Rooney’s Lead Singer Is Low Key a Movie Director Now

Robert Schwartzman is the ultimate #mancrush because tbh, we’ve been crushing over this hunk since 2004 when he starred in “The Princess Diaries” and his band made an appearance on “The OC.”

Yeah, the lead singer of Rooney was also the dude in “The Princess Diaries.” We didn’t know that either, crazy right?

Although we fell in love with him as Princess Mia’s goofy, adorable, love interest, Michael Moscovitz, we’re even more impressed with all the things he’s doing now. From directing his first film “Dreamland” to recording tons of new tracks with his band Rooney, Robert is making major moves within the industry.

After attending one of Rooney’s shows at The Standard hotel, we sat down with Robert to find out his secrets to love and dating.

Have you ever used your musical talents to get a girl? 

Not consciously. I think the main thing with music, the beauty of music for all musicians and listeners, is that it brings people together. 

Have you ever used your musical talents to get over a girl – Taylor Swift style? 

Yes. It’s probably the same for most songwriters. You feel something, you get hurt, you do the hurting, you feel bad, you long for something and you put it into a song. Writing and playing music is therapeutic. I embraced music in this way when I first started writing songs in high school. 

What is the craziest way a girl has ever tried to get your attention? 

I wouldn’t want to shout anyone out or hurt any feelings so I’ll answer this in a more general way. It’s no surprise and kind of cliché that there are hookups after shows and it’s not dissimilar to when someone has a one-night stand. I’ll direct this question to another topic though – the magical world of Tinder or Bumble. I’d argue that these dating technologies might be the craziest ways people get other people’s attention. 

What is the best Rooney song for a guy who’s trying to set the mood? 

First, good call for the guy to set the mood with Rooney. If the mood is something sweet and gentle, I’d go with “The Days Keep Going By” or “Sleep Song.” If he needs something energetic and fun, “I Can’t Get Enough,” and if he wants to rock out with her, it’s gotta be “My Heart Beats 4 U.” I’ll tell you a story – a DJ in Germany told me he had sex with his girlfriend at a club while he was spinning “When Did Your Heart Go Missing?” so maybe [that one] because it’s already [been] proven to work.

Have you ever gotten down with a groupie? 

Wait a minute, I see where this is going. “Gotten down” like danced with a groupie low to the ground, bar mitzvah style? In that case, yes! I’ve gotten down many times.

What advice would you give your younger self about girls? 

I’d say, “Don’t overthink it, just enjoy yourself, be safe and be a gentleman.” I think the “don’t overthink it” part might be the only relevant part my younger self would need to know… or maybe I still need to tell myself this… am I still my younger self?

What did the relationship between Princess Mia and Michael from “The Princess Diaries” teach you about relationships and romance? 

Well I was 18 when we shot this movie and just figuring relationships and romance out. But the romance between Mia and Michael explores that thing you see in many romance movies where you realize that everything you want was actually right in front of you all along. That’s a good lesson and is probably true for a lot of people. 

You’ve done everything from acting, to singing and now you’re directing “Dreamland” – what is your favorite form of creative release? 

I really enjoy all of these for different reasons. Acting is a great way to invent a character and to help tell a story. You become a character, take direction and share ideas. Singing is very physical. I love the way it feels to sing and to feel the resonance in my body – to hit notes and feel how they play against chords and rhythm. It’s hard to describe but it’s an exciting feeling and [when you’re] on stage, working with the crowd, anything goes. Directing is like bringing all of these parts together. It’s like having so many colors to paint with and making decisions to help the overall piece come together – it’s the brush, the type of paint, the colors, how they’re mixed, the material to paint on, the images and the layers [that all come together]. 

Who would be your dream co-star? 

I’d be into a buddy comedy with Burt Reynolds. 

Who inspires you musically?

This is a tough question because my listening habits are pretty broad. Lately I’m getting deep into “The Alan Parsons Project” and discovering some “ELO” albums I never heard. I like these bands because it’s dramatic music – like something that could be performed while dancers fill the stage and you can imagine an incredible light show to go with it.

What is your dating deal breaker?

I’m not into clubs or clubbing so that’s always been deal breaker. My girlfriend and I are into cooking dinner and watching movies on the couch. Grandma and grandpa kind of stuff. 

Have you ever slid into a girls’ DM and what line did you use? 

I haven’t done any DM sliding but if I was into that sort of thing I’d probably start off by saying, “Don’t delete, this isn’t spam…”. 

Do you have any more talents that we don’t know about? 

I’m a pretty good cook. And I play ping pong.

In “Dreamland,” the main character falls for an older woman – is this something that has happened in your life?

I pull from moments in my life or things I’ve heard from other people so there’s truth and imagination in this film. It’s the same for my songwriting – pulling from real experiences and then embellishing them or writing a story around a certain real feeling or moment.

What do you think of the older-woman, younger-man dynamic? 

No judgement, whatever floats your boat. I think the older-woman, younger-man relationship is totally acceptable. I don’t think love or the type of relationship you want [to have] has to have boundaries or [has to] fit the status quo. I think the whole dating world has changed [because of online dating] today and that has led to different types of relationships and experiences so people are becoming more accepting of these dynamics.

The fact that the word “Cougar” exists is pretty indicative of the fact that society views older-woman, younger-man relationships as controversial, why do you think that is? 

I think everyone has their own opinion of this but I’ll take a guess and say it might be related to our animalistic roots and thirst for procreation. As people age, especially for woman, our bodies change and there is a ticking clock that allows us to reproduce. Perhaps there is some kind of animal-side of us that subconsciously frowns upon younger men with older woman because it represents a relationship that won’t produce offspring. I don’t agree with this thinking because not everyone wants to have kids but there is a status quo and people seem to follow it whether they are aware of it or not. 

Watch “My Heart Beats 4 U” from Rooney’s upcoming “Washed Away” album, below.

Photography by Zoey Grossman

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