Most people know the story of Robert Pattinson—the English actor who portrayed the vampire, Edward Cullen, in the blockbuster movies Twilight and its sequels. But did you know that before landing the role of Edward, Pattinson had some pretty high-profile guest roles that you might’ve seen? Here’s a list of some of his most memorable roles before Twilight and The Twilight Saga:
In 2007, Pattinson had a small yet memorable role in the movie Montauk. The movie tells the story of two artists (played by Pitt and Seberg) who set up studio in the Hamptons and fall in love with the same woman (played by Radcliffe). The roles of the artists and their wives were later recapped in The Favourite, a YA comedy-drama that was released in 2018.
Another small role before Twilight was in the 2011 movie The Rover, which also starred George Clooney. Set in the 1920s, the film is about a man who drives a truck for a living and becomes obsessed with the idea of owning his own truck. In the end, he buys one and turns it into a mobile studio.
The Rum Diary
In 2012, Pattinson starred in the Palme d’Or-winning movie The Rum Diary. Here, the English actor plays journalist William Randolph “Bunny” Weston, who travels to the Caribbean to investigate rum for a British magazine. Along the way, he gets tangled up in the region’s violent rum trade and the investigation takes a dangerous turn. One of the greatest historical dramas of all time, the movie is based on the 1966 novel Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson, which in turn is based on his own experiences covering the rum industry in the 1950s and ’60s.
The Great Gatsby
In 2013, Pattinson took on a recurring role in The Great Gatsby, a 2013 TV adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel of the same name. Here, he plays John Gatsby, the wealthy man who hatches an elaborate plan to marry Daisy (Mia Wasikowska), the beautiful heiress. The plan backfires when Nick (Tobey Mcconaughey, whom Gatsby adopts as his son) falls in love with Daisy instead. In one of the most memorable scenes from the movie, Gatsby takes Nick on a boat ride on the Bay of Naples so they can have a private conversation. The boat is rocking gently back and forth as they talk, and Nick keeps looking over at Daisy as she sits in the stern, seemingly absorbed in her own thoughts. The mood on the boat is so dreamy that it feels more like a painting than a real-life scenario. For more on this phenomenal film, be sure to check out our The Great Gatsby review.
The Lost Weekend
In 2015, Pattinson came back with a vengeance with an exceptional performance in The Lost Weekend. The movie is based on the acclaimed play of the same name by John Banghan, which tells the story of a reckless man (Pattinson) who has a nervous breakdown and goes on a killing spree. While the story is rooted in fact, the film takes a few creative liberties; for example, it changes the spelling of the character’s name from ‘Ralph’ to ‘Rob’. The English actor plays a Harvard student who goes on a drinking binge following the death of his rich aunt and uncle. When he attempts to break his drinking habit, he finds himself spiraling deeper and deeper into alcoholism. At one point, he even considers suicide. Thankfully, he chooses life and tries to put his tragic past behind him. As in The Rover, the English actor faces a truckload of responsibility with this role, since it’s pretty much his own story. For more on this exceptional movie, check out our The Lost Weekend review.
In 2016, Pattinson took on the daunting task of portraying a British mining tycoon in Cosmo Canyon, a biopic about the real-life Scottish entrepreneur, Robert Fortune. The film explores the life of the man who became known as the “King of the Kippers” and founded one of the biggest canned food manufacturers in Great Britain. The character, Robert Fortune, was based on the life of Irish-born Scottish businessman Robert McCrum, who created the Fortune cookie in the late 1800s. The film also stars Downton Abbey’s Elizabeth McCrum, who plays Fortune’s mistress and eventual wife. The relationship between Elizabeth and Fortune is explored in depth in the film, which also features extensive archive footage of McCrum and Fortune during this time period. For more on this impressive drama, check out our Cosmo Canyon review.
If you liked the sound of any of these roles, be sure to check out the work of the Academy Award-nominated actor, who has worked steadily since Twilight, both on-screen and off.