In Defence of Robert Pattinson
For all the backlash levied against the Twilight saga, it’s worth remembering that this series of cinematic juggernauts and box office smashes was born not on some Hollywood studio lot, but instead in the fertile Canadian plains. Lionsgate subsidiary Summit Entertainment, whose only box office success up until this point had been American Pie, had followed their pie-fucking smash with a series of financial and artistic debacles, until they saw there was money in the undead. The first Twilight film took nearly half a BILLION dollars worldwide.
That’s half a BILLION, mind you.
Now, say what you will for the film itself, but for one indie producer to take up such a significant portion of the market share with just one cycle of films is almost unheard of, especially given how relatively unknown Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson were before the first film’s release. With that in mind it’s fair to assume that had Paramount or Warner Brothers brought us Twilight, R-Patz wouldn’t be anywhere near it! There probably wouldn’t even be an R-Patz! Face it, Edward Cullen would almost certainly have been Johnny Depp, and dickhead kids with Jack Skellington backpacks who think Tim Burton’s an auteur because he likes spirals and circus music would be flipping their shit. What a world that would be.
Unfortunately, Twilight‘s ubiquity and its association with people who know nothing about film or literature (or, for that matter, vampires) has tarnished – perhaps irreparably – the names of those who starred in it. Kristen Stewart will always be the endlessly annoying Bella; though in fairness, Kristen Stewart would be annoying if she played Mother Teresa. Taylor Lautner will always be Wolfy-Bronze Thing, but Robert? Our Robert? He can be saved.
If we ignore his vampire outings, and the raft of manipulative shite that was Remember Me, we must concede that R-Patz has made some interesting career choices, ones which point to an actor looking to flex his dramatic muscles rather than chasing some teenybopper market. He played Godfather of Surrealism Salvador Dali in Little Ashes and starred as a budding singer/songwriter in the underappreciated How To Be. His next role sees him break character one more, teaming up with David Cronenberg for Cosmopolis, which looks like a welcome return to the type of film with which the director made his name in the 80s. Pattinson’s character is a sado-masochistic city boy hellbent on creating carnage in Manhattan. The trailer looks stylish, violent, and wonderfully intense. Could this be the film that finally establishes Pattinson as an actor to be taken seriously, driving a stake through the heart of Edward Cullen for good?
All actors have to start somewhere, taking whatever roles come their way to make ends meet. It’s only when an actor really makes it big that they can afford to be selective with their parts. George Clooney’s earliest titles include the obviously seminal Return To Horror High and Return Of The Killer Tomatoes!, Brad Pitt’s first roles were uncredited stints as “Guy At Beach With Drink”, “Airport Cop” and “Preppie Guy At Fight”, and Nicolas Cage started off in a TV movie called Best Of Times playing a character called Nicholas, presumably because he’s so fucking shit at acting that he didn’t realise people were talking to him when they referred to him by a different character name. He has since got over that hurdle, good on him.
We are starting to see Robert Pattinson attain the selective privilege that all these actors now have (apart from Cage, who’ll do whatever sweaty bollock of a film that’s offered to him apparently), so why not give him a chance? You never know, he may surprise you – and if he doesn’t, you can always find Stephanie Meyer and kill her.