I have to admit, I’m a total Twigs (Robert Pattinson) buff. The British actor rose to fame on the back of his brilliant performance in the Twilight saga, but he’s proven to be a talent in more than just one role. While filming on the indie comic book darling, X-Men: Days of Future Past, we got to see a whole side of Twigs that we’d never really gotten a chance to see before, particularly on-screen. Twigs was born in London in 1982 and grew up in the countryside, attending Oxford University, majoring in French literature and philosophy. Along with the rest of the world, Twigs was captivated by Edward Cullen’s (Robert Pattinson) rise to (relative) fame and fortune in Twilight, which was released in 2010. In 2013, Twigs landed one of the lead roles in the critically-acclaimed movie, On Chesil Beach, which followed a newlywed couple’s journey in the aftermath of World War II. The film examines love and loss, regret and forgiveness, all while exploring the beauty and melancholy of the English countryside. Twigs’ latest film, The Lost City, opens in theaters today, August 24th, and I’m fortunate enough to be able to give you some insider insight on what to expect from this latest cinematic masterpiece from Robert Pattinson.
The Making Of “The Lost City”
Every bit the cosmopolitan cosmopolite, Robert Pattinson was born and raised in England, but has spent most of his life traveling the world and expanding his circle of friends and acquaintances. The British actor has proven to be a bit of a Renaissance man, studying drama at Cambridge and then moving to London to further his career. He’s since appeared in a number of high-profile movies, both in the UK and across the pond (he’s even been nominated for an Academy Award). It wasn’t until 2010 that he would finally land the role that made him famous: the male lead in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. An adaptation of the best-selling young adult novel by Stephanie Meyer, Twilight is about sixteen-year-old Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), who moves to live with her aunt and uncle in Forks, Washington, after her mother leaves her father. There, she meets the handsome and brooding Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), and eventually, his four children, who range in age from 10 to 26. Their lives are forever changed when Bella falls under the magical and domineering influence of a local werewolf, Jacob (Taylor Lautner). What originally began as an attempt to bring Meyer’s wildly popular book to the big screen ended up being one of the most successful film sagas of all time, earning over $680 million and becoming one of the most recognizable film franchises of all time. What’s more is it spawned a successful musical series and a line of clothing, all of which Pattinson has graciously allowed us to use on this website. Most recently, we were given the opportunity to see Pattinson’s exquisite acting skills in a whole new light as he played a totally different character in the upcoming James Bond film, Spectre. We’ll get to that in a bit.
Twigs’ Personal Journey
When it comes to adapting literature for the screen, there are often unexpected difficulties. Take, for instance, William Goldman’s The Princess Bride, one of the most acclaimed (and beloved) stories of all time. The Princess Bride was first published in 1973 and tells the story of a young woman who agrees to marry a man she doesn’t love in order to keep her country (in this case, the United Kingdom) safe from a potential communist takeover. During the story’s arduous journey from page to screen, the filmmakers had to contend with a variety of legal wranglings, a lengthy pre-production period, and countless changes to the story, including the outright deletion of a significant portion of Goldman’s original draft. Thankfully, these problems were all solved, and The Princess Bride was released in December 1987 to critical acclaim and box office success, becoming one of the highest-grossing movies of all time, not to mention one of the most popular films of all time. It’s safe to say that Goldman’s novel has become an even greater favorite of moviegoers since its release. One of the reasons why the story remains so beloved is because of the nuanced and endearing portrayal of the titular character, Princess Bride. In his review of the movie, Roger Ebert noted, “When we are with the Princess, we feel we could be with her for a whole day, because she is so intelligent and interesting. And when she is with her beau [Falk], we like them both, but he is more of a brother to her.” This empathy toward the titular character is what makes the Princess Bride such an endearing film, inspiring countless TV and movie adaptations, including the 1991 animated classic, Bill & Ted’s Adventures in Paradise. Another literary adaptation that continues to hold up well over 40 years after its release is L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, another story that has endured the test of time as a powerful testament to the magic of cinema and storytelling.
The World According To Twigs
Before we get into the meat of this article, allow me to share with you some of my favorite quotes (and I hope, quotes from yours as well) from Twigs:
“The only way to find out what kind of person you really are is by standing up and doing something about it. That’s what I’ve done with my life. I’ve stood up, and I’ve done something about it.”
“[…] a life is like a library. It’s been well stocked with books and filled with stories since before you were born.”
“You have to do what you can as an individual, not what they tell you to do. If you can find your own voice, use it to challenge the world.”
Back To The Future: A Comparison
One of the interesting things about Twilight is that it was originally meant to be a small, personal story about Edward Cullen and Bella Swan’s experiences as newlyweds. However, with the unexpected worldwide success of Twilight, Meyer’s little novella became a cultural phenomenon, inspiring passionate fan communities, lavish merchandise sales, and, ultimately, a whole host of feature-length films and television shows. One of the most influential films of all time, George Lucas’s 1977 masterpiece, Alien, had a major influence on the making of Twilight, as writer-director Stephenie Meyer acknowledges in the commentary track for the Special Edition DVD.
Meyer and Lucas were both big fans of Richard Matheson’s book, I Am Legend, which was inspired by the comic books of the day and the popular television show, The Twilight Zone. The difference was that I Am Legend is told from the perspective of a man living in a post-apocalyptic world, where zombies (or, rather, ghouls) have taken over and the survivors are trying to make their way through an unpeopled world full of decay and monsters. This aspect of the book served as a major inspiration for Twilight, which, in turn, would influence many of the other films in this list. One of the most interesting things about I Am Legend and the many literary and cinematic descendants that followed is that all of them managed to maintain a strong sense of individuality, even in a world where most people have lost that sense of identity. This uniqueness is something that continues to make the stories and characters of these movies and shows so special, which is why we’ve decided to include them on this list.
Back To The Future: A Celebration
As we’ve established, George Lucas was a big inspiration behind the making of Twilight, and it was actually a chance meeting between the two that would inspire them to work together. In 1974, a year before the premiere of Alien, George Lucas was approached by Richard Matheson, who had published a collection of short stories, I Am Legend, which told the story of a man living in a world overrun by zombies. The two men had never met nor even spoken on the phone, but they shared a similar love for all things science fiction and horror, and their mutual friend, Steve Bochco, who would go on to create the hit series, The Nightstalker, was instrumental in getting their partnership off the ground. The result of their meeting was perhaps the most influential science fiction/horror crossover of all time, an extraordinary homage to two of cinema’s greatest champions.
In honor of Alien’s 40th anniversary this year, a major exhibition was curated by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to showcase the work of this influential filmmaking duo. Titled “George Lucas and Richard Matheson: Building a Universe,” the exhibition features some of the most iconic costumes and sets from the movies, as well as artwork, photographs, and personal correspondence from the creators themselves.