Robert Pattinson explains how a “ferocious” masturbation scene helped to prepare him for his role in ‘The Lighthouse’

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Actor Robert Pattinson has explained how a “ferocious” masturbation scene in his latest film, The Lighthouse, helped him settle into his role in the enigmatic horror film.

The film, directed Robert Eggers, has seen Pattinson achieve critical acclaim across the board for his portrayal of lighthouse keeper Ephraim Winslow; his role has also already been put forward for an Oscar.

Speaking about the infamous scene, Pattinson said: “Well, my first shot was this ferocious masturbation scene. It’s always nice to do something massive for your opening shot, and I went really massive on the first take.


“It was a 180 from everything we’d done in rehearsal, and I could see Robert a little in shock afterward. But I was like, ‘O.K., cool, I didn’t get told to stop, so I’ll keep going in that direction.’ As soon as I’d done that, it was like the road started getting paved.”

The Lightouse
Scared seasick: William Dafoe and Robert Pattinson in ‘The Lighthouse’.

Meanwhile, Pattinson’s co-star in the film, William Defoe, recently revealed Pattinson would “beat himself up” on the set of the lighthouse, discussing the extraordinary lengths he went to in preparing for the role. 

“He’s not interested in craft, I think. He wants to throw himself into deep water and he feels like it will only be true if he’s drowning,” Dafoe told Mr Porter of Pattinson’s commitment to the character.

“For me that seemed wacky. But I’m not trying to judge. He has a good sense of the visual, of what’s needed in a close-up. Sometimes he’d beat himself up so bad. He’d stick his fingers down his throat, things like that.”


In a five star review of The Lighthouse, NME said: “For horror fans, The Lighthouse should fall part way between The Shining and Moby Dick. It’s one of the most gripping horrors of recent years but not in the typical “jump-scare” manner you might imagine – if anything, this film does a good job of re-writing the genre afresh, cementing Eggers’ place as one of the most exciting new directors around.

“This is an extraordinary, unsettling film exploring the very darkest crevices of human nature – it will stay with you long after the final howls of the lighthouse’s foghorn sound.”

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