Sunday, February 6, 2011

Emilie de Ravin and Robert Pattinson: Portraying Lovers in Remember Me

In her newest insightful article Jessegirl looks at Emilie's and Rob's wonderful performance in Remember Me and how Tyler and Ally work as a couple.

This piece is a companion piece to one that will follow shortly entitled "Ally and Tyler - Lovers of Remember Me".

~ by jessegirl~ January 27, 2011



Script:
It all began with Will Fetters’ script. By the time it came to Emilie de Ravin, producer, director, and actors had already been persuaded of its quality. In an interview with Tony Toscano, Emily stated that she couldn’t put the script down, which was unusual for her, and she said it flowed. So she, too, was won over. It all, always, begins with story and script.



Casting:
Apparently a totally different sort of character had been imagined initially, a woman with Latin origins. The search came down to the wire with only Emilie’s character not yet cast only weeks before filming. In her video audition, Emilie demonstrated the spark and fire the filmmakers had been looking for and which was lacking in the others who tried out. Pattinson had a hand in this final cut. Finally, Tyler had his Ally.

Emilie has stated that she didn’t know anything about or of Pattinson beforehand. One can only imagine her shock when confronted with the effect of his fame.

Working Conditions:
Emilie didn’t even know she was entering the fray, but in the summer of 2009, when shooting in NYC, the Pattinson phenomenon was intense. Some ‘Robsten’ fans, who want Pattinson and Kristin Stewart to be a couple, disliked Emilie because they believed the rumours that she was dating Pattinson. These fans didn’t want her showing up at the Eclipse premiere. Of course, Kristen Stewart is maligned too, just because of her close connection to him.

It seems many fans are way too invested in Pattinson’s private life. To some he needs to be single, alone—presumably so he is available to them?—and others somehow care which woman he dates. Also, it is assumed he should not even make films which require him to make love with women. This is insanity.

Perhaps fans have always felt so emotionally involved in their idols but, with twitter, facebook, fan blogs and websites, message boards, etc., now available to them, many fans make their voices heard, no matter how irrational, rude, crude, malicious, or hate-filled. Suffice it to say that the 21st century is proving to be a mine-infested field for stars as big as Pattinson. And god help their hapless co-stars or significant others. With actors like Pattinson, Stewart and de Ravin, who guard their privacy, who wish to pursue their craft but have no desire to be celebrities, this has become a difficult situation.
Look what happened to Pattinson on the first day of shooting Remember Me.



Thereafter there was a virtual phalanx surrounding him while walking to and from set. Emilie would walk some distance behind, with one aide, undisturbed. It seemed like a humorous little parade. I only know this because I’ve seen the pap footage, which is ironic. Ah, the summer of ’09.

Coulter, de Ravin, and Jerins all reported on the difficulty of shooting with both fans and paparazzi so close by, often just out of camera range. During the beach scene, one resourceful and determined pap came out of the water to get the money shot, Emilie and Robert laughing together. One wonders how many cinematic adjustments and re-shoots had to be made to keep the intruders out of the scenes. And, indeed, the actors had to be extremely focused, especially anyone filming with Pattinson, including the young Ruby Jerins. So although Pattinson bore the brunt of this, having these forces present was difficult for everyone involved in filming, from actors to crew. It speaks to their professionalism and talent that they were able to produce such good performances in this situation. [For more on Pattinson’s involvement in Remember Me, see: Cast Spotlight - Robert Pattinson in Remember Me Part 1



Performances:
One of the hallmarks of Remember Me is the believability of the performances, pretty much all of them. First of all, although the main cast came from all over the world, in general, their American accents passed muster. Pattinson and de Ravin both were convincing. Although I’m no expert on the finer points of specific accents, like Queens, de Ravin shed her very distinct, broad, native Australian for an American voice. To the untrained ear she sounded right. Indeed, some of those working on the film were astonished when she was out of character and used her native accent. They hadn’t known she was Australian.



When we watch the development of Ally and Tyler’s relationship, it seems so organic, and the actors both delivered the right pitch. Their performances resonated and drew the audience in because Emilie and Robert brought Ally and Tyler to life with seemingly effortless ease. Emilie mentioned a number of times the ‘organic’, ‘natural’ feel of the script, which, no doubt, aided them in finding their voices—as Pattinson said—and developing their characters.
The relationship between Tyler and Ally feels genuine rather than contrived. [David Edwards The Daily Mirror.co.uk]

Viewers are drawn into the film’s various story-lines because the script and actors made it all seem so real. There was no trace of Claire from Lost or Edward from Twilight. It was only Ally and Tyler. I have written at length about Pattinson’s portrayal of Tyler. [See: Robert Pattinson in Remember Me Part 2 - Living Tyler ] Let’s concentrate on Emilie’s work a little bit now, and with how the two actors’ interact.

When Tyler approaches Ally in the student union with his line about a sociological survey, she is not at all taken in. She puts him off first thing—“You’re already bothering me.”—and, at first, teases him by calling herself Anonymous. Emilie’s facial expressions convey Ally’s scepticism and suspicion. As Tyler elaborates—he has to because she doesn’t give him an in—with talk of foam fingers and demographics, she sizes him up and tests him (“Who else are you going to ask?”). She outright lies about her age, to put him off. Finally, she lets him in .



In an interview with ClevverTV, Emilie said Ally is guarded because of her past, and, that it’s hard to let people in. That’s interesting because Tyler has been the guarded one all along. He’ll allow a host of women to entertain him—like toothbrush girl, the Miami girls, etc.—but only in a mild and apathetic way. Letting Ally in is big.

Emilie and Robert’s timing and the way they played off each other in this scene, and others, is dead on target. The pacing was generous, which lent credibility and allowed the actors to ease into the scenes, just as real relationships usually take time to evolve.

Some would call it slow pacing, meaning boring, but because nothing was hurried, it felt like Ally and Tyler were really getting to know each other. In this way, viewers could absorb the process of two people falling in love, not just the highlights. Most films gloss over everything. In them, it takes so little for characters to fall in love: the ingredients are sexual attraction, a few games and titillating smart-ass dialogue, altercations for sass and vinegar, some sexually-laden moments, and viola – Love! And because it happens so fast, it is so predictable.

Some of these same elements are in Remember Me but are not handled stereotypically. The pacing helped Emilie and Robert to breathe life into their interactions in the most ordinary way. Hard to put my finger on it, but Ally and Tyler seemed to be really attentive to each other and these characters seemed both ordinary and original. The performances Emilie and Robert gave were so very believable.

In one critic’s opinion: The couple’s relationship ebbs and flows, and mostly in realistic rhythms. The duo has strong screen chemistry, powerful enough to shoulder past the inevitable final reel fracture. [Christian Toto.What Would Toto Watch.com]

On their first date, at the Indian restaurant, Ally continues to challenge Tyler. I examined Robert’s performance in my piece on him. Emilie’s expressions and line delivery are also fascinating. Here Emilie’s Ally dares him to object to her dessert order.



After a perplexed Tyler gives the waiter his order and looks back at her, she still has that look of challenge as she states that she eats her dessert first. Emilie has this young pixie face which she uses to great effect here, very child-like, yet almost pugnacious too.



And Robert gives a gamut of facial expression in response to her asteroid speech, which is priceless. Emilie’s line delivery and expressions capture the quirky provocation, the test Ally puts Tyler through. Tyler finally capitulates to her oddity when Ally says, I’ll share. She has completely thrown him again, which is precisely what Tyler, the lost soul, needs. The actors’ repartée, their physical responses to each other in this scene, were a well played delight, -like a dessert first. (I dare anyone to find James Dean anywhere near Robert’s performance here.)




When Ally is just about to leave in the taxi, she rebuffs Tyler’s attempt to kiss her. Emilie worked with pouty lips as she watched his reaction, and Robert’s eyes were down, dejected. She pursed her lips even more as Robert finishes the line about the panda having more of a chance with her than he does. Tyler, by now, is one confused boy. Then he watches the taxi leave. Robert had his hand to his mouth, the other loosely crooked on his hip, perplexed, trying to figure out what happened.



I could analyze Emilie and Robert’s portrayals scene by scene, but you get the gist.
Jumping to Tyler’s confession, we have what some might consider some morose James Dean moments. But Robert’s performance never reaches the level of hyperbole Dean’s often did; it is more nuanced. As Stephen Whitty remarked: James Dean certainly did okay with it—dangerous bad boy—but Pattinson smartly tweaks his own persona... [NJ Star Ledger.com]

Here again, Robert uses his body and its language shows us a hesitant—terrified—and ashamed young man who shrinks his lanky frame by leaning defeated against the wall and who keeps looking down or away from Ally, afraid to face her, to confront the look he’ll put on her face.



Now Ally is confused, as Tyler spills the beans little by little, prodded by her questions. Now Emilie’s face goes through various bewildered expressions. When the truth hits Ally, Emilie’s nauseous reaction was visceral. Well done. By this point the audience is so invested in these lovers that their pain saddens. By then, Ally and Tyler, as Emilie and Robert have given them to us, are ours.



The last moment in the film, played out to Zarvos’ heartbreaking and uplifting final track, is Emilie’s. While she rides on the subway, having found new courage, Ally smiles. This mirrors Tyler’s tranquil smile when he watched his family photos scroll by on his Dad’s computer.

The first time I saw Remember Me, that smile annoyed me. Why? Because it was too soon. Only two minutes after the shock. How could Ally smile so soon? Of course, it was implied that for Ally some time had passed. And she was ready. Ally’s smile is luminous.
Only an image offering that precise sustenance could have the visual heft, the potency, to help viewers cope with the emblematic stunning image that has been burnt into the brain--- Tyler at that window.

Emilie, helped by a face already angelic and lovely, delivered this final shot beautifully.
It was perfection.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Appendix: Some Critics’ Takes-

Here I will deal only with critics’ comment speaking to de Ravin and Pattinson’s acting, and I will leave out negative reaction (which can be found on rotten tomatoes.com if anyone is interested). There have been many positive reviews. In point of fact, many of the negative reviews had more to do with Remember Me’s ending than with the acting.
So, regarding Emilie and Robert’s performances:

The Couple:



-“There is little doubt that Pattinson’s magnetic work as the protagonist plays a significant role in cementing Remember Me’s mild success, with the palpable chemistry between his and de Ravin’s respective characters ensuring that the film is at its best when focused on their charming, easy-going banter.” [David Nusair. Reel Film.com]

-“...playing opposite Emilie de Ravin...and the two have great chemistry.” [Rebecca Murphy Movies About.com March 12, 2010]

-“Their courtship is a sensitive, well-acted progression through stages of mutual trust and Tyler’s gradual rediscovery of his own real feelings...” [Roger Ebert.Chicago Sun Times.com March 10, 2010]

-“where most films about young love somehow manage to feel neither romantic nor sexy, Pattinson and de Ravin are so genuine that I felt in love with them as a couple. They’re sweetly adorable, never annoying or cloying. [Mary Ann Johanson FlickFilosopher.com March 210, 2010]

-“...Robert Pattinson and Emilie de Ravin present a connection that gradually betters through the course of the movie – parallel to the progression of the relationship.” [Amanda Bell The Examiner.com Philadelphia
March 10, 2010]

-“The scenes between Pattinson and de Ravin exude genuine charm. One wants these two to get together. They are likeable without being saccharine.” [Kirk Honeycutt. The Hollywood Reporter.com]

-“The romance at the center of the film, performed brilliantly and credibly by Pattinson and Lost star de Ravin, is one of the rawest, realest, and most unforced couplings in recent years. It works brilliantly.” [What's Playing.com.au]

-“...the film features solid performances from Pattinson and co-star Emilie de Ravin..” [Bryan Reesman. Controversial Remember Me Ending Dividing Critics and Audiences.Attention Deficit Delirium.com March 15, 2010]

-“Robert Pattinson hands in an accomplished performance here full of substance and worth. ..he manages to handle the complexities of Tyler Hawkins perfectly...He is supported beautifully by Emilie de Ravin who manages to make Ally Craig more than just a love interest....reminds us all that she is a capable actress with an ability to raise her game when called upon. The two share an organic chemistry that easily convinces us that Tyler and Ally are a believable couple.” [Jason Entertainment-Focus.com March 31, 2010]

Emilie de Ravin:



-“...the big reveal is de Ravin, a young talent with a tomboy charm and great inner strength.” [Amy Nicolson Inland Empire Weekly.com]

-“...de Ravin has intensity, emotion, hurt and happiness that comes through on the screen perfectly.” [Willie Waffle Waffle Movies.com]

-“Emilie de Ravin is perfect as the potential love interest for Pattinson. She mixes a softness with a scorched world-weariness to create a compelling woman.” [Laremy Legel Film.com March 11, 2010]

-“Emilie de Ravin...is sympathetic and low-key as Ally, but also unassumingly captivating.” [Dustin Putman Dustin Putnam.com March 9, 2010]

-“De Ravin is luminous and offers a character who is independent, smart, and assuredly individual...” [Tricia Olszewski Washington City Paper.com March 12, 2010]

-“This is as much Ravin’s film as it is Pattinson and she shines just as brightly.’ [Nick Staniforth Britfilms.com
July 30, 2010]

-“And de Ravin...delivers a refreshingly honest performance as a young woman dealing with love and loss.” [Rebecca Murphy Movies About.com March 12, 2010]


And Robert Pattinson:



-“Robert Pattinson delivers one of the richest and most weighty performances of any actor this year.” And “Quite simply, Pattinson was an eye-opener in this film.” [Moviehole.net Dec. 2010]

-“Bottom Line: A strong romantic drama in which Robert Pattinson and Emilie de Ravin really shine.” [Kirk Honeycutt. The Hollywood Reporter.com]

-“Pattinson’s turn as the forlorn, love-struck and appreciably human Tyler in Remember Me is the role that’ll turn the young actor from a movie star into an actor.” [What's Playing.com.au]

-“He [Pattinson] is able to deliver the calm as well as the storm when necessary in this movie, and he captures the intensity of his character’s wildly emotional and physical responses to his circumstances.” [Amanda Bell The Examiner.com Philadelphia March 10, 2010]

-“Robert Pattinson is in amazing form here...He is an adaptable and very capable talent that really gets to grips with his characters’ story and along with an amazing ensemble has created one of this year’s finest films.” [Entertainment-Focus.com]

-“Pattinson....can, in fact, act and can carry a film that has nothing to do with vampires...his performance in Remember Me makes you wonder where this guy’s been hiding...” [Rebecca Murphy Movies About.com March 12, 2010]

-“With any luck, the actor’s naysayers will be silenced after they take a gander at his convincing, even magnetic work in ‘Remember Me’” And “As for Robert Pattinson, he is in full command of his leading role and never falters.” [Dustin Putnam Dustin Putnam.com March 9, 2010]

-“There are no less than four tremendous performances in the film. Robert Pattinson is excellent as the brooding and wounded Tyler Hawkins.” [Laremy Legel Film.com]

-“Here he gives depth and feeling to a stale character type, the brooding loner desperate for a personal connection.” [Christian Toto What Would Toto Watch.com]

-“But R-Patz shows he can act, standing toe to toe with the fine Chris Cooper...” [Grant Rollings The Sun.co.uk]


Photo Sources:
MrPattinson.com

Other Sources:
Reel Film.com
Movies About.com
Chicago Sun Times.com
FlickFilosopher.com
The Examiner.com Philadelphia
The Hollywood Reporter.com
What's Playing.com.au
Moviefone.com
Entertainment-Focus.com
Inland Empire Weekly.com
Waffle Movies.com
Film.com
Dustin Putnam.com
Washington City Paper.com
Britfilms.com
What's Playing.com.au
Attention Deficit Delirium.com
Moviehole.net
The Hollywood Reporter.com
What's Playing.com.au
The Examiner.com Philadelphia
Entertainment-Focus.com
Dustin Putnam.com
Film.com
What Would Toto Watch.com
The Sun.co.uk
NJ.com

6 comments:

John said...

What an amazing article!!! You did great job!!! I can't believe how jessegirl collected all this stuff!! Do you mind if i post on my blog!? I will credit the site and jessegirl of course!

solas said...

Jesse, as usual a thoughtful piece. The whole ensemble worked so very well, and everyone was believable, drawing me into the story as neighbour at the least. I am one of those, however, who is concerned about any actor -not just Rob- making love to someone who is not his partner in life. I see too many relationships, marriages, even families get shaken, even destroyed, from this. And I wonder how much the people who are in favour of ROb doing 'love' (sex) scenes actually just want to see him naked or as close as possible to naked, want to phantasize that they are the ones in bed with him (seeing is better than imagining alone) rather than merely wanting him to take on roles which are interesting and may or may not involve nudity/sex, etc.

kat said...

John, Of course you can! Very glad you loved it. It's about time we gave Emilie some love.

imloco2 said...

Great article Jessegirl. They're all great though. Glad to see you still doing them.

I've never been worried about Rob, the actor, having sex scenes with other women in movies. He is not making love or having sex with any of them in real life. He is playing a part and most stories with humans have love/sex scenes that come into play. It's just part of the human experience and most stories will have it in there. If you're an actor you have to do them.

I don't think 'acting' the scenes will hurt real world relationships. I think it's what you do after they yell cut that will do that. I have enough confidence in Rob's intelligence about the whole thing that I'm not worried about it. He is a very old soul in a lot of ways and seems wise in what will trip him up in life. And he seems determined to not get tripped up too often.

Also, we Americans seen to have real hangups when it comes to sex that the Euro community doesn't. We let all kinds of violence slide through the censors, but add real emotions in a sex scene and they try to squash it like a bug. In other countries I hear it's different. They don't like the violence so much, but they are a lot freer about their bodies and the sexual experience. I'm sure it's an arguable point, but I do think Remember Me was shot with more skin and more emotion showing and it was cut out. I remember Rob talking about how he couldn't understand why the censors felt his scene with Emile had too much connection and emotion in it so it was cut down to what we saw. He thought that Tyler and Allie should be making love not just having sex. I think only one small moment where he looks at her got left in. Very interesting.

John said...

It was about time indeed ;) ;) ;) haha
Thnx Kat, i will post it right away!!!

jessegirl said...

I know, John, finally, eh! What can I say; I come from a different place. But I always knew both Emilie and Ally had to be given their due.

imloco! Hello!
I know, I'm still plugging away.
I would have loved to see the original love scene. And I hear you when you talk about sex and violence and the censors.

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