Jack Whitehall is a character actor best known for portraying a wide variety of roles in films and on TV. He has had numerous roles in major Hollywood films such as The Martian, The Prestige, Tricky Business, and The Great Gatsby, not to mention smaller roles in movies such as The Shape of Water and A Rainy Day in London. He has also appeared in several shows, including House of Cards, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Sex Tape. In addition to acting, Whitehall is a singer, songwriter, and poet. The English singer and songwriter Robert Pattinson is best known for his role as the malevolent Edward Cullen in the Twilight Saga and the subsequent films in the franchise. The two men have not always worked together, with Pattinson previously having starred in the film Beautiful People alongside Lily Collins and Whitehall having portrayed the father in Love & Marriage. However, the two have starred in a number of films and TV shows together. Here, we’ll explore the history of their collaboration.
Jack Whitehall was born in 1948 in London, England, to an actress mother and a father who was a jazz singer. He has one sibling, a sister. He is a descendant of the British royalty and nobility. After graduating from Highbury School, Whitehall briefly attended the London School of Economics. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Workshop. He married his first wife, Marjorie Merriweather, in 1970 and had two children with her, Jack and Kit. They remained married until Whitehall’s death in 2008. He is also the father of Penny and Jimmy, who are from his previous marriage to singer Pattie Boyd. It was reported in 2016 that he had been in a long-term relationship with makeup artist Zoe Kabza. The two have collaborated on many projects and have been romantically involved since 2015.
Robert Pattinson was born in July 1985 in London, England, to film director and producer Michael Pattinson and screenwriter Roslyn Pattinson. An only child, he had two younger sisters. He grew up in London and in the South of France, where his family owned a vacation home. Pattinson attended the London School of Economics and began his acting career in 2010. His big break came when he was cast as Edward Cullen, malevolent “bad boy” of the Twilight Saga. Soon after, he starred in the film adaptation of Emily Brightwing, released in autumn 2016. Since then, he has been busy working on numerous movie and TV projects, including several high-profile appearances on this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
The Early Nineties
While in London in the early 1990s, Whitehall became acquainted with Pattinson, who had arrived a few years earlier. The two had already appeared together in British cinema in 1992’s A Dangerous Method, which was an adaptation of Iain Banks’s sci-fi novel The Business of Dreams. Whitehall later recalled that the two had not necessarily been friends at first but had begun working together during the shoot, a process which he described as “natural and easy” and admitted was “one of the best things that ever happened to me”. Around this time, Whitehall also starred alongside Kirsten Dunst in a romantic comedy, Shortcut to Happiness.
Pattinson became a household name with the release of Twilight in 2005. Since then, the film star has been in demand, appearing in movies such as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Now You See Me, and The Rover. He has also been active in the music world, collaborating with Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig on an album titled Tanline, touring with bands including the Rolling Stones and Muse, and performing at the Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals.
The two made their film debut together in 2008’s Oliver Twist. They then collaborated on a stage play titled Disordered, which marked Pattinson’s first foray into the dramatic realm. The play was an adaptation of Wilkie Collins’s 1875 novel The Moonstone, focusing on the relationship between Esther Summerson and Oliver Twist. It was performed at London’s Royal National Theatre and starred Gaby Hélin as Esther Summerson and Robert Pattinson as Oliver Twist. In 2010, they starred in the historical drama A Dangerous Method, which was based on the 1991 Ken Russell-directed film of the same name. Russell originally wanted Richard Simmons to play the malevolent Professor Robert Edward Hughes, but when he could not commit to the role, he chose to go with Pattinson instead.
The Great Gatsby
Whitehall subsequently had a role in the 2012 film adaptation of The Great Gatsby, directed by Baz Luhrmann. In the film, he played Senator William Sloane, who confronts the protagonists of the story, Nick and Daisy, over their affair. The film was generally well-received by critics, with many complimenting Whitehall’s performance. When asked if he would do another film with Luhrmann, Whitehall replied, “I’m always up for a challenge.”
In 2013, it was announced that Jack Whitehall would be one of the honored guests at the 25th anniversary celebration of the Church of Satan. The actor was to speak on the panel “The Future of Comedy” alongside such luminaries as Patton Oswalt and Adam Sandler. He was also one of several special guests at the annual Church of Satan convention in September 2013. That same year, Whitehall portrayed John Keats in George Mann’s biopic, Keats, about the English Romantic poet. Mann previously stated that he had cast Whitehall as Keats because the actor is “technically magnificent” and could portray the poet with appropriate sensitivity.
In 2015, it was reported that Jack Whitehall had been cast in the film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining. He would play Dr. Jack Torrance, who is brought in to treat the malevolent Colorado hotel manager with an abnormal interest in ghosts. On set visitations from King, Kubrick, and the actual managers of the Overlook Hotel, Whitehall observed that the set was “incredibly scary” and that the atmosphere was “intimidating”. He added that he was “very excited” to be a part of the film and that he hoped it would be “as scary as the books”.
In February 2016, it was announced that Jack Whitehall had been cast as Charles Fort, an explorer who ventures to the planet Mars and becomes stranded there. The Martian, Ridley Scott’s film adaptation of Andy Weir’s novel, was released in October 2016. It is the story of an astronaut (Matt Damon) who is presumed dead after his mission goes terribly wrong and is forced to make a survivalist choice between committing suicide or facing unknown risks on a planet he does not understand. While at first glance, Whitehall’s role might seem to have little to do with that of an explorer, the actor stressed in an interview that his character is actually a “really interesting combination of everything”. Whitehall praised the book and its characters, saying “Weir completely surprised us. In a good way.” He continued, “The whole writing process for The Martian was unique and I particularly enjoyed that. Weir has managed to capture the spirit of early 20th-century exploration with all its danger and romance.” Whitehall also noted that he based his performance on several explorers from the era, including Roald Dunning, who was one of the first people to explore the Arctic Circle and was a friend of Scott’s grandfather, Alfred.
Before the year was out, Whitehall and Pattinson were back to back again with another collaboration, this time in the historical drama Gods of Egypt. They starred as the Egyptian gods Horus and Ra, respectively, who must fight to the death to determine the true ruler of Ancient Egypt. Whitehall and Pattinson also worked together on the screenplay for the film, adapting the original novel by Eleanor Harris. The film is an adaptation of a 1981 television miniseries of the same name.
In the same year, Whitehall was in talks to star in the film adaptation of the acclaimed Young Adult novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain. He would play the part of Mike O’Malley, a retired NYPD detective who is trying to solve a 30-year-old case involving his one true love, Sarah, who has been declared dead. The novel was published in 2014 and stars Emma Watson and Katherine Waterston. Filming was expected to begin late in 2017.