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The film has been widely described as a dystopian reflection of the present crisis of capitalism _ but Pattinson sees it in a more cheerful light, as Packer learns to face his humanity.

“I always thought it’s kind of a happy story, up until the right at the very end,” he said.

“He’s suddenly starting to feel and he becomes more physical as the day goes on, more alive. He feels like he’s part of the world.”

Packer is cut off from other humans by wealth and temperament, cocooned in his car and protected by vigilant bodyguards. Pattinson has, to an extent, been cut off by fame. He and his girlfriend and “Twilight” co-star Kristen Stewart are magnets for paparazzi and fans.

Pattinson said the experience had given him insight into some aspects of Packer’s situation.

“Some of the stuff with the bodyguard, because when I’m doing press and stuff and when I’m working I have a bodyguard who I get really close with,” he said. “There’s a very specific relationship and that was one of the things I kind of got.”

Pattinson’s “Twilight” fame has trailed with him around Cannes, but Cronenberg said it had no bearing on his decision to cast the actor.

“You must ignore the baggage,” the director said.

“It is very easy to say that this character, Eric Packer, is vampire or a werewolf of Wall Street, But really that’s rather superficial. He’s a real character and a real person in the movie.

“This is a real person, with a history and a past. And the history and the past is not `Twilight.’ It’s `Cosmopolis.’”

Pattinson came to Cannes with Stewart, who appears in Jack Kerouac adaptation “On the Road.”

“She found out a lot earlier than I did that it (“On the Road”) was in competition,” Pattinson said _ leaving him seething.

He’s happy now, though, and still can’t believe the reaction to the strange and unsettling “Cosmopolis.”

“When there’s people screaming outside, I’m like, `This is incredible,’” he said. “That people are screaming for this, the most bizarre movie _ it’s amazing.

“I wasn’t expecting anyone to get it. Even last night (at the premiere), I was expecting everyone to walk out.”

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