There are few actors who are as beloved as Robert Pattinson and as influential as Ezra Miller. After making their debut in the 2012 film The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, the British actor and his American co-star have found mainstream success in upcoming films like The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and The Rover, and continued to thrive in the small screen with popular TV series like The Nightshade Society and The Fairest, which reunited the onscreen pair for the first time in a decade.
The actor and his collaborator have become poster children for a new generation of millennials, embodying the modern “boyfriend” as Miller described it to Vanity Fair in a 2018 interview. “We’re growing up in a new era,” he said. “People are no longer buying CDs; they’re streaming music. People are no longer going to the movies to see a film; they’re going to watch it on their phone or on a streaming platform.”
While Miller predicted that the “boyfriend” label would eventually be a thing of the past, the pop culture phenomenon that is Robert Pattinson and Ezra Miller continues to inspire a generation of fans, particularly in today’s politically charged climate. According to a recent Brand Trust Survey, 47% of respondents cited the actor and the Netflix series as their role model, and 49% cited them as influential individuals in their life.
To celebrate these influential roles, we’re looking at the best of what Robert Pattinson and Ezra Miller have to offer – from their early days in Twilight to their most recent projects.
The Early Days In Twilight
It was 2005, and 19-year-old Robert Pattinson was riding the wave of success that comes with being the son of Bill and Rosemary Pattinson, renowned English actors. Before he started appearing in Twilight, he had already nabbed lead roles in four major studio features and played a lead role in a major independent production. It was a dream come true for the young performer, who had been acting since he was 8 years old.
But it was 2005, and movies were starting to become a thing of the past. In the intervening years, the entertainment industry would go through a transitional period, with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu dominating the market, challenging the dominance of Hollywood studios.
In the wake of this digital revolution, the future of Hollywood seemed uncertain. Would audiences still flock to the big-budget, franchise-driven epics that the studios had become renowned for? Or would they opt for something smaller and more personal?
It was in this climate of uncertainty that a skinny British teenager with a bushy beard walked into Richard Curtis’ office and demanded to be cast in his new picture. Curtis, the writer and director of Four Weddings and a Funeral, had famously turned down hundreds of aspiring actors who wanted to play the title role in his 1994 movie, because he felt that the young man didn’t look like a husband.
But now Richard Curtis was at the mercy of his star, and the teen’s desire to play the lead in his directorial debut inspired Curtis to reconsider. As Curtis told The New York Times in 2018, “I was in a pickle. I didn’t want to ruin [Robert Pattinson’s] career, and I didn’t want to say no, but I didn’t know what to do. I liked him, I was impressed by him, but I didn’t know if I could trust him.”
After some tense negotiations, the young star was given the chance to prove himself and the picture was officially closed. Today, Four Weddings and a Funeral is considered a masterpiece of both documentary and romantic comedy, and the beginning of a major film career for Robert Pattinson.
Breaking Dawn – Part 2
Two years later, the “boyfriend” label would be thrust upon Robert Pattinson and his partner when they got married in an intimate ceremony (they kept the details under wraps to avoid massive media scrutiny). The couple’s first child, a son, was born in February 2010, and the paparazzi were once again front and center as the newlywed parents adjusted to their new roles as parents.
Breaking Dawn – Part 2 was the second part of the Twilight Saga film series, following 2008’s Twilight and continuing the couple’s story from where they left off at the end of the previous movie. It premiered in theaters on November 20, 2012 and was a massive box office hit. According to Box Office Mojo, the drama grossed $327 million worldwide, making it the second-biggest film in the series (not including the upcoming third installment of the saga, which is still untitled).
The movie was a critical and commercial success, garnering an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 141 reviews. The consensus reads: “Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is a satisfying sequel that maintains the heart and warmth of its predecessor.” (Forbes)
And it wouldn’t be the last time that Robert Pattinson lent his star power to a major motion picture. Just one month after the release of Breaking Dawn – Part 2, he appeared in another Curtis joint, this time teamed up with Elizabeth Taylor – played by the legendary actress in a role inspired by her friendship with Taylor’s late daughter, Elizabeth, who died in 2011 – in the upcoming Netflix adaptation of The King’s Speech. It was a rare but spectacular appearance by the British actor, who had largely maintained a low profile since the birth of his and Miller’s son in 2010.
The year 2014 proved to be a turning point in the careers of Robert Pattinson and Ezra Miller. The year before, the 24th Century Fox film division had bought the American distribution rights to the Twilight Saga films and planned to release them on a weekly basis in an effort to exploit the craze for vampire fiction that had engulfed the country. But when the studio announced that the final installment of the Twilight Saga would be distributed in IMAX theaters around the world on July 20, 2014, it was a watershed moment. Not only had the box office reception for the first three Twilight films proven that there was still an appetite for big-budget epics made by Hollywood studios, but it also marked the beginning of the end for the “Boyfriend” phenomenon that was ignited by Miller and Pattinson in 2010.
The IMAX release for Eclipse was the first time that the audience would get the opportunity to see the final installment of the Twilight Saga from start to finish. The film was a box office success, bringing in $60.5 million in the United States and Canada during its first weekend alone, according to Box Office Mojo. But more importantly, it was the first time that audiences would get to see a full-length film crafted by Richard Curtis, the acclaimed British director of Four Weddings and a Funeral, who took his time polishing a draft of the screenplay for weeks, even months, before finally sharing it with the world. (In his 2017 book, Curtis cited The Devil Wears Prada as his “favorite read” and credited its scriptwriter, David Frankel, with inspiring the story.)
Unlike the theatrical release of Breaking Dawn – Part 2, which was plagued by early negative reviews (the film currently has a 45% rating on Rotten Tomatoes), Eclipse received positive feedback, with many critics heralding it as a masterpiece.
Less than a year after the release of Twilight in 2008, it was announced that production had begun on the follow-up, which was released in December 2010 and was again directed by Curtis. The film continues the story of Rick (played by Harrison Ford), a widower, whose alcoholic twin brother, Frank (played by Paul Walter Hauser), returned from the grave 19 years after his death to seek revenge. As the name would suggest, The Rover was an action-adventure film, but with a darker sensibility than its predecessor.
The film was a critical success and received a largely positive reception from audiences. It currently holds a 76% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 87 reviews, with the critical consensus reading: “The Rover doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does offer something fresh and interesting in a genre that has grown a bit stagnant.” (Forbes)