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On the cast, Nick said: “Rob came very early on. He read the script and absolutely loved it, and really related to the character.
“We met him, and that was like a marriage immediately. He has always been wonderfully committed, and is a terrifically serious actor.”
Declan added: “Very interestingly, he insisted on rehearsing for a whole month in London before we shot one single piece of film, which is very, very unusual for somebody who has as busy a schedule as he has.
“He was incredibly committed, and couldn’t have been a nicer guy or a more talented guy to work with.”
Nick also said of the Twilight star’s involvement: “I think the reason that Rob was attracted to this role is that it’s the complete opposite of everything that he’s played so far.
“The character of Bel Ami is talentless, vacuous and really totally selfish. Rob is very talented, but he completely understood the part, completely understood the character.”
“At the risk of sounding po-faced or pretentious, all artists will grapple – I do – with insecurity about your own talent,” Declan explained. “It’s a very dodgy artist indeed who says ‘I know exactly what I’m doing; I’m a genius, I’m talented’. Nobody I know who does good work thinks like that at all.
“I think that’s one of the reasons why this character is so fascinating to us, really, because he gets to the top with nothing, and it’s very much a parable for our time.”