With her new film, Emilie de Ravin has hit the jackpot. Not only does she get to cavort in steamy scenes with heartthrob du jour Robert Pattinson (OMG! RPattz!) in Remember Me, but she gets to bask in the heat of a talked-about movie that, without Pattinson's involvement, may have been another under-the-radar romantic drama.
Pattinson's first project since the unprecedented success of the Twilight films sees him as an angry rich kid – sans creepy vampire makeup – who falls in love with a ballsy young philosophy student, played by de Ravin. At 28 – five years Pattinson's senior – she is still girlish enough to pass for 21.
You'll most likely recognise the Australian actress de Ravin as the young mother Claire in Lost (currently in its explosive sixth series on Sky1), but her association with Pattinson has catapulted her into the celebrity weeklies.
When we meet in New York, where the film is set, a blizzard is raging outside the hotel window. Like Pattinson, she seems embarrassed about her success, shrugging off compliments and rolling her eyes at talk of fans and paparazzi. "I get recognised," she says with a dismissive wave, "but I'm not the sort of person who frequents popular clubs. I try to keep out of that."
De Ravin is part of a new breed of celebrity – like Pattinson and his Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart – who shun the glamour and adulation that many see as a perk of the job. When de Ravin slouched onto the red carpet at the London premiere of Remember Me recently, grinning awkwardly in her black Oscar de la Renta mini-dress, she and Pattinson looked as though they would rather be anywhere else.
Despite their 'I'm-so-normal' façade, journalists are warned not to ask about their private lives on pain of death. A hovering publicist peers up from her BlackBerry at the mere hint of a personal question to de Ravin (it could be worse: no less than three handlers accompany Pattinson during his interview). But this much we know: she married the American actor Josh Janowicz in June 2006 after being together for four years. The couple separated last year, but are rumoured to have reunited.
"Love is such an objective thing," she says, in a suitably vague answer to a necessarily vague question about love. "I mean, I can say I love my family, or I love my Diet Coke," she continues, gesturing towards her Coke can. "So I guess, in different ways, yeah, I do believe in love."
But in terms of relationships?
"It's different with every person. It depends if it... clicks. It's chemistry."
Either way, if she's in love when we meet, there is no ring on her finger. Of course she was romantically linked to Pattinson during filming, but RPattz could star opposite Ellen DeGeneres and there would be rumours. Having said that, the young stars' on-screen chemistry is undeniable. Viewers will be surprised to learn they met just one week before filming commenced.
"She's really cool," says Pattinson, pushing back his James Dean-esque mane, when we meet later that afternoon. "She was actually the last girl we saw and she was cast on the day of her audition, so we went straight out to a bar. It was so close to filming that we didn't have time to rehearse. But she got it right from the beginning, so it was easy."
De Ravin agrees that the best preparation was getting to know each other. "Our relationship in the film is intense," she nods. "We spent a lot of time together, talking about our characters and their relationship, because it's so important to be comfortable together. Then, when we were actually shooting, everything fell into place and felt natural. It didn't ever feel like we were reading a scene or going through the motions."
Watching Pattinson brooding or de Ravin screaming at her on-screen father (Chris Cooper), I have to ask: did they manage to have any fun on set?
"If you're getting ready to do a really emotional scene then, right before it, you're probably not going to be outside playing basketball," she shrugs. "But everybody involved was passionate about it so there was a good vibe."
Having not spent much time in New York before landing the role, de Ravin has now fallen in love with the city. "New York is a character in the film," she smiles, either not noticing or not caring what a cliché that is. "It was great to be able to walk around the city on days off. And it's so rare to be able to shoot in the real locations. When we have dinner, we were actually in The Oak Room and when we were doing a scene in the house Ally [her character] grew up in, that was in Queens."
Of course, the downside of shooting around the city is that Twilight fans and paparazzi had easy access to locations.
"It was distracting at times," admits de Ravin. "We shot 90 per cent on location in Manhattan or Queens so it was very accessible. It's not like they can close down Central Park. So it was difficult for Rob and I to figure out the logistics of a rehearsal when you've got thousands of people watching. Even if you're not looking at them, you're aware of it. It can be hard to focus."
It must have been a very different experience from filming Lost in the relative seclusion of Hawaii. As we speak, de Ravin is about to finish shooting the final season of the hit show. Can she tell us anything about how it ends? Do they ever get off that bloody island?
"I honestly don't know," she laughs. "We're filming the next episode in a few days and I don't even have that script yet. But that's the same with every show on TV. With films, you have time to read the script properly and rehearse. You can develop a back-story and, by the time you start shooting, you know everything you need to. That's one of the many things I love about film in comparison to TV."
Although de Ravin clearly yearns for a film career, you can't help feeling that she isn't really cut out for Hollywood. Ask her where home is and she says emphatically: "Temporary home is LA. But home home is Melbourne."
What does she miss most about it? "Everything," she sighs wistfully. "Walking around the city and the gardens and the restaurants. I don't get home as much as I would like to. There's a lot of downtime on Lost, so I might have three weeks off, but you never know in advance if you might be needed. I miss my family so much, my ideal holiday is just to hang out with them. I'm kind of a homebody. I like to sit at home and watch movies and eat good food."
De Ravin is no stranger to film, having starred in 2005's high-school noir Brick, alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and the 2006 horror The Hills Have Eyes (tagline: "The Lucky Ones Die First"). So she's no red carpet virgin; it's just that it's not really her natural home.
"Once in a while it's fun to dress up for a premiere," she shrugs. "But I'm not someone that's going to stick on heels and a dress every day. Shopping stresses me out."
What about staying in shape? Her impressive abs are on display in Remember Me. She must work out?
"No, I don't really do anything. I'm not very fit."
Just good genes then?
"Yeah. Thanks mum."
So there you go: Emilie de Ravin is a study in laid-back cool. One of that frustrating breed of beautiful I-just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-this-is-how-I-look people. A lot like Robert Pattinson in fact. So, when she was filming scenes with RPattz, who spent the most time on their hair?
She explodes with laughter: "Oh come on! Totally Rob," she grins, before shaking her head at the ridiculousness of the question and, more seriously, adding, "Neither one of us really did much. It was just like... " she mimes messing up her hair with devil-may-care nonchalance.
Then she shrugs again.
'Remember Me' is released on 2 April. 'Lost' is on Fridays at 9pm on Sky1 and Sky1 HD
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