You may know Kristen Stewart as the charming and talented actress who played the main character in the blockbuster movie Snow White And The Huntsman. The role earned her a Golden Globe nomination, a SAG Award nomination, and an Academy Award nomination. Since then, she has played various roles in both big and small screen productions, both in front of and behind the camera. Now, she’s set to star in Cross Country, a film that premieres this month, as well as in On The Road, a film adaptation of the iconic novel by Jack Kerouac. But before all that, let’s take a trip back in time, shall we?
The Beginning Of Cross Country
The story of Cross Country begins in the 1960s, when Robert Pattinson was just a teenager. At the time, he was a bit of a troubled teen who had some rough patches in his adolescence. In his biography, Danger: My Own Story, Pattinson recalls, “I used to have quite a bit of trouble with my schoolwork. I wasn’t the brightest bulb in the pack and was often found with a book in my hand, oblivious to the world around me.” This all changed when he found religion. Soon after, he took up archery, earning himself a place on the Royal Robin Hood Squad, an organization that aimed to teach children as young as five how to shoot and hunt with perfection. In the book, Pattinson writes, “I felt a real sense of purpose and belonging. It gave me a new drive and a new passion for life. I started going out with friends more and exploring Britain’s hidden landscapes and historic buildings.”
While this was a profound shift in his life, he eventually returned to film school. There, he learned how to control light and shadow, gaining invaluable knowledge that would serve him well in the future. After a short-lived career in commercial work, he began to write and direct his own films.
Though he regularly collaborated with his “brothers” from an early age, going solo was a path that Pattinson chose for himself. Since then, he has consistently worked on his own projects, often focusing on strong, independent women, both in terms of character and theme. In an interview with The Telegraph, Pattinson said, “In some ways, the success of my filmography has been determined by my own drive to succeed and to not be afraid to show my face. I would love to work with auteurs, but I don’t want to do sequels or prequels or support movies that aren’t as good as the one I’m involved with.”
He continues: “If I’m offered a part in a big studio picture, I’ll do it, but only if it’s something I believe in.” Though he’s worked with some of the biggest directors in Hollywood, including Mike Nichols, he often chooses to opt out of those kinds of projects in favor of something more independent.
While this may seem like cold, calculated risk-taking, it’s actually a strategy that has served him well. Over the years, his solo work has garnered him critical praise and awards. Most notably, his film Pride And Prejudice earned him his first Golden Globe nomination and led to him being asked to direct many more films for the big and small screen.
Snow White And The Huntsman
Of course, no discussion of Robert Pattinson would be complete without reference to his most famous role. For those who may not know the story behind Snow White And The Huntsman, it follows the titular character, an independent and fearless young woman, who sets out to uncover Prince Charming’s true character after he spurned her affections. In the end, it is she who gets the better of the wicked queen, who threatens her and a full-grown man with a pitchfork.
Based on the fairytale, Snow White And The Huntsman wasn’t Pattinson’s first foray into the realms of fantasy. In fact, he had already starred in another film adaptation of a children’s book, Skins, which was based on the works of William Shakespeare. For those who may not know, skins in Shakespeare’s time referred to the thick, protective clothing that the upper classes wore in the 17th century. In the film, he played a skinhead, a member of a white supremacy group in London in the 1960s. In a 2006 interview with The Telegraph, Pattinson said of the role: “I enjoyed playing a part in a movie that made a point without being heavy-handed about it. It was a joy to play a role that was truthful to life in the 1960s, but I don’t think it would be something I’d want to do every day.”
He continues: “I don’t know if I’d want to go through that experience every day. I was very fortunate to have played a part in something that stood for something in the ‘60s, and I think that’s what made the experience special.” Sadly, these are the sorts of roles that younger generations may now find themselves pigeon-holed as for the most part. Yet, it’s important to recognize that there were many positives that came from the part he played in Skins. In his review of the film, Mike Hale of The New York Times wrote: “It is a pleasure to report that, thanks to Mr. Pattinson, we may finally know what ‘skins’ mean in this context.”
Building A Bridge
Pattinson’s next project, Bridge Of Spies, marks a pivotal moment in his career. Based on William Shakespeare’s play, The Taming Of The Shrew, it is the story of a rivalry that plays out on the battlefield, with the help of a pair of British agents who are instrumental in bringing about the peaceful union of a man and a woman, overcoming many obstacles, both politically and personally.
Pattinson plays Will Scarlett, a reformed rake whose adventures in the world of espionage land him in a battle against the German Imperial forces. At the end of the film, he is forced to make a choice: either allow himself to be handcuffed and deported (and lose his wife and child), or take up arms against his former best friend, Frank Tupelo (played by Tom Hardy), who has turned against the allies.
While it’s no doubt that Will and Frank’s dramatic fight, which sees them grapple with each other on the battlefield, is among the most memorable scenes from the film, it’s also important to keep in mind that it was Tom Hardy who encouraged Pattinson to take on the role in the first place. According to the director, “I was very fortunate that he saw something in me that he liked and wanted to work with.”
New York, New York
After a brief respite from the big screen, Pattinson came back with a bang, collaborating with Woody Allen on the script for Matchmakw, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Set in New York City in the early 1980s, it is the story of a young girl, Anna, who seeks refuge in the Big Apple after fleeing an arranged marriage in Africa. When she arrives, Anna is determined to make the most of this new opportunity despite the many challenges that the city presents. The film was selected by Netflix as the Irish drama series Sex Education (Season 2), premiering this month, and by the BAFTA as a potential nominee for Best International Comedy.