Robert Pattinson is the latest Hollywood heartthrob to be linked with a Potter book character. But while it might sound like a match made in heaven, it turns out that pursuing Harry Potter has been a bumpy road for the Twilight star.
The 32-year-old actor stepped out on Saturday night in London wearing a black T-shirt with a white collar, as did his on-screen counterpart Harry Potter. The shirts carried the simple message ‘Omne bene esse’ (‘Every being is worthy of respect’ in Latin).
Pattinson’s appearance at the fancy Dress Ball, which raises money for the Diana Award, was actually part of a bigger push by his publicist to link his name to the Harry Potter universe. His publicist reportedly approached Warner Bros. about having Pattinson play Dumbledore in a Harry Potter movie. They declined the offer, but they did give him a role in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as a wizard named Newt Scamander.
Pattinson has also been linked to Tom Hardy, who plays the titular character in the newest Harry Potter installment. Hardy has previously dated Kate Winslet and spent four years with Angelina Jolie. Jolie and Hardy are currently in the middle of a very public divorce, which has created a lot of interest in the actor and his personal life.
A Long and Bumpy Road to Stardom
After starring in the Twilight franchise for over a decade, Pattinson finally has the stardom he’s always dreamed of. He plays the lead in the new Mission: Impossible film series, and just a few months ago he was ranked #3 on Variety’s annual ranking of the 100 most powerful people in Hollywood. The publication wrote: “His star is on the rise, as is his bank balance.”
But behind the scenes, things haven’t been so easy. It’s often been a struggle for the English actor to find the right roles, and the ones he has gotten have often been a string of flops. His role in the upcoming Ocean’s 8, for example, was originally offered to George Clooney, and Gary Oldman had to be convinced to take on the smaller role of Winston Churchill. The British actor is probably best known for playing Michael Myers in the Halloween series. He’s also appeared in Heat, Gangster No. 1, and the Dark Knight trilogy. Most recently, he starred opposite Emily Blunt in an adaptation of the bestselling novel The Grown-Up.
Even his most recent films haven’t been perfect. The Twilight Saga: The Complete Saga, which will be released this fall, will mark his directorial debut. While there’s no doubting the talent behind the camera, the actors’ performances have been heavily criticized. Some fans have even gone as far as to create amateur remixes of the movie’s songs in a bid to improve upon the original soundtrack. One of the most popular criticisms centers on Pattinson’s portrayal of Edward Cullen. One user wrote: “The whole Edward Cullen character is based on a man who doesn’t exist. He’s a fictional character created by Stephenie Meyer… For me, as soon as I saw him, I just didn’t believe him.” It seems that some fans just can’t get past the fact that he’s played by a famous face.
The Pros & Cons of Joining the Harry Potter Franchise
While there are many perks to being in Harry Potter, there are also some drawbacks. For starters, the franchise has been incredibly profitable for Warner Bros., which owns the rights to it. The studio’s earnings increased by 86% between 2011 and 2015, and a lot of that came from the Harry Potter franchise. This isn’t really a problem, since money is no object for Warner Bros., but it is something to consider. It’s also not known whether or not Pattinson has agreed to become part of the franchise, so there’s no telling what terms they might have offered him. If he doesn’t end up taking on the role, it could spell bad news for Warner Bros.
On the plus side, playing a character that’s already 53 years old might not be the best idea for an actor. Oldman probably wouldn’t have agreed to take on the role of Winston Churchill if he knew it was going to be a part of the Harry Potter franchise, which is somewhere in its sixth decade. Perhaps it’s best to look at this from a business standpoint. While casting a movie star in the role of a fictional character might boost ticket sales, it could also hurt the original material if audiences start comparing it to reality.
As incredible as it might sound, this is actually the second time that Harry Potter has been linked to a movie star. Back in 2010, British model Suki Waterhouse was reportedly asked to play Luna Lovegood, which is one of the four core members of the Gryffindor house. Waterhouse, however, refused to participate, fearing it was yet another example of Hollywood trying to ‘cash in’ on the Harry Potter craze. “I don’t want to play the part of a fictional character,” Waterhouse said at the time. “I want to play a role that I can believe in.”
The Bottom Line
While it might seem like an inevitable step in the evolution of Hollywood, pairing a movie star with a bestselling book character is no longer a unique concept. In fact, it’s something of a renaissance, with Dwayne Johnson recently teaming up with Arthur C. Clarke to write, direct, and star in an as-yet-untitled spy thriller. The movie will be produced by Imagine Entertainment and WB. The project, which is currently in the scripting stage, will be released via Warner Bros.’ subsidiary, New Line.
It seems that the Harry Potter craze has now spread beyond the realm of books and into Hollywood. Still, there are risks associated with entering this world; risks that might not be worth it for an aspiring actor. After all, it’s one thing to have a famous face attached to your project. It’s another to have that face belong to a character you created. Just ask Robert Pattinson.