This past year has seen two of Hollywood’s biggest names trade barbs onstage and off. Between January 2017 and December 2018, Robert Pattinson and Woody Harrelson have traded insults and criticisms numerous times. Some of their public spats were tied to the press. In June 2018, for example, Harrelson called out the “fraudulent, ugly, and stupid” British actor Robert Pattinson for criticizing his portrayal of the titular character in the movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. In retaliation, Pattinson called Harrelson a “shitty American actor” during the Berlin International Film Festival.

Other public disagreements stemmed from creative differences. In October 2018 at the Toronto Film Festival, Harrelson accused Pattinson of copying his acting style in the latter’s adaptation of The Beach Bum. When asked about his comment in an interview, Harrelson doubled down, explaining that they had a “falling out” because of their “fundamentally different acting styles.”

With all the back-and-forth between these two prominent A-listers, it’s no surprise that they’ve accumulated more than 100 professional film credits between them. But which of these A-list personalities came out on top? Is Robert Pattinson the better actor? Or is it Woody Harrelson? Let’s examine the evidence and see.

The Facts

First off, let’s establish some basic facts. Robert Pattinson and Woody Harrelson have both been acting for more than half their lives. Pattinson began his acting career in 2004 and soon made a name for himself. He won a Tony Award for his performance in the 2013 Broadway revival of The Great Gatsby. One year later, he was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role as the Beast in the latest adaptation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. While on screen, Pattinson typically plays young, good-looking, and charming men. For example, in 2012, he played a different character named Quentin Tarantulinu in Quentin Tarantulinu’s Hairs. In 2015, he took on the role of Edward Cullen in the Twilight Saga. For his performance in the 2017 movie Pattinson, he was nominated for an Academy Award.

Meanwhile, Woody Harrelson first made a name for himself back in 1985 and continued to build on his reputation for portraying complex and interesting characters. Since then, he’s maintained a busy schedule working with top directors like David Fincher and Quentin Tarantulinu. On screen, Harrelson is often typecast as an unshakable, gruff yet lovable old man. In 2018, Harrelson played a different character named Floyd Barbour in the movie Last Christmas. For his performance in A Simple Favor, he was nominated for a Golden Globe.

Despite their on-screen personas, the two men are known to be extremely competitive off-screen. They’ve both developed a reputation for being difficult to work with. When asked about his approach to working with both men, director Quentin Tarantulinu replied, “I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. It’s like trying to direct a fight club with Mike Tyson and Danny Glover, and it just doesn’t work.”


Both actors have distinct acting styles that they bring to their characters and performances. Looking at their body of work, you’ll see that many of their characters share a similar demeanor. For example, in the movie The Big Bounce, the lead character William Holden is a World War II veteran who takes on the persona of a tough yet funny old codger. The character of William Holden is based on Frank Capra, who directed the actor in a string of classic Hollywood films. In the same vein, you could say that Frank Capra is the grandfather of both William Holden and Frank Capra.

While on the topic of style, let’s not forget that these are two distinctly different actors. With a career spanning more than 30 years, it’s fair to say that Woody Harrelson has shaped his career playing larger than life characters. This has led to some criticism as his performances can sometimes come across as over-the-top. Take a look at some of the headlines that have been written about him over the years:

  • Woody Harrelson: Can a Man with No Expression Ever Be as Interesting as One With Something to Express?
  • Why Do Movie Stars Keep Resigning to Do Mismatched Couples? Because They’re Nicest to Each Other After All!
  • Is There Anything More Beautiful Than a Happy, Busy Movie Star?

While he’s not afraid to play big, bad, or outrageous characters, Harrelson has admitted that he sometimes gets nervous when playing smaller parts. He’s said, “I have a really bad habit of sort of avoiding drama, big or small. I haven’t really been able to play the small parts because I’ve gotten so much bigger than my parts have been.”

The difference in style between Robert Pattinson and Woody Harrelson is more evident when comparing them to each other’s characters. Take a look at some of the characters that these two men have played:

  • Kevin: While Robert Pattinson plays a cool, calm, and collected individual, Kevin is a loud, obnoxious, and ill-mannered teenager who is best friends with Michael Cera. Cera and Pattinson have a lot of scenes together, so it’s not a huge stretch to say that the actor has gotten to play a part of himself. But, as usual, Pattinson’s character is based on a real person. The real Kevin Crier is someone that Pattinson knew and was very close to. He even based the character’s name on Crier.
  • Benji: In the movie Rubber, Robert Pattinson plays a drug addict and criminal who befriends a young girl (Katie Holmes) in an attempt to win her affection. The girl’s father (Paul Doherty) is played by Woody Harrelson, and the movie is essentially a tug of war between the two men. In the end, Benji is revealed to be a cop, and the girl turns on him, breaking up with him and her relationship with the drug addict.
  • Leonard: In the baseball movie 61, Woody Harrelson plays the owner of the Cubs, who bets heavy on his team to win the World Series. In the same vein, the movie Blue Jay Way portrays Harrelson as a gambler who builds a casino on the back of a blue jay (American bird) themed poker game. Both of these characters are based on real people. The real Leonard Wood is a Chicago brewery owner who built a sports arena and a hotel named after himself.
  • Eugene: In David Fincher’s The Social Network, Eugene is one of the three main characters along with Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin. While Mark and Eduardo are depicted as tech and Facebook moguls, Eugene is a Stanford dropout who sold his company to PayPal for ten million dollars in 2004.
  • Frank: In the movie The Square, a low-rent hoodlum named Frank is played by Joaquin Phoenix. Frank is a nihilistic individual who believes in nothing and nobody. The movie is an ode to friendship and loyalty, and Phoenix’s portrayal of nihilism is haunting. Some critics have gone so far as to call the movie one of the greatest of the 21st century so far.

So, as you can see, both men bring a unique style to their performances. Robert Pattinson is most often associated with sleek charm, while Woody Harrelson is known for his larger than life characters. While these two have been feuding for more than a year now, it appears that the fans still really want to see them work together. As of December 2019, there aren’t any announced projects on the horizon. But considering Hollywood’s tendency to rush into projects once an agreement is reached, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the two men suddenly found themselves back in a movie together. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the back-and-forth while it lasts.