Few stars are as in-demand as Robert Pattinson. The British actor is best known for his portrayal of moody, handsome young men. While his early roles may not be iconic, they certainly established a presence and an appeal that has only continued apace.
Pattinson began his career with bit parts and minor roles in British films. He rose to prominence after portraying the lovable rogue in the 2004 adaptation of the best-selling Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Since then, he has become a mainstay in Hollywood, appearing in prominent films such as the Twilight Saga and the upcoming film adaptation of Stephen King’s It.
Pattinson was never one to sit still for long, and he has continually proven himself to be a creative force, establishing himself as a genre creator, rather than just a cast member. We take a look at his best and worst film roles, identifying the defining characteristics of each character and how they have influenced his career.
Rise Of The Guardians
Pattinson first made a name for himself in the United Kingdom with his portrayal of the infamous, yeti-like creature in Uma Thurman’s 2007 mockumentary, The Unbirth Child. The actor reportedly spent three months in Makeleto Studios in Prague, where he learned classical ballet and tap dance. His performance as the half-human, half-animal creature was praised for its unique blend of muscle artistry and classical ballet.
Two years later, Pattinson would go on to portray the charming, yet dim Buliwick in the Will Ferrell comedy, Stranger Than Fiction. In the film, Ferrell plays twin brothers who are separated at birth. One of the brothers is a retired math teacher (played by Richard Linklater) who becomes obsessed with finding his long-lost twin. He enlists the help of a psychic (Julia Roberts) in order to find his identity.
The next year, Pattinson would show off his comedic talents as well as his acting chops in the Danny Boyle comedy, 28 Days. In the film, he plays Owen, a bank clerk who is in charge of returning loans to prisoners. On the final day of their sentence, the prisoners stage a jailbreak and Owen has to choose which of the rogues to chase after. He ultimately decides to go after the most beautiful of the bunch, played by Sienna Miller.
The Twilight Saga is undoubtedly the most famous of all Pattinson’s film roles to date. The franchise is now a major money-maker for Summit Entertainment, amassing a whopping $15.7 billion at the box office worldwide. The series follows the love story between a vampire (Edward) and a werewolf (Bella) who become embroiled in a battle for custody of their newborn child. The series was loosely adapted from Stephenie Meyer’s novel, Twilight, with the fourth installment, Breaking Dawn, earning over $100 million in its opening weekend. Breaking Dawn was also the biggest international release of 2011, pulling in over $300 million in just the first three days of its premiere. Summit has since confirmed that a fifth installment is currently in the works.
Breaking Dawn was directed by David Slade, with whom Pattinson had previously worked on the 2007 film, Four Months, Three Weeks, Two Days. According to Filmography, an online database of film information, Slade previously stated that he approached the film with a “comedic sensibility. It’s a love story, and it’s very funny in places. But it’s also a serious story, and it’s very sad in places.”
Breaking Dawn marked a significant shift in Pattinson’s career. Until this point, he had primarily played quirky, comic relief characters. His portrayal of the troubled, yet charming vampire, conflicted with what many considered to be his “boyish charm”, and it wasn’t received with universal applause. While he continued to appear in major films, critical reviews and his own confessions reveal that he was struggling with self-doubt, insecurity and a deep sense of melancholy.
Speaking of comic relief, we can’t talk about iconic British actors without mentioning the part that Monty Wooley plays in Terry Gilliam’s 2012 film, Cloud Atlas. As the name would suggest, the film is set in the future, and Monty Wooley plays a very oddball version of God, the Father-figure. In the film, he is shown wearing a hat shaped like a cloud, and he has a long, white beard. While playing God isn’t quite what most people would consider typical acting, it’s certainly an interesting role for Wooley and one that certainly sets the table for some strange creatures, strange creatures indeed.
Cloud Atlas also marked a change in direction for Pattinson, who had previously portrayed mostly likable supporting characters. Here, he plays Miles, the son of the main character, played by Bob Hoskins. In the film, Miles is a failed pop singer who is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. When Hoskins’ character decides to take him on as an apprentice, Miles jumps at the chance to find some meaning in his life. He ultimately decides to set up home with his mentor, played by John Hurt, with whom he shares a very odd, yet endearing, friendship.
Hollywood seems to have found its latest heartthrob and he doesn’t even have to audition! In fact, after a string of minor and supporting roles, Adolescente gets to cut loose a bit in Gavin Hood’s action-adventure film, The Rover. Based on a true story, the film follows a young man (Robbie) who is released from prison only to be faced with finding a wife and raising a family within a short amount of time. In an effort to avoid being “type-cast”, the young actor has reinvented himself as a rugged environmentalist and adventurer, and his unorthodox approach to wooing a potential bride has served him well, so far!
While The Rover doesn’t feature any iconic monsters or dangerous predators, it is still considered one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful, films of all time. The attention to detail in the costumes is phenomenal and even the smallest roles are packed with complex characters. It is also one of the very few films to acknowledge and support the fact that men can be effective caregivers as well as fathers.
The Amazing Spider-Man
If you’re looking for a sweet, cuddly animal sidekick, you might consider going for a Spider-Man cartoon instead. British actor Max Dunbar plays the classic wall-crawler in Richard Linklater’s 2013 animated adaptation, The Amazing Spider-Man. As the title would suggest, the film follows Spider-Man as he attempts to take on the criminal element of New York City. While the film is based on the Marvel comic book franchise, it is more like a gritty reimagining of the popular mythology. While not a perfect adaptation, it has pulled in over $500 million at the box office worldwide and is one of the most successful, if not the most successful, films based on the Spider-Man character. It also features an eclectic array of cameos from famous faces.
The Amazing Spider-Man is the best of the Spider-Man films yet, and it’s easy to see why. The combination of live-action and animation is stunning, and the script is surprisingly smart for a comedy. Max Dunbar also deserves special recognition for bringing such a memorable character to life.
While the earlier films in this list may not feature any iconic monsters, it wouldn’t be a true horror film list without including a few scary monsters. Stephen King’s It is one of the most iconic monsters of all time, and while not a perfect adaptation, it is still considered one of the greatest cinematic adaptations of all time. And, for good reason. It stars Bill Hader (Brett) as a young man who, after being sexually assaulted by a group of bullies, retreats into a fantasy world, inspired by the monsters he had always feared. While there, he encounters a group of similarly abused teens who join his war against the world, which culminates in a massive, bloody battle involving many of King’s most famous creatures.
The creative mind behind the film is undisputedly one of the greatest living screenwriters, Andy Diggle. While best known for his work on the long-running British television series, Shameless, Diggle previously admitted that he based his story on several real-life incidents he had witnessed as a child, and he even based one of the characters, Tim, on a young boy he had known in school. He also revealed that he drew inspiration from the writings of Oscar Wilde, particularly The Picture of Dorian Gray, which centers on a handsome man who becomes fascinated by the aging of a beautifully painted portrait.