Forbes recently released its annual ranking of the world’s most powerful celebrities, which sees Hollywood actor Robert Pattinson rise to the top of the list with an estimated $80 million in annual earnings. The publication attributes Pattinson’s meteoric rise to his role as the male lead in the hugely successful Dark Shadows film series, which began in 2010 and followed the adventures of millionaire businessman and family man Collinwood (played by Pattinson) as he set up a home in the UK while struggling with addiction. As well as portraying a fictionalised version of himself, Pattinson co-wrote the script to Dark Shadows with Jon Appelbaum and Deborah Christian, his collaborators on the series. The actor has since been romantically linked to several high-profile women, most notably supermodel and Victoria’s Secret angel Gigi Hadid.

Possessions Of A Celebrity

Based on Walter Van Tilburg’s bestselling book of the same name, the Dark Shadows cinematic franchise follows the famous English actor, Jonathan Frons, who played the role of Barnabus Brennon in the 1971 Broadway production of Arthur Miller’s classic play, The Crucible. In the film adaptation, a contemporary version of the character, Robert Collinwood, is played by Pattinson. Although Frons didn’t appear in the series, his widow, Elinor, who played Martha Phelps in the Broadway production, provided the voice for the character. She’s now 80 years old and is considered by some to be the world’s oldest actress.

Pattinson’s Dark Roots

Pattinson was born in London on March 10, 1986. He is one of the few famous British celebrities who was actually born in the UK. His mother, Tricia Leffman, is a make-up artist who has worked on various film and television projects as well as creating costumes for famous fashion designer and activist Isabella Blow. His father, Stephen Pattinson, is an English solicitor. He was brought up in a largely non-religious household and hadn’t thought about religion much until he was in his early twenties. It was then that he started researching his family history and came across some old church records. The records showed that one of his ancestors was baptized as an infant and raised as a Christian, but that his father had subsequently taken him out of the church. When asked about his family’s religious beliefs by The Telegraph, Pattinson said:

“To be honest, I don’t know much about it. My grandma is quite religious, but my dad wasn’t really. My parents were never very forthcoming about what was going on in their lives before I was born. I think I inherited some of their coldness. I didn’t have any good experiences at all with religion. No one in my family is particularly religious – it’s a bit of a dysfunctional family when you think about it. My dad’s side of the family are very much into their own thing, and mine are pretty non-confrontational. My parents didn’t get on, so it was just the four of us in a family home with no one to depend on but each other. I was very much an only child. It was pretty awful growing up as an only child. I would happily have siblings if there was someone out there who wanted to be a part of this crazy world I live in.”

Pattinson’s younger sister, Amabel, is also a successful actress, who starred in the romantic comedy series, How to Make an American Quinoa Salad, and has featured in the Twilight films as well as the comedy series, People Funny Enough to Be King. His older sister, Rosie, has appeared in minor roles in the Harry Potter and Hunger Games franchises and also did some voice acting in the anime series, Sword Art Online. She’s now a freelance make-up artist and had a small role in the 2015 movie, Mad Max: Fury Road.

The Success Of A Multi-Billion Dollar Franchise

The Dark Shadows film series has become a multi-billion dollar franchise, thanks in part to its relatively cheap prices, which is unusual for a major Hollywood studio production. After its premiere in 2010, the series became a major success in Asia, taking in a reported 12.7 million yen in its first three days in Japan alone. Since then, it’s continued to do well, holding the 13th place position on the country’s all-time television rankings as of April 2019. In China, the franchise is known as the Barbary Coast Ghosts due to the colour palette used in the films. As well as earning a healthy sum of money, the films have also helped to raise awareness of addiction problems in the UK, which is the country of Pattinson’s birth. In 2018, Dark Shadows was the second highest grossing English-language film in the UK that year, only behind Bohemian Rhapsody. Overall, the franchise has earned over $400 million worldwide – not bad for a series of movies made for between $30,000 and $50,000.

Pattinson’s Other Endeavours

Aside from acting, Pattinson has had a diverse career that has seen him star in both comic and serious roles. He began his career in 2005, starring in the comedy series, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, as well as TV film, Paper Bullets, alongside Bruce Campbell. The actor also featured as himself in the 2008 documentary, Comedy Racer, about skateboarders who are also comedians, such as James McNeal and Christian Hoskins. In 2010, Pattinson featured as the lead in the independent film, The Debt, which premiered at the London Short Film Festival and went on to earn him a Special Jury Award. He wrote, directed and starred in the psychological thriller, High Life, which was released in cinemas in 2017. That year he also appeared in the lead role of the film adaptation of JM Barrie’s play, What Price Glory?, opposite Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes. It was a role which saw him nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Pattinson also starred in the 2013 romantic comedy, The Way, Way Back, alongside Steve Carell and Karen Gillan. The actor was a muse to artists and designers Hedi Slimani and Marc Jacobs, who have dressed him on numerous occasions, most recently for the 2019 Met Gala. For his part, Jacobs has said that he does not like dressing famous people because it feels like there’s ‘an obligation to please’. As well as designing costumes for famous faces, Slimani is known for her bold and innovative designs, which have seen her collaborate with top fashion houses, including Dior and Ralph Lauren.

Pattinson will next be seen in the upcoming sci-fi horror film, The Lullaby, alongside Angela Lansbury and Matt Battin. The movie is described as a “family horror film” and explores the “twisted fate” of a teenage girl who contracts a deadly virus while in lockdown with her family. He is also set to star in the Marvel film, The Batman, as Batman villain, Alfred Pennyworth, alongside Michael Caine, Zoe Kravitz and Alicia Vikander.