The Lost City of Z star Robert Pattinson has effortlessly made the move from teen heartthrob to indie darling over the last five years. The English actor first came to prominence as Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter. Then came the Twilight phenomenon, with Pattinson making millions of young hearts flutter as sparkly vampire Edward Cullen.
Where that might have condemned other young actors to a career in teen dramas and fluffy romantic comedies however, Pattinson has made consistently interesting career choices, foregoing films with mainstream appeal to work with interesting directors on more challenging material.
So here’s a look at how Pattinson has shaped one of Hollywood’s most interesting careers via six of his most interesting post-Twilight flicks…
Released the year the final film in the vampire franchise hit screens, Cosmopolis was Pattinson’s first collaboration with master of the macabre David Cronenberg. Based on the 2003 novel of the same name by Don DeLillo, the film revolves around Eric Packer (Pattinson), a young billionaire travelling across Manhattan in his stretch limo to get a haircut. Over the course of that journey, he has sex, discusses the meaning of life, loses a large chunk of his wealth, and shoots himself in the hand. Which might have shocked some R-Patz fans, but earned Rob the best reviews of his career.
The Rover (2014)
Set 10 years after economic collapse has turned Australia into a lawless wasteland, The Rover sees Pattinson deliver a complex, nuanced performance as Rey, a simple soul struggling to survive. The film kicks off with a robbery gone wrong, bringing Rey into contact with Eric (Guy Pearce), a loner hell-bent on retrieving his stolen car, for reasons that are revealed in the film’s closing scenes. Directed by David Michod, it’s a bleak journey, though Pattinson’s character does supply a few (brief) moments of hope and humanity.
Maps to the Stars (2014)
Another Cronenberg collaboration, this time a weird and sometimes wonderful Hollywood satire that also stars Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska and John Cusack. The plot concerns a troubled former child star, an actress whose fame is fast fading, and a TV psychologist who specialises in celebrity clients. Pattinson plays a limo driver with dreams of being a screenwriter. A character that’s loosely based on the film’s actual writer, Bruce Wagner.
Life stars Pattinson as Dennis Stock, the photographer who shot then-unknown James Dean for Life magazine just before the release of East of Eden. The film charts the friendship that forms between the pair as they drink and party their way from Los Angeles to New York, where Stock takes iconic pictures of the soon-to-be-star in Times Square. They also pay a visit to Dean’s family home in Indiana, where Stock takes more candid photos that get to the heart of the man. Pattinson is excellent as the photographer, but Dane DeHaan steals the film as Dean.
The Childhood of a Leader (2015)
This critically acclaimed historical drama is a coming-of-age film with a twist, as the child in question grows up to become a fascist leader. Tom Sweet plays the boy in question, an American lad living in France in 1919, the signing of the Treaty of Versaille giving birth to his megalomaniacal ego as well as fascism itself. A startling debut from director Brady Corbet, Scott Walker provides a terrifying score, while Pattinson plays two parts – a friend of the young boy’s parents, and another role that we won’t spoil here.
The Lost City of Z (2016)
Telling the true story of explorer Percy Fawcett – a real-life Indiana Jones – The Lost City of Z follows his journeys into the Amazon 100 years ago. His mission – to discover evidence of an advanced civilisation that once inhabited the region. Charlie Hunnam plays Fawcett, who mysteriously disappeared in 1925, while Pattinson is his ‘aide-de-camp’, meaning you get two heartthrobs for the price of one.
So those were six of the best. And with films for directors like Claire Denis, Olivier Assayas and Harmony Korine in the pipeline, it looks like Robert Pattinson will continue to defy expectations and make interesting career choices that mine material a million miles away from his Twilight beginnings.