Ever wonder what it takes to be on the red carpet?

Actors, musicians, socialites, and influencers can spend months preparing for a single red carpet appearance. Yet, for some reason, we remain ignorant as to how those who have graced these carpets continue to enjoy such good fortune. Is it because they have supernatural charm that gives them an unfair advantage in life?

What if I told you that no, it’s not because of their charm. Heck, it’s not because they’re famous. And it’s not even because they’re rich.

No, the reason behind Robert Pattinson’s good luck is far more practical and down to earth. It comes down to good ol’ fashioned hard work. Specifically, the actor and producer spent years building up a solid reputation as a reliable and award-winning screenwriter. So much so, he finally broke through and became a household name. That is, until he inexplicably became an online laughingstock.

Pattinson’s story is funny in its own right. One moment, he’s an established Hollywood star enjoying mainstream media attention. The next, he’s a punchline for late-night comedians. It’s as if his life was flipped upside down overnight.

But it wasn’t. Not at all. If you want to understand how and why this happened, you have to go back to the beginning.

The Early Years

Pattinson was born on October 28, 1983 in London, England. His parents are prominent English literary figures. His mother, Vanessa Redgrave, is a renowned stage actress, while his father, Michael Pattinson, is the author of several novels and a respected theater critic. Young Robert grew up in London and studied literature and music at Eton College.

Pattinson’s early acting roles include a brief appearance in an episode of the cult hit show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which he played a shy vampire named Lou. Since then, he has appeared in several high-profile films, including Twilight, where he played the role of Edward Cullen, and the James Bond film, Spectre, where he portrayed SPECTRE agent Christoph Waltz. Most recently, he appeared in the 2017 sci-fi hit, Arrival, where he played the role of Dr. Richardson.

Pattinson’s career in Hollywood flourished. He earned critical acclaim for his portrayal of an HIV-positive man in the 2015 film, Boycott, and won several awards, including the BAFTA Rising Star award and the RTS Award for best newcomer. His career also gained mainstream acceptance. He was named one of the 50 most influential people on the internet in 2018.

While Pattinson’s filmography establishes him as a major player in Hollywood, his success outside of the big screen is just as impressive. He regularly tours the UK playing live shows and festivals. He also curates his own line of fragrance, which he unveiled at the 2018 London Film and Fashion Week.

Breaking Into Television

If you watch popular television shows today, you’ll most likely see a few things that were inspired by or pay homage to Boycott. In fact, the two co-stars, Peter Mooney and Jim Howick, even dressed up as Edward and Jacob for Halloween in an episode of the Showtime series, The Tudors.

In an interview with The Guardian in 2015, Pattinson discussed his decision to enter the world of television: “The more I do it, the more I want to do it. There’s something about being able to share your work and the creative process with the audience… The feedback can be really positive, which is nice.”

And he’s been busy. Since making the leap to television, Pattinson has penned several award-winning episodes of popular shows, including Broadchurch, where he earned an Emmy nomination for best drama writing; Muppets Most Wanted, where he collaborated with James Bobin on a script he co-wrote; and The Handmaid’s Tale, where he adapted Emily’s novel, Offred, for the screen. 

In 2016, Pattinson released his first book, entitled Van Gogh: A Life, which explored the artist’s tumultuous 20-year career. That same year, he released a memoir, Wasted, which traced his partying ways from his school days to his celebrity years. The book was later adapted into a stage play, which premiered at the Donmar Warehouse in London in 2018.

A Major Break

If there’s one thing that typifies this strange period of time that was, it’s the unexpected appearance of Chris Hemsworth on the red carpet. One moment, you have Robert Pattinson, an established, Hollywood star. The next, you have Chris Hemsworth, a former Olympic gold medallist and action movie superstar. It was as though someone turned a camera on and caught this bizarre interlude as it happened.

And that’s what happened. On April 23, 2018, the Instagram account @_chrishemsworth posted a video of Hemsworth walking through the Toronto International Film Festival’s red carpet. In the video, one can see Hemsworth, a former child actor who grew up watching TV commercials, interacting with fans and high-profile figures (like Pattinson).

The first thing that stood out to me was Hemsworth’s casual dress code. Usually, we see stars like this wearing slim fitting, designer jeans and a chic, plain tee. For him, however, he wore high-waisted jeans and a baggy Tee.com tee, showing off his tattoos and the words, “Don’t fuck with Texas.” It was as though someone turned a camera on and caught this bizarre interlude as it happened.

The second thing that stood out to me was Hemsworth’s conversation with a fan who was eagerly awaiting the actor’s arrival at the film festival. As soon as he recognized her, Hemsworth bent down to her level and started engaging in a casual conversation. At one point, the fan pointed to a painting behind her, asking if he recognized it. Without missing a beat, Hemsworth replied, “That’s a Van Gogh. I love Van Gogh. I have a painting of his in my house.”

It’s not often that you get to witness a star give such a grounded and honest answer to a fan who asks about a painting behind them. It was as though Hemsworth, a guy who grew up in Canada, where Van Gogh is revered as a cultural icon, simply explained to the fan that he happened to be wearing a shirt with the artist’s famous “Sunny Afternoon” painting on it. They carried on like this for several minutes while everyone around them waited in line to get their picture taken with Hemsworth.

The point is that, even though this was a major moment for Hemsworth, this wasn’t exactly a well-orchestrated publicity stunt. This was simply two guys having fun, playing a joke on the audience.

The third thing that stood out to me was Hemsworth’s reaction to a fan who asked about his daughter, Rose. Instead of giving a rehearsed answer, Hemsworth looked the fan in the eye and said, “I have a daughter who’s going to be a teenager soon. And I want to know what you think she should be doing.” He then paused before adding, “I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say this, but… she’s pretty cool, actually. I think she should be driving a motorcycle, not a car.”

To top it all off, Hemsworth even had a casual conversation with a random lady in line who asked about his tattoos. He dispelled all their worries by assuring them that he was “actually a germaphobe” and that he had a serious skin disease that made him allergic to needles.

The End of An Era

When I first heard of Pattinson’s fall from grace, I was in the middle of watching an episode of My Mom’s Wedding on Netflix.

As the story unfolded, I became progressively more upset. Not only because the world-class actor and producer had publicly humiliated himself on social media. But also because this was the end of an era for gay men. Specifically, for those who want to be seen as “stable and successful partnered men.”