With potential summer movie savior Tenet still due in July (when some theaters will be open at a fraction of their capacity, good luck, Tenet), Robert Pattinson is doing promotion for the movie from quarantine. He covers GQ this month as “The King of Quarantine” and his profile is titled “A Dispatch From Isolation”. His profile is one part traditional magazine write-up, done by Zach Baron, and one part Q & A, as Pattinson and Baron communicate over time zones and busted wifi. Pattinson also styled his own photoshoot, which is a series of self-portraits from his rented flat in London, where he was when The Batman shut down production. (GQ notes that he is quarantining with “his girlfriend”.) The photos aren’t bad, especially the header photo with its strategically placed quarantine staples like can-of-beans, disinfectant wipes, and cereal (the cereal aisle at my local Target has been barren for months now). Pattinson’s mise en scene is both strong and specific—he’ll direct someday.
The profile is interesting, as Pattinson, stepping back into the spotlight after nearly a decade of weird arthouse movies basically no one saw, seems like an older, more in-on-the-joke version of the person he was back in Twilight days. He clearly likes to f-ck with people, he likes to defy expectations—he went out for movies like Tenet and The Batman after learning no one considered him “on the list” for roles like that. Maybe he likes to be a little bit of an underdog, a difficult position to achieve for someone who was so successful so young. But he found a way to do it, and with Batman, he found the perfect role to overcome expectations and show us something new. He talks a bit about Batman, about coming to the role and preparing and his meal plan and not exercising—roided-up Cross Fit Batman this will NOT be—but I don’t want to talk about any of that.
I want to talk solely and specifically about “Piccolini Cuscino”, the fast-food Italian to go sandwich(?) Pattinson is attempting to create. He prepares it for Baron via FaceTime and it sounds AWFUL. I bet we’ve all eaten something a bit dodgy during lockdown, made with random ingredients found in the back of our cupboards, but Piccolini Cuscino sounds like a LIVING NIGHTMARE. The name translates to “little pillow” and Pattinson attempts to MICROWAVE PASTA into some kind of moldable product that he can cover with SUGAR and SLICED CHEESE and CORNFLAKES because Cornflakes are interchangeable with breadcrumbs, naturally. The finishing touch is that he burns the initials “PC” into the congealed pasta mess with a lighter, and then almost burns down his apartment by microwaving foil.
The description of Pattinson making this monstrosity is absolutely the funniest thing I’ve read in weeks. At one point he says, “I’m doing this for my brand,” and I HOWLED with laughter. Pattinson’s creation sounds so disgusting I wouldn’t be surprised if it gained sentience and oozed into the streets of London, devouring everything in its wake like the Blob. But he is so committed to the bit, it’s hilarious. He even pitched the idea to restaurateur Lele Massimini, because when you are as famous as RPattz, there is no limit to how far you can take a joke.
And this is definitely a joke. Don’t come at me like a stan and defend Pattinson’s foodie ambitions, this is FOR SURE a joke. Repeatedly throughout the profile, various people connected to Pattinson confirm that he likes to mess with people, that it’s hard to tell when he’s joking because he’s so dry, and that he is strong with chaotic energy. The “Piccolini Cuscino” portion of the profile—the best portion of the profile—is wild chaotic energy, he is fully committed to the bit as the best lawful chaotic performers are, and “I’m doing this for my brand” is the dead giveaway that this is not a real thing he’s trying to make happen.
However, Pattinson is famous enough that some plucky entrepreneur could actually make “Piccolini Cuscino” a real thing because of the selling power of Pattinson’s name, and they could foist it on the world, and soon we’ll all be eating microwaved pasta pucks and proclaiming Pattinson a brilliant chef. Oh my god. It’s the perfect joke. Every possible outcome is an amazing punchline. Either he’s created the perfect interview moment for quarantine humor, or he’s going to end up the face of an international chain of pasta restaurants selling his sugar cheese pasta nightmare to the masses. Robert Pattinson has long been one of the most interesting actors of his generation, I just didn’t realize he is also a brilliant performance artist/comedian. Andy Kaufman would be proud.