Welcome to the inaugural edition of *Spin*’s mailbag series, in which we ask celebrities to tell us all about the letters, emails, and Instagram comments they’ve received from fans — and what fans can do to make their love grow.
The series kicks off with Oscar winner Robert Pattinson, whose fandom, both real and virtual, has reached epic proportions. His upcoming films, The Favourite and Twilight spinoff Detective Edward Cullen, are set to blow up the box office, and his former band, The Twilight Clan, continues to thrive. In fact, the band’s farewell tour this year will be called The Final Tour, fitting given that they’ve decided to call it quits after more than 13 years.
As the world’s most famous vampire prepares for his 20th anniversary, we dive into his fan mail to find out more about what drives him, what makes his fans so special, and what the future holds for these characters we all love.
‘The Favourite’ Is A Prequel, But Can Anyone Actually Tell The Difference?
Before we begin, let’s establish something very important: The Favourite is not a sequel to Twilight. It’s a prequel. For those who are unfamiliar, a prequel is a story that takes place before the events of the main story. In this case, The Favourite depicts England in the year 1768, when Queen Victoria is still on the throne and Princess Caroline has just given birth to a daughter, Princess Victoria. The setting is significant because Queen Victoria would go on to have 19 more children — the famous “Queen Victoria’s Grandchildren”—and the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha would end up ruling Great Britain for more than 100 years. But none of that is revealed in the film. You’ll have to watch and find out for yourself.
‘The Favourite’ Reveals An Unexpected Passion For History
The film’s most intriguing detail is not its fantastical narrative (although that is certainly unique) but rather its setting in 1768. To put it mildly, The Favourite is an in-depth study of English history that even the most ardent fan will find fascinating. If you’re not sure where to start, the film’s opening sequence—in which we see a parade celebrating the anniversary of Queen Victoria’s ascension to the throne—is a perfect primer on twentieth-century British history. From there, the film delves into everything from the “Coburg Letter,” which revealed the first signs of Germany’s impending invasion of France, to an examination of the Great Reform Act of 1832 and its far-reaching effects.
The film also provides an in-depth look at the Houses of Windsor and Bourbon, tracing the latter’s descent from King George, the brother of George III, to King Louis XIV. It covers every aspect of court life, from the Queen’s wardrobe to her private life, as well as a historical analysis of the aristocracy. The only thing that feels slightly underwhelming is that, other than the aforementioned opening sequence, the film doesn’t spend overly much time dwelling on history. But we can’t blame the filmmakers; after all, this is a prequel. The makers of The Favourite had to cut corners to make the movie as realistic and entertaining as possible.
‘The Favourite’ Is All About The Wardrobe
One of the most fascinating aspects of The Favourite is its costume design. In an interview with Vogue, director Yorgui Bitton praised his lead actress, Emma Stone, for lending her “fame and creativity” to the costumes. Stone, for her part, noted that one of the greatest challenges was to design the costumes for the film so that they wouldn’t be too complicated to make and so that they would keep up with the more than 500 scenes that the crew had to shoot. As a result, the actress found herself regularly visiting the costume designer Alek Wek, who has worked on films such as Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to borrow whatever was necessary for the role.
That’s not to say that the Queen’s wardrobe—which is based on the famed 18th-century style of Queen Victoria—isn’t breathtaking. After all, costumes for the movie’s 18th-century setting were inspired by the designs of the day, including Queen Victoria herself. The designer Kate O’Hara, who has worked on the film and on costumes for the Harry Potter franchise, noted that the designs for the 1768 films were based on “a mixture of different styles, including Regency, Georgian, and early modern,” with a bit of Frenchified flair. As a result, Stone’s character exhibits a mixture of styles, lending the attire a more modern look that still evokes the Regency era.
Stone Is The Queen Of Self-Reflection
One of the most intriguing aspects of The Favourite is the way in which it focuses on Emma Stone as a self-starter. As the Queen’s representative in Hollywood, the director noted that he was initially inspired by the Stone family’s “self-reliance,” which he found reflected “in her strong work ethic, her love for reading, and her independence.” Noting that family was a major theme of the script, he continued, “I thought it would be interesting to see a 20-year-old girl who has to grow up fast and figure out how to be independent… Emma rose to the challenge, and I think the character development is evident in every frame.”
While we’re on the topic of figure development, let’s dwell on the topic of Robert Pattinson for a moment. During an interview with Conan O’Brien, the British actor noted that he had “always wanted to be an actor,” and went on to lament that when it comes to his career, he “isn’t the agent.” The actor has had one major victory this year: getting to play the lead in The King, a small role that he said was “the most fun [he’d had] in a while.” Still, he has been unable to land a major role in a decade. What gives?
To begin with, let’s concede that for every Tom Hanks or Daniel Day-Lewis there’s an equal and opposite character actor who occasionally gets a small part. But when it comes to the most prominent actors of their generation, there is rarely anyone standing in the way of their success. With the possible exception of Jack Nicholson (who turns 80 next week), there is no one who has been more significant in the past five years than Robert Pattinson.
First off, let’s examine why. In 2011, Robert Pattinson was arguably at the height of his powers. After nearly a decade in Hollywood, the actor was finally landing some solid roles: He had just finished shooting Saving Mr. Banks, and was about to start Eat Pray Love. But it wasn’t just his on-screen persona that made an impression: The singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran named one of his songs (yes, we’re talking about you, “Perfect”) after the Twilight actor, and the hashtag #TeamRob and #RPattz were trending worldwide on Twitter.
Then, in 2015, everything changed. After years of struggle, Robert Pattinson found himself at the center of a media firestorm when his then-girlfriend and now-wife Katy Perry called off their engagement. The media scrutiny that ensued—both real and virtual—was so intense that even Hollywood insiders struggled to understand what had happened. Was it the stress of the spotlight? Did his marriage to Ms. Perry become problematic? Was it all just a big misunderstanding?
For his part, the actor admitted that he had been having marital problems, and that the entire controversy had been “a lot of pressure.” But he also suggested that media scrutiny had played a role in his personal life as well: He noted that when he was younger, he had been much more interested in fame and fortune than in family and children, which is why he had put so much pressure on himself and his relationship with Ms. Perry. The actor went on to say that he had “always wanted a family,” and that now that he had found Ms. Perry, the priority was clear.