Robert Pattinson’s newest film, Shovel, follows the story of four friends who spent the last three years working their way through college as day labourers, digging ditches and laying down rails for the construction of a cross-country railway line. The line ends up serving very wealthy businessmen who utilize the service to ship goods to and from other continents. The friends become rich and famous – or at least, their fame transcends the country they reside in – and as the film comes to an end, it leaves the audience with a rather ambiguous feeling.
Is this a film about the triumph of the will, or the power of knowledge? Is this a film about friends who worked hard and smart, or about the good fortune that came from meeting in the right place and time? Or is it a film about the beauty of nature and the environment, something that is increasingly important to the actor as his Instagram presence shows? It’s a little bit of all of those things, and for those who have followed Pattinson’s career closely, it is perhaps not a pleasant feeling, knowing that the end of the film will leave you unsettled. One can only wonder what Pattinson’s next step will be. He’ll be 47 in April; will he continue acting, or will he take the step into directing?
Robert Pattinson As A Director
Although he’s never officially stepped behind the camera, Robert Pattinson has made a name for himself as an accomplished documentarian through his Instagram account. The account currently has more than 300 million followers and the 24-year-old’s work is consistently described as “incredible,” “amazing,” and “absolutely beautiful.”
Whether it’s an intimate glimpse at musician Bon Jovi’s tour or a panoramic shot from the top of a skyscraper, the account constantly provides its audience with exclusive content. Sometimes the content is a behind-the-scenes look at a musician’s or a celebrity’s work, other times it’s an actor reading a text from a letter, and it often features unique vistas of whatever city the account’s currently documenting. The content is always interesting, well-written, and concise – often edited down to only a few hundred words – which makes it ideal for those who want to keep up with the news but don’t have the time to read longer articles. What’s more, the content is often accompanied by some stunning lighting effects and an artistic cut that makes even the most mundane of stories interesting to look at.
Though many might assume that directing is simply a question of telling the camera what to do, in reality the role is a lot more involved. For every director there’s usually an editor, a sound designer, a visual designer, a cinematographer, and a whole team of other professionals who work together to bring a filmed product to life onscreen. Even the most experienced and successful directors usually have to start from the very beginning and work their way up – learning as much as they can along the way – which makes the whole process rather unpredictable. Sometimes a director can have an idea of how a film should look or what should happen – something that might have been inspired by a book, a play, or a concert – but the rest is up to the individuals who work closest to the camera, relying on their collective eye, experience, and technical expertise to bring the director’s vision to life.
Making A Movie – What Is The Process?
Even before Robert Pattinson got into directing, he was already familiar with the ins and outs of making a movie. His father, Tony, is currently the chairman of the film school at Oxford University and has produced several Oscar-winning films, including The English Patient and Saving Private Ryan. His uncles, John and Peter, are respectively co-founder of the production company and studio Red Chilli Pictures, and chairman of the Nottingham-based production company Merman Films. Between the three of them, they have over 60 years of experience in the film industry. Not bad for three uncles!
With all of that experience behind him, it’s not surprising that Robert Pattinson is such an incredible filmmaker. But just because he’s talented doesn’t mean that the process of making a movie is easy. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. A documentary filmmaker from the 1960s once said that making a movie is a hell of a lot of hard work and isn’t for the faint-hearted. “You’re basically alone in a room with thousands of people who are there to do the same thing as you,” Pattinson told the Guardian in 2015. “But I find that being in that room, with everyone trying to do their best, makes it feel like a team effort rather than a solitary one.”
The reality is, making a movie is a lot of work and it never ends. There are endless amounts of meetings, phone calls, and emails – not to mention all of the work that goes into pre-production, which usually involves extensive research – and then, of course, there’s the shooting itself. It doesn’t end there, either. After the credits roll, there’s still the post-production process, which can be just as time-consuming and, depending on the size of the team, can take months or even years to complete. It’s a never-ending process that’s definitely not for the faint-hearted.
So, given all of that, it’s not hard to see why Robert Pattinson has taken the time out of his schedule to direct. Especially when you consider that he has complete control over the content, which means he gets to decide exactly what people see when the film opens. At least, that’s what he tells us in the above quote. The truth is, we’ll probably never know exactly what made Robert Pattinson decide to become a director. But one thing’s for sure – we’re all better for it.