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Originally published November 17, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified November 18, 2008 at 11:54 AM

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Twilight' zone: Fans shriek as actor Robert Pattinson talks Edward Cullen, young love and Doctor Who

"Bite me. " It's a request British actor Robert Pattinson gets almost daily as star of the new vampire film "Twilight" (opening Nov. 21 21). "It's crazy,"...

Chicago Tribune

Actor Robert Pattinson

Birth: May 13, 1986, in London

School: Attended Harrodian private school, London.

Acting: He plays artist Salvador Dali in the forthcoming film "Little Ashes." But he's best known for his role as the ill-fated teen wizard Cedric Diggory in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" and "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."

Preparation: The London native didn't talk to anyone for a while to create the character's feeling of isolation.

Favorite actor: Jack Nicholson

Music: Pattinson plays guitar and piano, and one of his sisters, Lizzy, plays in a rock band. Despite some initial reluctance, Pattinson allowed one of his songs to be used on the "Twilight" soundtrack, the breathy, pensive "Never Think."

5 things to know about “Twilight”

— ”Twilight” the movie (opening Nov. 21) is based on author Stephenie Meyer’s teen vampire book quartet, which has sold more than 17 million copies. The story revolves around high schooler Bella Swan and the object of her desire, Edward Cullen, a vampire. “Jane Austen meets Bram Stoker,” one reviewer said.

— Controversy: Some fans initially protested the casting of Robert Pattinson, a relative unknown, as Edward. Who did the hardcore fans want? Tom Welling (”Smallville”) and James Franco (”Pineapple Express”), for instance.

— Author Meyer is a mother of three and a practicing Mormon whose faith finds its way into the series. There’s passion, but no sex before marriage.

— Director Catherine Hardwicke is well-practiced on the theme of teen love (and hormones); previous credits include “Thirteen” and “The Lords of Dogtown.”

— The soundtrack for “Twilight,” including songs by Linkin Park and Paramore, debuted on top of the Billboard 200 this week, becoming the third No. 1 soundtrack this year (”Juno,” “Mamma Mia!”).

ORLAND PARK, Ill. — "Bite me."

It's a request British actor Robert Pattinson gets almost daily as star of the new vampire film "Twilight" (opening Nov. 21).

"It's crazy," said Pattinson, 22, waiting inside the Hot Topic store in the Orland Square shopping center. He has to laugh, pretend he hasn't heard it before.

"Even if you say, 'No,' they just wait," he says. "They just stand there."

Wednesday night, more than 500 fans waited outside — some since the night before — to ask him the same question or something in that vein. One fan, Orland Park's Abby Johnson, wore a self-made T-shirt that read: "Edward Cullen Make Me Immortal" (Edward is Pattinson's fanged alter ego.) As the clock reached 6 p.m., the time he'd start signing autographs, the crowd started screaming, counting down, "Three ... two ... one ..." Chaos.

"Oh my God," said Pattinson, laughing nervously at the uproar. "Are they going to blow (the place) up?"

Mostly, they just filed in peacefully, gushing and smiling — though for the public Q&A session later, the crowd seemed to have swelled to a frenzied mass.

In what follows, Pattinson talks about his new movie, immortality and Doctor Who.

Q. What does Edward, a 108year-old vampire, see in a 17-year-old girl?

A. He's lived for 108 years, but he still has the same brain as a 17-year-old. He experiences the world as a 17-year-old. He's kind of mature in some ways.

But if you were in the body of a 17-year-old, I don't think you'd go for a 108-year-old woman.

Q. But why high school? For you personally, wouldn't 80 years of high school be hell?

A. Definitely. I would hate it.

That was one of the most difficult things to figure out. You think he'd stay in college, or be a street kid. It'd be way cooler. But I think the whole concept of it is: He's like an addict. I think he wants to make his life really, really, really boring.

Q. This question is from Jennifer Armour, a fan waiting in line. David Tennant, the current star of "Doctor Who," is quitting in 2010. Would you consider taking up the mantle?

A. The Doctor is great. ... Yeah, maybe. I did grow up watching it. I loved it when I was a kid. In fact, I met one of them the other day, Sylvester McCoy (the seventh Doctor). He's one of the few people I've asked for an autograph.

"I just tried to concentrate on his flaws. I can do the flaws and forget about the rest."

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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