The Lighthouse starring both Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattison is surely a sight to behold. All respect for Willem Dafoe aside, today we’ll be taking a closer look behind one of the upcoming actors of our generation and a personal favourite, Robert Pattinson. In an industry where actors could land themselves the role of a lifetime — launching them to superstardom — simply because of a franchise deal, such as Robert Downey Jr’s portrayal of Iron Man or even Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, look no further than Robert Pattinson of making a contract deal with the devil itself. To see him, “spectacularly” crash and burn being on the receiving end of the agreement, of course.
Hollywood both in its independent and blockbuster scene had a similar process of typecasting their roles into their romantic films. Robert’s physical appearance and facial features were immediately type-casted as the dreamy lover boy that Hollywood were looking for at the time landing him in minor roles across many independent films. The 18-year-old actor eventually made his major debut in the Harry Potter movie franchise through a supporting role in its 4th installment. He landed the breakout role alongside the British’s renowned newspaper The Times commending him as Britain’s Star of Tomorrow. Only a few would suspect the insurmountable treachery that befell him once he undertook the dreaded Hollywood contract.
Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight saga adaptation into film seemed like the perfect opportunity for Robert Pattinson to branch out as an actor and deliver his macabre acting skills that he had in his British plays. However, strict leniency to the source material and the director’s intentions shirked Robert’s ability to develop his acting skills. In addition, Meyer had personally handpicked Robert Pattinson to be “her vampire” without extensive audition tapes or role calls proved to be a crawling warning for the actor to back out. The reason for this was that Robert has already looked like a vampire with whitish pale skin and his sharp features. His character served as an extension to service female audiences as a “boy-toy” rather than develop the integrity and traits of the blooded vampire. The end result? A vampire that literally sucks in the worst way possible. Do not forget, he sparkles in the sunlight on top of it.
For better or for worse, his breakout role as the star-studded sparkling vampire brought Pattinson worldwide fame. Despite this, he had shrunk his recognition to being the “lover boy” persona that most Hollywood studios were waning on at the time. He starred in a few small independent films such as Remember Me (2010) and Water for Elephants (2011) but had not gained any traction as he had from Twilight. Furthermore, the studios were changing their personification of the romantic as Hollywood slowly modernised itself. This may have been it, the plateau of his career with Twilight being the twilight years the actor never asked for.
Fortunately, his last film Metropolis (2012) resonated with both critics and audiences alike, grossing decently on the box office. It is more important to note that his staggering role as Paul Giamatti, a cold-hearted and calculated billionaire, gained major praise from audiences and critics — subverting their expectations. His responses and general enthusiasm improved greatly as compared to interviews in previous films.
The film in its entirety affected Pattinson greatly as he personally used it as a springboard to further expand his acting career. It wasn’t long before he revived his career; choosing to act in small-budget independent films rather than blockbuster films. Pattinson reinvented himself to be more diverse, finally utilising his macabre acting skills in multiple roles across film. Films like the Lost City of Z, Bel Ami and futuristic sci-fi western’s The Rover brought Pattinson genuine happiness. Even though he had not gained mainstream popularity of being in the spotlight, it felt like my favourite actor was finally on the verge of being someone really special among the limelight and a personal favourite of indie filmmakers as well.
Landing in small-time films such as the Lost City of Z, Bel Ami and The Rover, they all shared one thing in common. There were all passive roles that Pattinson had been playing back to back in succession. Pattinson demanded a more active role, preferring the center stage for a change, driving the plot forwards instead of being a reactive character alongside star-studded actors. The Safdie Brothers, Josh and Benny Safdie, worked around the idea of Pattinson reappearing into the spotlight as a dominant lead role creating the manipulative “Connie” in Good Time. Similarly, they created the lead character using Pattinson’s traits and characteristics as the core concept. The end result? An accomplishment where the actor feels invisible, fully blending into the character situated in the Chicago-style hectic environment. A Great Time indeed.
His transition from the one dimensional actor to the multi-talented actor filled with little nuances has proved to be the underrated comeback story that I personally had the pleasure of displaying to the readers. Targeted for his massive comeback in the media industry with the superhero genre on the rise alongside with independent films gaining substantive popularity, anything is open for the actor at this point. May good times lie ahead for Robert Pattinson and his endeavours.
Written by Kishaun Xavier
Cover photo credits: Kishaun Xavier (from Google Images)