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‘The Lighthouse’: Robert Pattinson Almost Punched ‘The Witch’ Director Because Filming Was So Physically Demanding

Pattinson stars opposite Willem Dafoe in the next movie from writer-director Robert Eggers.

Robert Pattinson

Robert Pattinson

Michelle Quance/Shutterstock

Not much is known about “The Lighthouse,” the upcoming film from “The Witch” director Robert Eggers, but the involvement of Eggers and actors Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe put it high on the list of the most anticipated indies of 2019. The film is backed by A24, shot on 35mm black-and-white film stock, and described as a “fantasy horror story set in the world of old sea-faring myths.” That’s about all we know for now, although the actors did let it slip the film was rather torturous to make.

Dafoe recently spoke with Pattinson for Interview magazine, and the two co-starts briefly reminisced about making “The Lighthouse.” Dafoe mentioned “the conditions were so harsh” on the movie’s set that the two actors “hardly talked outside of scenes.” Pattinson added the role was so demanding that he “hardly talked to anyone,” period. One scene forced Pattinson to get sprayed with water over and over to the point where it began to sting.

“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 fuck 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,” Pattinson added. “It definitely creates an interesting energy. [Laughs].”

Pattinson said it was clear on set that Dafoe understood Eggers’ script more than he did, so he decided he would try to approach the film on more of a physical level than a cerebral one.

“You clearly weren’t into rehearsal,” Dafoe told Pattinson. “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.'”

Pattinson returned the compliment, saying, “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?'”

“I’ll take that as flattery, but I’ll also return it by saying that your approach was fierce,” Dafoe responded. “You were a warrior.”

“The Lighthouse” is one of two A24 releases Pattinson has set for 2019, the other being Claire Denis’ acclaimed science-fiction movie “High Life.” Dafoe can next be seen on the big screen as Vincent van Gogh in “At Eternity’s Gate,” opening November 16 from CBS Films.

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