Home Entertainment Robert Pattinson: the heart-throb who dared to be repellent

Robert Pattinson: the heart-throb who dared to be repellent

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At first look, it seems to be like a neatly managed film star profession path: the commencement from teen-franchise heart-throb to a starring function in a superhero flick. However Robert Pattinson’s journey from Twilight – which made him, together with co-star and someday girlfriend Kristen Stewart, one of the well-known individuals on the planet – to the newest incarnation of the nocturnal vigilante Bruce Wayne in The Batman, has been intriguingly circuitous.

He took a decade-long detour by way of arthouse and auteur cinema, by way of offbeat roles – the freaks and weirdos, the feckless and the essentially untrustworthy – earlier than he lastly circled again, by way of scene-stealing supporting performances in The King and Tenet, into the form of lead function which cements an actor’s A-list standing. It may very well be seen as a dangerous technique, however it’s one which paid off handsomely. Pattinson, who’s now 35, has honed his mercurial expertise. He isn’t just a film star, he’s a thrillingly unpredictable and daring character actor. And he has nurtured one thing that’s in brief provide in his technology of groomed and polished media-savvy contemporaries: a refreshing oddball eccentricity.

Robert Pattinson with Kristen Stewart in the Twilight Saga in 2012.
Robert Pattinson with Kristen Stewart within the Twilight Saga in 2012. {Photograph}: Summit Leisure

Pattinson discovered himself in a lucky place of economic safety post-Twilight – the broadly held trade and viewers assumption was that the security internet of Twilight earnings allowed him to pursue roles within the form of movies he watched by selection, working with the form of administrators that impressed him – equivalent to David Cronenberg, Claire Denis, Robert Eggers and the Safdie brothers. Nevertheless, in interviews which jangled with self doubt and an unusual rawness, he generally claimed that the provides of massive league roles simply weren’t materialising and, having charted a course into arthouse waters, he had successfully eliminated himself from the A-list.

This latter choice appears unlikely – you don’t simply cease being one of the bankable stars on the planet, nonetheless many bonkers black and white seagull-slaughtering indie roles you tackle (The Lighthouse) or onscreen prostate examinations you undergo (Cosmopolis).

It’s value mentioning at this level that the quirky and self-deprecating Pattinson isn’t probably the most dependable narrator of his personal life. He went by way of a section of spicing up interviews with fictional incidents: the story of witnessing an exploding clown automobile fatality throughout a traumatic childhood go to to the circus, for instance. Or the time when he claimed that he spontaneously went for a meal with a stalker in Spain, after which scared her away by being such a depressing dinner companion. Pattinson’s fabrications are skewed in direction of the surreal and nearly plausible, self-contained brief tales in miniature. It’s not for nothing that Eggers, who directed The Lighthouse, compares his oddball, deadpan sense of humour to that of the comic Andy Kaufman.

Robert Pattinson with Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in 2005.
Robert Pattinson with Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Hearth in 2005. {Photograph}: PictureLux/The Hollywood Archive/Alamy

If not on the high of the A-list, he was definitely A-list adjoining, in any other case he wouldn’t have been solid in The Batman. “It’s plain that he’s a pressure to be reckoned with,” says Cindy Tolan, one of many casting administrators of The Batman. “Robert is an unbelievable actor possessing extraordinary expertise. From his movies, The Rover, Cosmopolis after which the Safdie brothers’ Good Time, he possesses a smouldering, quiet subtlety and unbelievable method.”

However the actor we see within the bat-cowl has come a great distance since he was everybody’s favorite undead dreamboat, with a pearlescent pores and skin tone and, as Pattinson identified in an interview on the time, some major personal problems. “The extra I learn the script, the extra I hated this man, in order that’s how I performed him, as a manic-depressive who hates himself. Plus, he’s a 108-year-old virgin so he’s clearly received some points there.”

And his Twilight character Edward Cullen was not Pattinson’s solely goal. His post-Twilight profession decisions may very well be seen as a sequence of counterstrikes towards his film star standing and, within the case of Cronenberg’s acidic Hollywood satire Maps To The Stars, maybe even towards the film trade itself.

Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz, who plays Catwoman, at a special screening of The Batman in London on 23 February.
Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz, who performs Catwoman, at a particular screening of The Batman in London on 23 February. {Photograph}: Eamonn M McCormack/Getty Photographs for Warner Bros.

Different actors have had conflicted relationships with their very own bodily benefits – Brad Pitt, for instance, prefers that the topic of his seems to be stays off limits within the dialogue of his movies. However few have gone to battle towards their very own magnificence in the best way that Pattinson did. His decisions systematically dismantled his star enchantment to disclose one thing fairly extra complicated, intriguing and at occasions nearly unsavoury.

Pattinson isn’t afraid of embracing the extra repellent elements of his characters, and even his personal persona. This, in spite of everything, is an actor who began (false) rumours about his personal shampoo-dodging and questionable private hygiene. Even so, he managed to safe a profitable deal because the face of the Dior Homme scent.

In Cosmopolis, the primary of two collaborations with Cronenberg, his character, a billionaire asset supervisor, is vampiric in a method however far colder and crueller than Cullen ever was. In David Michôd’s post-apocalyptic thriller The Rover, enjoying a slow-witted outlaw, he’s hid behind enamel that look as if they’ve been borrowed from a corpse, facial tics and a sluggish method of masticating his phrases like chewing tobacco. In Good Time, his criminal on the run is slippery with panicked sweat and desperation. And in The Lighthouse, the complete gloriously deranged movie seems to be as if it reeks of rotting herring, Pattinson’s character included.

However maybe probably the most revealing of his post-Twilight ventures was Worry & Disgrace, a three-minute comedy brief movie which Pattinson wrote and starred in, displaying the actor besieged by photographers (“a gauntlet of trolls!”) and rubbernecking pedestrians as he makes an attempt to get throughout NYC to fulfill his yearning for a hotdog. It’s quirky, self-mocking and really dry in its humour. It additionally captures the remoted, disengaged high quality that makes him such an ideal match for outsider roles – of which the newest is Batman.

Raised in Barnes in west London, allegedly expelled from one prep faculty for stealing and promoting porn magazines to fellow college students, and initially extra fascinated with music as a profession than in performing, Pattinson had already tasted a level of consideration following his efficiency as Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Hearth. Lucy Bevan, the opposite casting director on The Batman, remembers: “I first met Rob when he was 17 and nonetheless at college. He was shy however had impeccable manners and was intriguing. I used to be working for the late nice Mary Selway on the time, and we solid him in his first movie.” She provides: “He nonetheless has impeccable manners.”

Even given the Potter connection, nonetheless, he was unprepared for the success of the Twilight movies. The celebrity was of the variability that required escape methods: Pattinson would swap automobiles and garments to confuse the followers and the paparazzi. It was not one thing, he mentioned on the time, to which he was notably properly suited. “I don’t assume anybody can perceive what’s taking place. You get up someday and also you’re abruptly a star … actually bizarre.

Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse in 2019.
Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse in 2019. {Photograph}: TCD/Prod.DB/Alamy

“It’s a bit of bit excessive. All my life, I’ve hated crowds. I used to be fairly a paranoid particular person anyway, so it doesn’t actually feed properly when persons are taking a look at you. I’m probably not in the best job. I don’t like having my photograph taken. I don’t like the eye.”

An actor who thrives on nervous vitality, he harnessed that innate paranoia in movies like Good Time and The Lighthouse. And it meant that he’s properly positioned to faucet into what he has described in interviews as a extra socially maladroit “weirdo” high quality in his model of Batman. “There’s a extra nihilistic slant to it … it’s type of implied that he’s had a little bit of a breakdown,” he revealed to GQ.

So what’s subsequent for Pattinson? A return to Gotham is definitely a chance, with Warner Bros rumoured to be contemplating a trilogy. However productions of this dimension are big and time-consuming. What could be excellent news for comic-book film followers is much less so for indie cinema if it takes one in all its most persistently intriguing and adventurous character actors out of circulation for a number of extra years.

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