I think we can all agree that Robert Pattinson is one of the sexiest men alive, likewise many would rank him at the top of their favorite actor list. But is he still the real Rooster Cullen?
The answer is yes, as long as you haven’t fallen in love with his acting, of course. But as a fan of both the Twilight and New Moon franchises, I couldn’t help but wonder if Pattinson had somehow managed to transform himself into the perfect vampire, or werewolf, or both.
To answer that question, let’s explore how he has changed as a person since the beginning of his acting career in 2003, and how those changes have translated into his acting.
A Rising Actor
Pattinson got his start in the industry as the lead in the critically-acclaimed drama, The Rover. Directed by James Marsh, it was a tale of a young man’s journey of self-discovery – a coming of age story set against the backdrop of the Yorkshire countryside. His performance as Jimmy Mould, a young man who has just graduated from university and is struggling to find his place in the world, won him many admirers and made him a recognizable face in the industry. Since then, he has gone on to appear in memorable films such as My Own Private Idaho, Fight Club, Water for Elephants, and The Lost City, as well as notable TV shows such as the aforementioned Game of Thrones and Orphan Black.
A Changed Actor
While some may argue that his on-screen persona hasn’t changed much over the years, I beg to differ. With each new role he has played, Pattinson has proven himself to be a versatile actor and one able to convey a wide range of emotions and sensations with his performances.
The first step in this transformation was Cobweb, a character he played in the 2008 psychological thriller, Fish Tank. The movie follows a young woman’s (Amber Tamblyn) journey to uncover the true identity of her unborn child’s father, played by Pattinson. The result is a strange and riveting mixture of The Sixth Sense and Rosemary’s Baby – though one reviewer described it as “a complete and utter mess,” I thought it was quite original and daring for its day. Regardless of whether you liked the film or not, it’s hard to deny that Cobweb, with his blend of charm and menace, was an altogether unique and memorable character. He went on to play a crucial role in the horror anthology, A Tale of Two Sisters, and then returned to the big-budget realm with Christopher Nolan’s epic war film, Dunkirk. In both of these films, he displayed an excellent mix of vulnerability and resolve – bringing to life a wide array of complex characters while never quite losing his charisma.
A Vampire And Wolf Combined
Although he started out acting purely as a man, Pattinson has since explored, and in some cases, transformed himself into, quite a variety of creatures. In 2009 he played the lead in the vampire movie, Vicky Bliss, and in doing so managed to subvert our assumptions about bloodsuckers, as he doesn’t drink blood and doesn’t turn into a bat or a wolf. That same year he had the chance to play a dual role as Mr. Yarborough and the titular Werewolf in the British thriller Wolfman, based on the Old German Werewolf Tale. In both cases, he managed to blend his on-screen persona with his transformed form without ever quite losing his charisma – even if the character of Mr. Yarborough is a bit of a douche.
A Renaissance Man
Pattinson’s portrayal of the dashing and debonair Charlie Wesker in 2012’s The Lost City was a complete contrast to his previous cinematic interpretations. The character he played in this film, Michael Scofield, is an amoral free spirit who befriends a tribal chief (Daffy Dillinger) and aids in his quest for the truth behind the mysterious deaths of his family. In one scene, Scofield helps the chief dress for a masked ball – an acting exercise that allowed Pattinson to showcase his comedic talents and also showed that even “bad” characters can have moments of levity.
Pattinson was offered the chance to play the iconic role of Edward Cullen in the Twilight Saga, and although he initially turned it down, he later changed his mind. His portrayal of the reformed bad boy who falls in love with a human girl and turns her into his own personal vampire servant, won him rave reviews and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Later came the opportunity to play the title role in the 2014 British romantic black comedy Three Doors Down, and finally, the chance to portray the iconic werewolf, Jack London, in 2016’s The Witch – all of which have helped cement his status as one of the industry’s most in-demand leading men.
While I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Pattinson playing another “bad boy” role in the future, it seems clear that he has moved away from that archetype and closer to Johnny Depp’s characterization of Barnabas Collins in the Dark Shadows movie (1971). Like Collins, Pattinson plays a character whose outward appearance belies his true nature, a complex and interesting character whose various attitudes and behaviors make him a memorable presence on screen.
Whether you enjoy his performances or not, it’s hard not to be reminded of the actor’s incredible range whenever you see him on screen. As a lover of both the Twilight and New Moon movies, I for one, am grateful for Pattinson’s continual evolution as an actor – a cinematic renaissance man if you will – and couldn’t help but wonder if he had somehow managed to perfect his craft, or if this is just another fluke of good timing and lucky guesses.