When you become a cultural icon, you’ll find countless fans wanting to share their stories. Meet Robert Pattinson: a British actor and pop culture icon who has found fans across the globe for his unique blend of good looks and personality. Over the years, he’s been linked to a variety of beauties, including Kate Winslet, Emma Watson, and now, Kristen Stewart. But it was Stewart who inspired one of the most iconic looks of all time: the Twilight series.
The film adaptations of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series introduced audiences to the wonder that is Robsten. While filming the first installment in 2011, Stewart and Pattinson became inseparable, working together even when they weren’t filming. The actor, 31, was smitten, reportedly spending much of his time off-set with Stewart, 24.
Their undeniable connection quickly turned into a romance. After spending just a few months together in 2012, the pair went public with their love. They then announced their engagement and were married in a private ceremony in April 2013. Since then, the Twilight film series has become one of the most successful franchises of all time, with nine films having so far been released. Its final installment, Twilight Saga: Eclipse, was the highest-grossing of the series, earning over $400 million worldwide.
The Inspiration For The Twilight Look
The dark, brooding, and mysterious aura that surrounds the Twilight films is quintessential to their charm. It’s no accident that the Twilight franchise has attracted such a large and devoted fanbase: the films perfectly capture the imagination of audiences longing for a bit of sophistication in their pop culture offerings.
The Twilight films are the epitome of old-school Hollywood, with their outdated cinematic techniques and stylings. In an interview with MTV, Pattinson said that he wanted to evoke that bygone era, when filmmakers used old-school cameras that needed to be pushed into place manually.
“I wanted a film that evoked that kind of old-school, nostalgic glamour,” Pattinson said. “I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the old Vogue covers with the celebrities photographed wearing Valentino or Dior, or even old-school black-and-white movies? I wanted to evoke that kind of nostalgic feeling of old-school Hollywood.”
The result was a trilogy of haunting imagery that continues to capture the hearts of moviegoers worldwide. For Stewart’s part, she admitted to Vanity Fair that she was initially intimidated by the baroque makeup methods exhibited by the other characters in Twilight. But after trying them out for a film shoot, she was hooked.
“I grew up with really conventional ideas about beauty, and I didn’t really know that there were other ways to look good on film other than to follow the rules,” Stewart said. “I remember looking at the character Bella and thinking, ‘That’s not how I’m going to look. That’s not how I’m going to act. That’s not how I’m going to behave,’ but I also wanted to know what that was like, what it felt like to wear that makeup and have that hair and to dance like that.”
“It was a process of just breaking down barriers,” she went on. “I think for a lot of people watching Robsten, it’s going to be that moment where, if they’ve never seen anything like that before, it will feel really new and exciting. It will feel like a challenge to them that feels like a pleasure to us.”
From Mystery To Romance
After his experience with the Twilight films, Pattinson went on to star in a number of other box-office hits, including the James McAvoy-Lily James thriller, The First Shopfront. In it, he plays James, an ambitious young man who gets caught up in a world of corporate crime—all while trying to woo the girl of his dreams, played by Lily James. The film was a significant comeback vehicle for former Bond girl James, whose previous credits include Atonement and Closer.
Pattinson’s other major 2017 release was Peter Bogdanovich’s The Man From Earth, in which he plays a timid, somewhat geeky man who discovers he has extraordinary powers after an accident nearly kills him. The film also stars Vera Farmiga and John Goodman, with production designers turning the average house into a fully functioning, futuristic dwelling.
Romantic Comedy Or Dramedy?
While he’s had some serious dramas in his time, most notably the 2015 World War II epic The Battle of Jutland, in which he plays Winston Churchill, Pattinson is perhaps best known for starring in Woody Allen’s romantic comedies since 2013’s Midnight in Paris. In that year, he played an English professor traveling to Paris for the book festival. On his journey, he crosses paths with Scarlett Johansson’s character, who he eventually courts. They wind up falling in love, but not before Pattinson teaches her a thing or two about academia.
While in Paris, Pattinson pops the question and the actress accepts. The two are married in early 2018. It will be their third cinematic union; they were previously married to each other’s first cousins, and then to one another’s best friends. In 2013, they became Britain’s first married same-sex couple when they wed in a small civil partnership ceremony.
The Rise Of The Romantic Era
If anything, Pattinson’s filmography illustrates the changing times we live in. While many may see the emergence of the romantic era as an inevitable progression from the previous century-plus of film history, it wasn’t quite so. For much of the 20th century, the romance on-screen often played second fiddle to the action on-screen. But following a number of high profile scandals involving iconic movie stars, the subject of romance took a back seat in the popular imagination, with filmmakers instead focusing on telling more serious stories.
The difference is especially notable in retrospect. Take the 1941 film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, in which John Garfield and Ingrid Bergman star as star-crossed lovers. The film was originally banned in many countries, and was considered so risqué that it had to be cut before it could be released. It wasn’t until 1977 that the film was shown publicly in its entirety in London. Even then, it was more of a theatrical event than anything else—Romeo and Juliet was first performed in front of an audience in 1905 and has never been shown in cinemas since.
Then, in 1966, came the phenomenal success of Walt Disney’s epic adaptation of Alice Through The Looking Glass. The story of Lewis Carroll’s beloved children’s book follows Alicia (played by Elizabeth Taylor), a witty young girl who wanders through a magical wardrobe and meets a cast of colorful creatures, including some memorable cameos (like Judy Garland as the Cheshire Cat and Louis Armstrong as the White Rabbit).
While the film is most famous for its lavish special effects and amazing animated sequences, it’s Taylor’s all-time best performance that has kept the movie in the public consciousness. She plays the titular character with humor, whimsy, and aplomb, showing off her range as an actress while also displaying a deep commitment to portraying the character with the full confidence and swagger that Carroll’s original novel inspired. In 2018, Disney released another film adaptation of Alice Through The Looking Glass, in which she reprises her role. The sequel, titled Alice Through The Looking Glass – The Yellow Brick Road, sees Taylor return as Alice once again, this time accompanied by her dainty little dog, who has gone missing throughout the first film. In a trailer for the new film, it’s clear that the legendary actress is still enjoying herself immensely while playing the role, almost 100 years later.
Diversity In Hollywood
In her 2017 New Year’s letter, Taylor reflected on her long and distinguished career, saying that she hoped to make 2017 the year of balance. “I can’t decide if I want to do more films or give more speeches,” she wrote. “But I do know that I want to be equally as involved in both. What I need is a healthy amount of hustle and a little luck. And, as always, I need you. Whether you’re a longtime colleague, friend, or fan, I hope you’ll join me in this effort to earn the right to sleep well at night.”