You wake up one day, and a movie called The Hardest Man in Hollywood comes onto your radar. What is this?, you may ask. Allow us to introduce you to R. Pattinson, the hardest man in Hollywood.
The Hardest Man In Hollywood
The film sees Robert Pattinson playing Jackson Storm, a rich, spoiled, and narcissistic American playboy. To gain revenge on the world, he sets out to make as much money as he can, without a care in the world. This entails him buying up properties, and living in a grand, grand lifestyle.
The trouble is, he has a heart condition, and this makes him all the more dangerous. Should he suffer a heart attack or stroke while in this altered state, the damage could be severe. To compound matters further, Storm is completely self-sufficient and doesn’t require medical attention. Simply put, he is the most dangerous man in Hollywood.
The Making Of R. Pattinson
The film was primarily shot in Los Angeles, and was directed by Michael Curtiz, who you may recognize from such films as Casablanca and The Great Gatsby. In a 2005 interview with Total Film, Curtiz spoke about working with Pattinson. He said:
“He is a complex character, hard to understand, and definitely not like anyone I have ever met before. If there is any weakness in his personality, it is that he trusts too much in his looks and his charm. I don’t think he sees the reality of life very clearly, and he gets hurt quite easily.”
Indeed, much of the movie focuses on Storm’s romantic travails. He has an on-and-off relationship with a co-star, played by Lily Collins. He also strikes up a friendship with another man, who he invites to be part of his elaborate games. The friendship slowly turns to something more, as Storm shows the man the ropes of his grand lifestyle. The two film’s most interesting and revealing scenes involve Storm inviting the man into his personal circle of friends. These scenes reveal a great deal about the character, and show that he is a very human being, with a heart, and fears, and weaknesses just like the rest of us.
In one scene, Storm invites his friend to be the best man at his wedding to Collins. In another, Storm asks the man to be a shoulder to cry on, when his ex-wife shows up and steals his children. These are the types of scenes that make you realize: this is a very complex, very damaged man. We shouldn’t forget that. And yet, at the same time, we need to remember that this is a man whose heart is in the right place.
So, this is a man who is driven by vengeance, and yet, we are rooting for him, because this is a man who has a good heart. Not that it’s easy to figure out what’s going on inside Storm’s head. His dialogue is filled with innuendoes, and he has a very strange relationship with his bodyguard, who clearly thinks the world of him, and yet, doesn’t quite know how to act around him, or, indeed, whether he should be protecting him or killing him. It’s a strange feeling, watching someone so utterly consumed by revenge that they don’t see the reality of what they are doing.
Classic Cinema Archetypes
The films of the 1930s and ‘40s were known for their grand spectacles and self-congratulatory style. This was most notably brought to light in the great French film critic Andre Bazin’s 1952 book, What Is Cinema?, which examines classic cinema from a philosophical and theoretical standpoint. What Is Cinema? was originally published in English in 1952 as The Essence of Cinema. Many of the essays within are worth re-reading today, as they hold up remarkably well over half a century later.
According to Bazin, classic cinema is essentially a “spectacle of strength”. It glorifies masculine virtues like courage, determination, and willpower, and often presents characters who are so unlike us, that they seem almost superhuman. This could explain why the films of the classic era have continued to resonate with audiences, and continue to be made, even when modern culture has moved on, and more often than not, the protagonist of a classic film will still be the hardest, the strongest, the most self-sufficient man in the scene. We recognize these qualities in R. Pattinson’s character, Jackson Storm.
In any case, regardless of whether you agree with the theory, or not, the fact remains that R. Pattinson is one of the hardest men in Hollywood. In fact, many of us will be familiar with the phrase, “that man is a hard worker”, which, while it may not originate from film criticism, has certainly been used to describe him and his acting style. In another interview with Total Film, Curtiz discussed Storm, and described his acting technique:
“To play a man like that, you need to forget about the camera and concentrate on what’s in front of you — your characters, your instincts, and your emotions. The only way to reveal that inner strength is through your body language, and his is so compelling that it makes you forget about everything around you.”
Indeed, there are plenty of hard-working men in Hollywood, but they don’t often present themselves in quite the same fashion as Rainhard. And there’s a reason for that. This is a man who believes he’s entitled to more than his share, and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants. This is a man who will not be held back by any conventional wisdom, or by the standards of common decency, as he is quite clearly aware that he’s doing something wrong.
Storm’s Love For Film
As you might imagine, a man who is so set on self-actualization that he spends his days acquiring money and properties, doesn’t have a lot of time for hobbies. Fortunately for us, Curtiz had another passion, which was film. He grew up watching movies at a time when they were either a treat or a duty, and he continued to be captivated by them throughout his career. His last film, Casablanca, which he produced and directed, is often cited as one of the greatest examples of classic cinema. It’s a romantic comedy which focuses on the emotional bonds between people and their ability to overcome adversity.
In his book, What Is Cinema? Bazin describes Casablanca as a film which “forgets everything around it, and becomes the arena for pure spectacle and emotion”. He continues:
“The director’s great moment occurs when, at the end of the film, the hero discovers that his love interest has turned against him and led the police to arrest him. At that moment, Curtiz stops the action, focuses on the girl’s face, and says, ‘If only for a minute, forget everything around you and just look into each other’s eyes. That’s all I want from this film.’ And the spectator has the same feeling: that’s all we want from this film, too.”
Curtiz passed away in 1991, at the age of 92, but his legacy lives on, in films such as The Hardest Man in Hollywood, and the many classics which he helped bring to life.