Sporting a new haircut, Robert Pattinson shows off his softer side in the first official photo from his upcoming film, Valerian. Inspired by French literary figure and author, Edmond Hatzilag, the Twilight star plays a version of himself in the futuristic fantasy adventure. In the film, Pattinson’s character helps an alien princess (played by Catherine Deneuve) protect her world from an aggressive race of robots.
The photo sets the stage for one of the most anticipated film releases of the year. Set for an August 28th premiere in France, Valerian has been a long time coming for Pattinson and Deneuve. The two first worked together on the 2004 film, Casanova, and since then, they’ve gone on to star in several blockbusters, including Twilight, Prada Marmiu, and Goodbye Christopher Robin. While the actor plays a grown-up in the new film, fans will recognize him as a baby-faced kid in Disney’s Saving Mr. Washbourne (2005).
In A Past Life
In Valerian, Pattinson plays Havilar, a man in a past life who finds himself in a coma due to a car crash. He awakens 400 years later to a world transformed by robotics and AI. For the first time, he’s unable to recognize his surroundings or other humans. In a twist of fate, he ends up in the body of a child, but with the mind of an adult. To help him navigate this complex world, the adult-child combination cobbles together an android named Valerian (named after the legendary French engineer, Georges Valerian).
The film is based on the French comic book series Valérian, by artist Jean-Marc Lofficiel and colorist Jean-Paul Palais. The first volume of the series was originally published in 1968 and has since then inspired several film adaptations, most recently Arnaud Despont’s 2005 film, Les Aventures de Valérian.
A Fresh Start
With the release of Valerian, Pattinson attempts to shake off the “bad boy” image that has followed him since the release of his teen angst-filled debut, Twilight. Instead, the actor opts for an “old-fashioned” haircut and a more mature look. “I went for a haircut that doesn’t hurt my neck, ‘cause last haircut really hurt my neck. It wasn’t practical for filming,” he told Vanity Fair in 2017. Perhaps in an effort to distance himself from his tabloid past, he also changed the spelling of his last name to “Patten” and deleted his social media accounts.
Back To Baby-Faced Robert
While Valerian marks a departure from the 18-year-old Pattinson’s iconic “biker” image, it is still within the boundaries of film convention. As noted by Screen Rant, “The actor is presented in his ‘classic’ baby-faced manner, which is a departure from his more ‘adult’ appearance in recent years.”
Whether he chose this haircut because of the futuristic setting of Valerian or because he feels like a “baby” again, we’ll have to wait and see. Regardless, the actor’s current haircut is a far cry from the over-the-top “Edward Scissorhands” hairdo that he sported in the ‘90s.
For now, we’ll have to make do with this stylish snapshot that marks the beginning of a brand new era for Pattinson.