Is Robert Pattinson the next generation’s answer to the British royals?
The 25-year-old actor, who recently split from his Hollywood wife, was born Prince Robert Axel Andersson in London. He later adopted the stage name of Robert Pattinson following the breakup of his first marriage to music superstar and actress Kate Winslet. Since then, he has been dubbed “the English Bob” and “the Next Gen. King Richard.”
With his fair hair, piercing blue eyes, and sculptured cheekbones, the British-born actor has been compared to a young James Dean and a younger Leonardo DiCaprio. He has also been dubbed “the English Marlon Brando,” which he seems to embrace.
In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Pattinson was asked whether he feels like the next generation’s answer to the British royals. He responded, “I don’t really think about it too much. I think about what I want to do and how I want to approach things. I don’t really pay much attention to what other people think.”
Yet, as he enters the most profitable and influential decade of his life, what will the multi-talented actor do for an encore? He seems to want to keep the good fortune coming by continuing to work hard and inspiring others to do the same. From a young age, he was given a regular voice role in an English school play and then followed that up by landing supporting roles in critically acclaimed films like The Rover, Win Win, and The Imitation Game – the last two with director Christopher Nolan. Last year, he made his Broadway debut in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Last July, Pattinson was ranked #6 on Forbes list of the world’s richest actors following his lucrative turn in the upcoming David O. Russell comedy-drama The Joy of Life. He is also one of the highest paid leading men of 2015, having collected $12 million for the lead in the new Gus Van Sant-directed film Promised Land. In early 2016, he will appear in Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World, which is set to be another major box office draw.
In addition to acting, Pattinson is known for his fashion choices. He is a devoted collector of vintage clothes and a regular wearer of vintage attire. Many of his favorite designers include Yves St. Laurent, Christian Dior, and Balenciaga, the last two of which he has worn on the red carpet numerous times.
He has also been a regular participant in the annual amFAR Gala red-carpet event which raises money for AIDS research. (The actor is often spotted wearing a tuxedo along with his designer suit.) In 2015, he teamed up with AmfAR to launch the #MyHIV in 2015 movement, which encourages people to use their platform to “spark action, awareness, and support” around HIV. (Pattinson is pictured above left with his arm around AIDS activist and lawyer Gloria Allred at the 2015 gala.)
Early Life & Family
Pattinson was born on July 2, 1986, in London to Kate, a former actress turned fashion stylist who regularly works with Vogue and other fashion publications, and Jim, a travel agent. He has an older sister, Chloe, and a younger brother, Alex. He spent his early years in the United Kingdom before moving to Los Angeles with his family at the age of nine.
From an early age, Pattinson was interested in fashion and had an eye for design. While still in school, he started a line of clothing called Good Shoes, which he sold to raise money for charity. In 2010, he launched his own collection of men’s suits under the Autumn/Winter 2010–2011 line, called RPA (for Robert Pattinson), which was inspired by his love of Savile Row tailors and his admiration for leading British designers such as Thomas Amoneau and Martin Margiela. (He is also a part owner of a French fashion house, Margiela.)
Pattinson’s father Jim is originally from New Jersey and is of Irish descent. While Kate’s other family members are mostly from the UK, her father came from a family of Russian descent. At the age of 14, he founded his own company, Grand Tour UK, which organizes group travel for students around the world. One of his biggest initiatives, the World Exploration Trust, seeks to open the doors of opportunity for children in Africa, whom he feels have been “shut out of the educational system.” He is also a close friend of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Pattinson is a product of several of the most prestigious British boarding schools, including Eton College and Shermer Grammar School. He studied English literature before going into acting. His mother is British and his father is American, so he grew up with both accents and is bilingual. However, he mostly speaks with a British accent.
While at Eton, he was reportedly bullied for being an artistic nerd. Once he made the decision to become an actor, he went on to study at the prestigious Oxford University, where he focused on acting and Shakespeare.
Pattinson was also rumored to have taken a “gap year” before starting university. Although this is not an accredited year off, it is a popular option for students who prefer not to go to college right away. The year allows the student to travel or to work for a certain amount of time, which is usually spent learning a trade. In Pattinson’s case, he worked as an assistant to the production designer of the 2007 film, The Golden Compass, which starred Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Since his professional acting debut at age 16 in the film First Love, Pattinson has largely stuck to films, with the occasional TV guest spot or voice role. He was largely unknown to American audiences before 2012, when he began breaking out in a string of critically and financially acclaimed indie films, including the aforementioned Love, the dark comedy Violence, and the British drama The Rover. All three were released that year and followed a similar thematic trajectory, exploring difficult issues such as addiction, alienation, and class struggle. In The Rover in particular, Pattinson played an aspiring young artist who befriends a homeless man (played by John Boyega) and is forced to navigate the precarious world of British art and gallery politics. The film’s director, Nigel Cole, described Pattinson as “a revelation as an actor. He has such a natural talent and real charisma. He’s very comfortable in his own skin and absolutely brings a part of himself to every role.”
Prior to the success of The Rover, even his biggest fans may not have heard of Robert Pattinson. That began to change in 2012, when the actor played the titular role in the acclaimed movie The Dark Knight Rises. Two years later, he continued to top the box office charts with the independently produced drama Jack and the Giant Slayer, for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe. Most recently, Pattinson was seen opposite Keira Knightley in the Coen brothers’ The Private Life of Pablo Picasso, a film about the famous Spanish painter’s relationship with his mistress, Gala. (Pattinson’s portrayal of Picasso was highly praised; The New York Times wrote that he “holds his own against the great man’s genius.”) The actor is also in the middle of shooting the next installment in the franchise, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, directed by Michael Dougherty and co-starring Keira Knightley and Tilda Swinton. In the meantime, he continues to work on his craft and has been known to read scripts and give notes on set, something that can only improve his already sterling reputation.
Pattinson has collaborated with the fashion world’s finest designers. He has worn Yves St. Laurent, a French luxury goods house; Christian Dior, a French luxury goods house; and, most notably, the British luxury goods brand, Burberry. (As a part owner of a French fashion house, he is able to wear both French and British labels.) In 2015, he was named “the most versatile actor” of the year in Vogue’s prestigious annual poll, adding, “His versatility allows him to play a variety of roles, from brainy teens to tortured soul artists.”