Robert Pattinson is one of the most iconic and influential British actors of our time. The 32-year-old has been acting for over 10 years now and has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. He is best known for his collaborations with director and producer David Fincher, which have resulted in two critically acclaimed and highly popular films – The Social Network and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. In 2011, Forbes listed him at number 31 on their list of the world’s most powerful celebrities, and since then, his status as a leading man has only increased.
The Social Network
In the 2010 film The Social Network, Pattinson played the role of Eduardo Saverin, the tech-savvy younger brother of Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg). The film is based on the original 2006 book of the same name by writer Andrew Solomon. In the book, Solomon outlines the genesis, rise and fall of Facebook, focusing particularly on the roles that Zuckerberg and Saverin played in its success and subsequent disaster due to their youth and naiveté. The film adaption is more of a dramatisation than an accurate portrayal of events, but it captures the spirit and essence of the book quite well. It depicts the events leading up to and following the Facebook IPO (Initial Public Offering) in mid-2004. The Social Network was released in 2010 and has since become one of Netflix’s biggest and most popular original movies. It currently has an 8.1 rating on IMDb and has been seen by over 17 million people.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
In the 2012 film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Pattinson plays a role based on the titular character from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1915 novella of the same name. The film is set in 1914 and follows the story of Benjamin Button, a man born in the autumn who aspires to live an autumnal life. The film is directed by David Fincher and is an adaptation of the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In the book, Fitzgerald characterises the four seasons in four characters: Mr. April, Mr. June, Miss August and Mr. October. In the film, the character of Mr. April was replaced by Mr. Blue, but the film otherwise preserves the spirit of the original work quite well. Benjamin Button was released in 2012 and has since become one of Netflix’s biggest and most popular original movies. It currently has an 8.0 rating on IMDb and has been seen by over 14 million people.
Pattinson has also starred in a number of critically acclaimed and award-winning television shows and miniseries, such as Vanity Fair, Peeping Thomas, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Gangs of London. He has had supporting roles in films such as The King’s Speech, The Holiday and The Light Between Oceans. Most recently, he starred in the independent film The Lost City of Z, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was released in select cinemas in February 2019. The film is based on the best-selling book by Zoë Brodie, and like the book, it centres around a mysterious and elusive individual named H. E. A. Taylor. In the book, a retired professor named Hubert Eaton travels to New York City, looking for his missing grandson. Once there, Eaton stumbles upon a clue to the location of the boy, and he desperately tries to find him. Taylor lived a colourful life before he Disappeared, and numerous conspiracy theories have been put forward by those who believe he was murdered. The film adaption similarly features a retired professor named Richard Eaton (played by Jeremy Irons) looking for his missing grandson. The film’s setting is supposed to be 1914, and like the novel, it is a mystery thriller concerning the hunt for a missing boy. The trailer for the film was one of the most viewed videos on YouTube in 2018, reaching over 37 million views. It currently has an 8.1 rating on IMDb.
Pattinson made his theatre debut in 2007 in London’s West End, where he starred in the title role of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The same year, he starred in the title role of the Old Vic Theatre’s production of Hamlet. Since then, he has gone on to star in over 50 plays, including the 2010 production of Born Romantic, in which he played the role of the love-struck Frank Bennett. He also had a starring role in the 2014 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, opposite Keira Knightley and Matt Smith. Most recently, he starred in the critically acclaimed National Theatre production of Richard III in 2018. The production will be premiered on the big screen in February 2021. This year, he will play the title role in the World Shakespeare Festival’s production of King Lear. In 2021, he will star in the title role of Friedrich Schiller’s Don Carlos, a tragedy about a teenage king who rebels against his father and crown. Like King Lear and Richard III, Don Carlos is also set in Germany in the early 18th century. The trilogy of King Lear, Don Carlos and Richard III will be released over the course of the next year.
Pattinson’s work is defined by its authenticity and realism. Since his first starring role in a film adaptation of Vanity Fair in 2006, he has never looked or sounded particularly like a Hollywood star. In fact, one of the most memorable scenes in The Social Network is the opening monologue, in which Eduardo Saverin ruminates on the contemporary world and its obsession with youth and beauty. Saverin’s speech was directed by Michael Mayer and is noted for its deadpan delivery and cutting edge language. That same year, Mayer helmed another scene in which Pattinson delivers a funny, if not particularly gracious, speech at an awards ceremony. In that moment, we see the actor break character and we realise that he is actually capable of being funny – a quality that very few Hollywood stars possess. In the years since, Mayer has directed Pattinson in three more films: The Rum Diary, The Light Between Oceans and The Lost City of Z, each of which is filled with funny one-liners and sparkling dialogue. For his part, Pattinson has never been one to shy away from a good laugh and often engages with the audience, especially the younger members of it, via social media.
As well as impressing us with his comic timing and dialogue, Pattinson also continually amazes us with his versatility. In the last decade alone, he has played several significant historical characters ranging from Napoleon Bonaparte to King George III. He has also played various versions of the same character, including a younger, less experienced and vulnerable self in The Lost City of Z and an older, more mature and worldly self in The King’s Speech. With more than fifty theatre appearances under his belt, we can expect to see even more dramatic and nuanced performances from Pattinson in the coming years.