Since breaking out in the 2011 adaptation of William Gibson’s novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Robert Pattinson has quickly established himself as one of the most promising young stars of this generation. With a resume that includes one of the most prominent feature film debuts of all time and an Oscar-nominated turn in one of the most celebrated coming-of-age films ever made, the English actor is finally stepping out of the shadow of his Twilight and Pattinson’s Band of Outsiders co-star, Emile Hirsch. The 28-year-old is set to reprise his role as Holden McNeil in the upcoming David Gordon Green-directed Fox Searchlight release, The Light Between The Oceans, alongside Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet. In the film, which opens on May 19, Winslet’s character embarks on a voyage to find her way home to Australia while Fassbender’s character stays behind in London to look after their infant son, Benjamin. It’s safe to say that, other than his breakout role, Pattinson has enjoyed quite the rise to fame, and his rapid ascension into the A-list is truly remarkable.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
After initially denying that he was even interested in the role of Steve Dauncey, the young Hollywood heartthrob eventually accepted it and signed on to play the teenage son of Michael Sheen and Claire Danes’ characters, Patrick and Audrey. While Pattinson’s casting was initially met with some resistance due to his age, the actor’s performance and screenwriter Nick Hornby’s praise helped sway opinion in his favor, and he went on to deliver one of the most critically acclaimed performances of 2011. Playing against type as the bookish and studious Stephen, the young star delivered a bravura turn that was both nuanced and heartbreaking. His deadpanning and subtle gestures, particularly in the scene where he reads aloud from the book that he loves so much, won over audiences around the world. As a result of his performance, Pattinson ended up surpassing his Twilight co-star, Kristen Stewart, in social media circles, attaining over 100 million total followers on Twitter and Instagram alone.
The Birth of a New Star
While Twilight went on to become one of the biggest franchises of all time, spawning not just a book but also a TV series, an amusement park ride, and a mobile phone application, Pattinson found himself at the center of a media firestorm after he was photographed cheating on his girlfriend, Stewart. The cheating scandal that ensued threatened to derail the young actor’s promising career, and in January 2013, he filed for divorce from Stewart, citing irreconcilable differences as the cause. Amidst all the allegations of infidelity, TMZ initially reported that the divorce filings cited “irreconcilable differences” as the cause — a decision that was later rumored to have been made in order to shield their young son, Robert Jr., from the scandal. While Stewart has yet to speak publicly about the breakup, she was spotted at an Academy Awards party in February 2013, looking dazed and confused. Later that month, she checked into a hotel in Paris to decompress, and it’s rumored that she’s considering moving to London with her young son.
Euphoria and Beyond
After Twilight, Pattinson’s stock rose even further, and he was subsequently pursued by some of the biggest names in the business. He turned Hollywood’s attention to Asia, where he spent over a year filming the action-adventure film, Concierge. The production wrapped in March 2014, and Pattinson was keen to move on to other projects. “I’d rather wait until the dust has settled and see what’s next,” he told Harper’s Bazaar in an interview that month. “I want to play different parts, but I don’t want to rush into anything. I want to do the right thing first. I need to concentrate on my work and be careful about who I work with.”
Pattinson spent the majority of 2015 filming the coming-of-age drama, The Rover, based on the novel by Ian McEwan, the author of the acclaimed novel and screen adaptation, Atonement. The film follows a group of young men living in London who are trying to start over after the recent deaths of their founder and leader, played by Jeremy Renner. The title role was initially offered to Tom Hiddleston, but the English actor turned it down in order to accept another role. Director Ridley Scott ultimately picked up the search, and he set about wooing the 28-year-old English actor for the part. After months of deliberation, it was announced in April 2015 that Hiddleston had been made a directorial apprentice, and Scott was given the green light to begin shooting.
The film also stars James Badge Dale, Tessa Thompson, and Ralph Ineson, with production due to wrap in June 2016. In order to wrap the nearly year-long production, Scott and his team had to travel all over England, searching for locations that felt like the ‘60s, when the story is set. The filming was a gruelling experience for all involved, with the director estimating that it was “the most physically demanding shoot that I’ve ever done,” and it was clear that everyone, including Hiddleston, was relieved when it was over. “[It was] one of the most incredible learning opportunities of my entire life,” Hiddleston later stated, “and extremely rewarding.” While Hiddleston has yet to make his directorial debut, Scott is hopeful that the experience will prove invaluable. “It’s very, very tough to learn on the job,” he said. “You’ve got to be ready to drop everything and help out.”
A Role to Remember
While The Rover is set for a 2016 release, it won’t be the only big-budget film that Pattinson is slated to star in this year. In August 2015, it was announced that he had been selected to portray Edward Cullen in the upcoming Dark Shadows remake, alongside Kate Winslet and Michael Sheen. The first-ever live-action adaptation of the classic 1960s horror series will begin shooting in early 2016, with a planned release date of May 12, 2016.
Meanwhile, Fox Searchlight has set John Gallese to direct and star in The Light Between The Oceans, based on the Michael Condon novel of the same name. The film will chronicle the entangled love lives of a wealthy widow and a struggling artist in 1920s Paris. Starring opposite Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet, the darkly comedic drama marks Pattinson’s first American film and will be released on May 19, 2016.
Pattinson has also been named to portray Charles Dickens in an English-language remake of the French thriller, The Man in the Iron Mask, which is set for a 2017 release. The actor will star opposite BFFs Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire in the adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas novel, with filming due to begin in London in early 2017. The film will be distributed by Netflix.
An Academy Award-Qualified Actor
It’s not just Hollywood that’s been wowed by Pattinson’s performance either. The English actor has also been named as one of the Best Actors of 2011 by the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. While he may be best known for his role in David Gordon Green’s acclaimed film adaptation of William Gibson’s novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Pattinson is a respected thespian, having won an Oscar for his role in the 2005 film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona. He had previously been nominated for his role in Jane Austen’s Persuasion back in 2004. One of the most prestigious awards shows in the world, the Academy Awards, first aired in 1930 and is now considered a formal greeting to the film community. In order to celebrate this accomplishment, Pattinson and his team released a statement in early March 2016, announcing that he had officially become an Academy Award-qualified actor.
After a busy few years, it appears that Pattinson is finally finding some peace. In March 2016, he married his longtime girlfriend, the French singer, Amy B. Wang. The couple share a son, Robert Jr., who was born in September 2015. While the wedding was kept rather private, with only a handful of friends and family members in attendance, it was still a memorable event for the couple and their guests. The pair are also avid travelers, having spent time recently in Southeast Asia. In 2019, they were in South Africa filming Game Changers, a biopic on the 2008-2009 Indian Premier League cricket season, with the two sharing an embrace as they watched their teammates play on the big screen.