From Vampire to Batman
ROBERT PATTINSON IS STILL MOST FAMOUS FOR HIS ROLE AS THE SPARKLY VAMPIRE EDWARD CULLEN IN THE TWILIGHT SAGA, BUT WITH HIS ROLE AS BATMAN SET TO PREMIERE NEXT YEAR AND HIS PART IN THE UPCOMING CHRISTOPHER NOLAN FILM, TENET, THAT MIGHT ALL SOON CHANGE.
Robert Pattinson’s career has been not only one of longevity, but one that has transformed throughout the years. He has gone from unknown name to megastar Hollywood hunk to an independent film actor. Let’s take a look back at his humble beginnings, where he received his first notable role as Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005). His small part in the film proved fruitful as he received recognition for it. In a way, landing the part as Diggory in the Harry Potter saga would be a sign of the future: Soon, he too would earn the main role in a world-famous saga, just like his co-star, Daniel Radcliffe.
Soon after, Pattinson took on parts in small films How to Be and Little Ashes, with both coming out in 2008. That same year, he bagged the role that would change his life and launch him into superstardom. Twilight arrived in theaters November of 2008 to packed movie theaters full of teens that were obsessed with the novels of the same name by Stephanie Meyer. Pattinson played Edward Cullen, the sexy, mysterious vampire who is in love with a human, Bella Swan. The romantic fantasy tale captivated viewers all over the world, and soon Pattinson was a heartthrob.
Due to the vast success of the first film, it turned into a full-on saga, which each of the four books in Meyer’s collection getting its own production. In 2009, the sequel, New Moon arrived, and with it came other changes in Pattinson’s life. He began to date his co-star Kristen Stewart, who plays his love interest Bella Swan in the series. This only added more craze to the already-existing mania as fans swooned over the couple, aptly named “Robsten.”
In 2010, Pattinson decided to use his newfound fame to enter a fresh area of film: producing. He starred in and executive produced the drama/romance film Remember Me, which received mixed reviews from critics. Soon after, the third installment of Twilight, Eclipse, arrived in theaters, followed by Water for Elephants (2011), an independent film centered around a circus that received recognition, despite its low-key status. The film also featured Christoph Waltz and Reese Witherspoon.
Also in 2011 came the first half of the last installment of the Twilight saga, Breaking Dawn Part 1. At this point, it seemed as if Pattinson was over the crazed fans and all of the hype that surrounded the films. “Playing the same part for a while, you just run out of ideas. You feel kind of useless, you don’t know what to do anymore…I kind of got to the end of my inspiration. You get to the point where you’re like, ‘I don’t want to do a film for a teen audience anymore’,” Pattinson admitted.
Despite his less-than-enthusiastic attitude toward the Twilight films, he went on to star in the last installment, Breaking Dawn Part 2, in 2012. The movie had the best global opening out of any other film in the franchise, making a whopping $340.9 million worldwide on just its opening weekend alone. However, despite Twilight coming to a close, not everything was a happy ending. While Pattinson’s girlfriend, Kristen Stewart, was working on her film, Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), she cheated on him with the director, Rupert Sanders. Paparazzi had been spying on the two and photographed them embracing, cuddling, and kissing. The pictures were soon splashed all over the media as the cheating scandal lit up headlines. To make matters even more appalling, Sanders was a married man with two kids. Pattinson was heartbroken, but the couple patched things up and were back together a couple of months after the shocking incident. They didn’t seem to fully bounce back though, as they called it quits for good in May of 2013.
Much like Leonardo DiCaprio after Titanic, Pattinson hoped to remove himself from his eye candy status after Twilight, choosing to star in films that gave him more creative freedom and less of a public spotlight. Straying away from the huge films and Hollywood money-makers, Pattinson opted for small, indie projects with strange characters. He starred in 2014’s The Rover about a global economic collapse, and David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis (2012) and Maps to the Stars (2014), about a Hollywood family chasing celebrity. Then he acted alongside Nicole Kidman and James Franco in Queen of the Desert (2015) about Gertrude Bell’s life. Also keeping him busy that year were the films Life, about a LIFE Magazine photographer who photographs James Dean and The Childhood of a Leader, about a post-World War I leader’s childhood.
“The most fun part of doing movies is that you can explore the more grotesque or naughty sides of your psyche in a somewhat safe environment. And it’s always more fun if you’re shocking the people in the room. If you end up being boring, that’s the lowest of the low,” Pattinson shared.
In 2016, he continued his expedition down the unconventional path with his supporting role as explorer Henry Costin in The Lost City of Z and then in 2017, played a troubled bank robber in Good Time. His projects didn’t slow down there— In 2018 came the western comedy Damsel, where he played Samuel Alabaster, a pioneer that runs into trouble when he journeys across the American frontier. That same year he also traveled to space in High Life, about a father and daughter who live in space in isolation.
Last year in 2019, Pattinson landed a project that turned out to be very popular—placing his name right back into the spotlight and garnering him critical acclaim. The Lighthouse, intended to be a small indie project by director Robert Eggers which also features Willem Dafoe, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Cinematography and for a BAFTA in the same category.
“I’m kind of amazed by how it’s been received. I love the movie but I never would have thought…It’s done better than almost anything I’ve done in, like, ages, and it’s the most random movie. Knowing there’s a hunger for stuff that’s very, very strange – that’s cool! That’s the stuff I like making!”
The Lighthouse follows two lighthouse keepers (Pattinson and Dafoe) who slowly descend into madness on a lonely island. Pattinson’s dedication to getting into the role was intense, to say the least. He would punch himself in the face, make himself gag, and spin around to make himself dizzy and disoriented. With his body and mind shaken up like that, he insists, he performs his best. “I kind of wanted to somehow make it real, and one of the ways I’ve always thought makes that a little bit easier is if you shake up your physical state just before action. You end up walking into a scene having a different feeling,” Pattinson revealed. It appears that his unorthodox tactics worked, as The Lighthouse saw great success.
Another talked-about film last year was The King, a historical drama based on William Shakespeare’s Henriad play. It also featured Timothée Chalamet and received much buzz for the incredible performances by both him and Pattinson, who played The Dauphin of France.
Pattinson seems to be taking a little break from his indie films as of recent, as he is set to appear in Christopher Nolan’s (Inception, The Dark Knight, Interstellar) thriller film Tenet on July 17. Not much is known about the film except that it centers around “international espionage, time travel, and evolution.” It has been described as “Nolan’s James Bond film.” The movie will certainly propel Pattinson back into the spotlight that he has been shying away from for years, and if that isn’t enough, he’s also slated to appear in the newest Batman, arriving June 25, 2021. The Batman will act as a reboot of the Batman franchise— When we last saw the iconic character he was played by Ben Affleck in Justice League (2017). The announcement has caused mixed reactions from fans, with some expressing doubt at Pattinson’s abilities to portray a superhero, and others excited to see what he can bring to the established character. These reactions don’t upset Pattinson, who considers himself his harshest critic and is enthusiastic to be aboard such a huge project.
“I love the director, Matt Reeves, and [Batman is] a dope character. His morality is a little bit off. He’s not the golden boy, unlike almost every other comic-book character. There is a simplicity to his worldview, but where it sits is strange, which allows you to have more scope with the character,” Pattinson said.
Eager fans will have to wait until next year to see Pattinson in full glory wearing the Batsuit, but for now, prepare to catch him on the big screen in Tenet, which is set to be one of the leading blockbusters of the year.
By Selene Rivera