Robert Pattinson is an English actor who rose to fame after portraying the romantic lead in the 2012 blockbuster, The Vampire Chronicles. Since then, he has successfully transitioned into more heroic and action-packed roles, cementing himself as one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars.
Pattinson took some time out of his busy schedule to reflect on his favorite movies, revealing which titles he feels deserve to be revived and which deserve to be left in the past. Interestingly, he reveals that he initially struggled with his role in Zack and Miri Make a Porno, which he feels does not live up to the epic scale of his other work.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The first of his top picks is The Hobbit, the prequel to Lord of the Rings, based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. The movie was a box office hit and established Peter Jackson as a master of adapting novels into movie epics. In fact, The Hobbit is often cited as the reason why Hollywood went from being in the grips of a major financial crisis to becoming one of the most lucrative and respected industries in the world. Jackson’s epic scale and cinematic innovations, combined with Middle Earth’s gorgeous landscapes and sumptuous costumes, made a lasting impression on Pattinson.
“I remember when it first came out, I was in New York, and I went to see it, and I was really moved by it,” says Pattinson. “I think the fact that it’s a prequel, it’s a chance to kind of see things from a different perspective and get to know a new group of characters, which is what I loved about it.”
The second movie on the list is Django Unchained, a second collaboration between the two-time Oscar winner and his long-time creative collaborator Ridley Scott. It is the story of a German businessman who buys a kidnapped African-American woman in Texas and brings her back to his plantation in Mississippi, where he intends to train her to be his house slave. This sets in motion a series of events that results in a bloody war between the two sides. Django Unchained won several Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for its star, Daniel Day-Lewis, proving that a Western could again prove to be the savior of Hollywood.
“I love the fact that it’s got an African-American lead,” says Pattinson. “I think it’s wonderful that this kind of story could be told from a different perspective. I love Daniel Day-Lewis’ work, and I think that his performance is something to behold. He is such an incredible actor, and watching him put that performance into it, it was just incredible. I think it will be interesting for people to see how a different culture will look at the events that unfolded in Texas at the time.”
The third pick is Robin Hood, a faithful adaptation of the legendary swashbuckler tale. The movie is notable for its stunning visuals and for its introduction to the world of computer-generated imagery, or CGI. It received multiple Academy Awards, winning for Best Art Direction, Cinematography, and Song, “Dance With Me,” which won Best Original Song. This is followed by two more wins for Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction. It is a must-see for any fan of the dark and rich legend that is Robin Hood.
“I love it when they re-imagined the character and gave him a 21st century makeover,” explains Pattinson. “It’s interesting because usually when you’re talking about these kinds of films, they’re usually either made in the ’70s or ’80s, but this one feels like it could have been made today. I think that’s what really drew me in, the fact that it felt contemporary, even though it is set in the 13th century.”
Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome
The final selection on our list is Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, the third installment in the popular franchise, this time taking place in a post-apocalyptic world. The protagonist, Furio, is a former professional hockey player who now works as a scavenger, searching for food and supplies in the chaotic streets of the broken-down city of Junktown. Max Schade, a ruthless criminal mastermind known as “the mayor,” sees the sport as a way to restore order in his city. Max Schade’s interest in Furio leads him to kidnap the young man’s pregnant wife, setting in motion a series of events that will force Furio to fight for his freedom.
“I love the fact that it’s got a bit of humor in it,” says Pattinson. “But it’s really heavy too. I think the fact that it’s got a bit of a lighter tone to it is what makes it different from the other movies on this list. In the other movies, it’s pretty bloody so it’s kind of nice to see that there’s a bit of a levity to it.”
While there is no denying that Peter Jackson and his team at Weta won the battle for Middle Earth, it’s important to note that these are not entirely happy years for the New Zealand-born director. After completing the monumental task of adapting Tolkien’s sprawling fantasy epic, Jackson found himself at the unfortunate center of a plagiarism storm, as it was later revealed that he had essentially ripped off the work of another director. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Jackson recounted how he felt when he found out that the books he so adored were not actually his own invention. “When I found out that [Tolkien’s] stories weren’t original… when I found out that he actually lifted passages from other books and pastiches, I felt dirty,” he said. “It was a horrible thing to discover. It was like being betrayed by someone you love and trust.” (Watch the clip from Oprah’s interview with Peter Jackson below.)
Whether or not you believe Jackson’s version of events or think he was just protecting his own work, one thing is for sure: The Lord of the Rings trilogy changed Hollywood. Before The Hobbit, there was no one quite like Peter Jackson. This is an incredible achievement for which Jackson and his team should be very proud.