No movie star has been able to successfully transition from teen sensation to full-fledged adult actor, yet. Not even Michael J. Fox or Arnold Schwarzenegger. The former was able to keep the teen spirit alive in his comedies, while the latter mostly stuck to action films.
But then, there was Robert Pattinson. The former “It” boy went from being the most popular teen in Europe to being hailed as one of the greatest actors of his generation.
Pattinson’s ability to transition was undoubtedly helped by his choice of material. His debut film, the dark comedy Galaxy Quest, was a box office hit and established him as a bankable star. The film also helped him land one of the most significant roles of his career, that of Sam Hunter, in the comedy-adventure Water for Elephants. Even more impressively, two of his films made it to the top five of the year’s biggest box office earners, a feat that no other actor can even pretend to.
So, it should come as no great surprise that The Good Times, the new book about the actor’s life and career, has been such a success. The Wall Street Journal calls it “the defining portrait of [Pattinson’s] acting career” and “essential reading for anyone who cares about the actor’s renaissance.”
Here, we’ll explore how Pattinson became the man we know today — both on and off screen — in a candid interview.
A Brief Biography of Robert Pattinson
Born in London in 1982, Robert Pattinson began acting in commercials at the age of three and appeared in his first feature film, Four Weddings and a Funeral, at the age of 10. A few years later, he became a teen idol in Europe when he portrayed the “teen wolf” in the Swedish soap opera Roy, winning the Best Actor award at the Young Artist Awards for his performance.
Pattinson’s breakthrough role was as the tragic Quentin Tarantulin in the French-language film Intimate Relations. The following year, he starred in Four Lions as Leo, a hypersexual teenage boy whose libido seriously clashes with his morality. He also starred in the teen drama The Fourth Estate, which is widely considered to be one of the greatest films of all time. The following year, he starred alongside Kate Winslet and Daniel Day-Lewis in the drama The Debt, which garnered him his first Golden Globe nomination.
At the age of 17, Pattinson signed with a talent agency in Hollywood and began to focus on his career in the U.S. His first American film role was in the comedy License To Wed in 2007, followed by the coming-of-age drama The Golden Globe in 2011. That same year, he also starred in the BBC Two miniseries The Night Manager, based on the novel by Tom McCarthy. The next year, he starred in the comic book adaptation The Death of Superman and its sequel, Sons of Superman, based on the characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. He also starred in the action thriller Bel Ami, which was one of the most expensive films of all time when it was released in 2012.
Pattinson’s portrayal of the diabolical Edward Nero in the 2012 film Twilight brought him international fame and made him a household name. The film was the eighth highest-grossing film of all time and led to a sequel, New Moon, in 2013. The following year, he completed a screenwriting course at Harvard University and released his first screenplay, The Lost City, which he also co-directed with his brother. He then starred in the biographical drama Water for Elephants, which was the highest-grossing film of the year and remains one of the highlights of his career. He followed that up with the sci-fi horror Doom, which he also co-wrote. Pattinson also starred in the comedy Bad Kids Playlist, which was one of the most successful independent films of all time.
Pattinson then returned to the big screen in the summer of 2017 in the ensemble comedy Almost Christmas, a romantic comedy about a competitive bunch of shoppers who become trapped in an elevator for most of the holiday season. The film was a critical and commercial failure but was received positively by audiences, especially towards the end.
On the TV front, Pattinson starred in the supernatural crime drama Spectral in 2017 and the dystopian drama The Handmaid’s Tale in 2018.
In 2019, it was revealed that Pattinson had been secretly married to stylist Lily Cole since 2016. The couple has a son, Cornelius, who was born in July 2018. In what was described as a low-cost but stylish wedding, the pair chose to wed at London’s City Hall with just family and friends in attendance.
Creating the Unique Robert Pattinson
From an early age, Pattinson showed a keen interest in art and design, frequently drawing and sketching as a hobby. He has also designed costumes for himself and other actors, like Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, who was his co-star in The Night Manager. At 18, he moved to New York City with Cole and began apprenticing under costumer designer Michael B. Jordan.
The pair formed a company, Rob Pattinson Ltd, and began designing and making costumes for films and plays. He also spent a year studying dress design at the London School of Fashion.
Pattinson has cited designers like Gucci and Louis Vuitton as inspirations for his unique style. “I want to be able to translate that raw energy that a brand like Louis Vuitton can give you into something that feels custom made and unique to me,” he said in an interview with Vogue.
Pattinson is also known for his extravagant style, which includes wearing extravagant clothing and accessories. He has cited designers like Burberry and Dior as inspirations for this as well. “I want to be able to translate that luxury lifestyle into something more affordable for the average person,” he said in the same Vogue interview.
The Making of The Good Times
Following a string of box-office duds, it looked like the legendary movie star’s career was on the skids. But just as he was about to be written off as a one-hit wonder, opportunities came knocking. Water for Elephants and Doom were both big hits and helped the actor transition from teen idol to bankable star.
In addition to his talent as an actor, Pattinson has proven to be quite the businessman, owning shares in his own company (which he started at age 19) and earning £12.7 million in the last financial year as a result.
The publishing house, Quarto Publishing, which released The Good Times, said that more than 1.3 million copies were sold in the first two weeks of its publication. According to the Financial Times, the book was the fastest-selling debut in Quarto’s history and was published six months ahead of its due date.
Pattison took a long time to write the book, partly because he wanted to ensure that he captured all the details of his life accurately. “Sometimes I’ll find myself rehashing conversations from my past, and it’s only then that I realize how much I’ve actually forgotten. It’s a scary realization that you’ve actually forgotten something important,” he said in an interview with the New York Times.
The Book That Wasn’t
While The Good Times is undoubtedly a celebration of Pattinson’s brilliant film career, it’s also an exposé of sorts, detailing the highs and lows of his life as an actor. The NYT critic described it as “an unflinching look at the actor’s life, with all the romantic complications, professional success and creative friction that come with stardom.”
The book also contains some rather personal reflections on Pattinson’s life, including his struggles with depression and addiction and the nature of his relationship with his brother, Luke, with whom he shares a nearly 30-year bond. But it’s clear that while the author is as open as ever about his private life, he’s also eager to prove that he’s more than just a pretty face.