, from which he came out smelling of roses – it was Stewart who cheated on him, and with a married man, too.
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He also said that he quite enjoyed being spat on in an erotic way. So, I was sitting there with Jimmy, and that story I said the day before suddenly seemed not funny at all. He mentioned his nerves then, too, saying he got so jumpy before auditions that he took a Xanax before the final Twilight one, only he overdid it, and showed up all drowsy. You have to hand it to him: not a lot of movie stars would pitch up at a reporter's house like this, and subject themselves to questioning. There's something of the eccentric about him, the scatterbrained professor, away in his thoughts. The one thing he might have done himself was drive here.
He doesn't seem the nervous type, Robert Pattinson. Yes, Robert Pattinson is in my house, having a beer while I putz around with the grill, a scenario that probably ought to feel weirder than it does. It was some cattle call press junket for the last Twilight movie. I brought it up about 50 times in the interviews, too." This time, I suggested we try something a bit more congenial. After all, he's a bloke from Barnes, south-west London, at the end of the day, 28 years old. His people said it was too public: Barnes or not, he's still Robert Pattinson. Isn't that what celebrities do, wear ski masks to Starbucks and so on? These days, just making a phone call is exhausting." He's not the practical type, let's say.
He always looks so calm, in the face of all those screaming girls. "On all those talk shows you have to do a pre-interview with some producer the day before. I thought, 'Oh my God, I'm starting to drool.' So, I made up this stupid story about having heavy saliva, and Jimmy's face just went, 'What the fuck are you talking about? It's a mumbled kind of laugh, full of self-deprecation and restraint. He was holed up in a sterile hotel suite in Beverly Hills, and I was one of a trillion journalists he met that day. They baulked: Robert really doesn't go out much, and when he does, he just goes to other people's houses. I said, come to my house, I'll put the beers on ice and grill up some lunch. And now here he is, this tall and entirely affable Englishman in a white T-shirt and black jeans, petting my dogs and making pleasant remarks about the neighbourhood. The other day, he tried opening a bottle with his i Phone; now he can't turn off its speakerphone.
I mean it wasn't that funny in the first place and now I've got to perform this unfunny story which Jimmy's going to fake laugh at it, and… And yet today he seems relaxed, quite happy to just chill and natter as I get the food going. The goal is cedar plank salmon, grilled vegetables and no explosions. I got a bit carried away at the Wholefoods deli this morning. "Sorry, I'd help but I'm useless with all that," he says, pointing at the grill. "I know, but my ideal of manliness is to be incapable of doing anything," he grins. He likes driving in LA, even with the traffic jams.
" He's telling me all this while sitting in my backyard in Eagle Rock, Northeast Los Angeles. We only met the one time, three years ago, an occasion he's long forgotten. "It's funny, the less and less you do, the more the mountain of doing something grows.