Robert Pattinson says he almost punched 'The Lighthouse' director during gruelling shoot

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson in The Lighthouse (Credit: A24)

New horror movie The Lighthouse, from The Witch director Robert Eggers, looks pretty intense, with just two characters holed up in a remote lighthouse and slowly going barmy.

Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe are the two gents struggling with their own solitude, and according to Pattinson, things got pretty heated at times.

The pair interviewed each other in the latest issue of Interview magazine, and called the conditions on set 'so harsh' that they barely spoke with each other outside of scenes.

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In fact, Pattinson added that he 'hardly spoke to anyone' at all, with one scene, in which he was being sprayed with water, proving particularly gruelling.

“That’s the closest I’ve come to punching a director,” Pattinson said.

“However much I love Robert [Eggers], there was a point where I did five takes walking across the beach, and after a while I was like, ‘What the f**k is going on? I feel like you’re just spraying a fire hose in my face.’

“And he was like, ‘I am spraying a fire hose in your face.' It was like some kind of torture. It definitely creates an interesting energy.”

The pair compare notes on their approach to the two-hander, shot entirely on 35mm black and white film, and how Pattinson eschewed rehearsal.

“You clearly weren’t into rehearsal,” says Dafoe, who admits he was initially 'puzzled' by Pattinson.

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“Maybe it was the nature of the role, but I always felt like you wanted to leap in and not work stuff out, as though it was more real to confront it without any pre-knowledge. I was reminded of the old Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier quote, “Go.”

“I realised in the rehearsal period that you understood the script a lot more than I did, so I didn’t want to reveal that,” Pattinson replies.

“My idea for The Lighthouse was that if I don’t really understand this script on a cerebral level, then I’ll try to understand it on a physical level. But I must say that I’ve never seen someone with such a supernatural level of energy as you. I remember watching you and being, like, 'How are you doing this?'”

The movie, which has scored rave reviews, lands in the UK on 31 January, 2020.