Robert Pattinson has been every teenager's dream ever since he first played the role of Edward Cullen in the Twilight Saga. Knowing how difficult it is to prove yourself as a serious actor once you have been labeled such a star, he now works on picking out more grown-up roles and producing movies he himself thinks are worthy.
Robert Douglas Thomas Pattinson, as is his full name, was born in London. His father, Richard, was an importer of vintage cars from the US, and his mother, Clare, worked at a modeling agency. Pattinson also has two older sisters, Victoria and Elizabeth, who is a singer. ‘Up until I was twelve, my sisters used to dress me up as a girl and introduce me as Claudia! Twelve was a turning point as I moved to a mixed school and then I became cool and discovered hair gel’, Pattinson says. He didn’t like school very much and describes his childhood self as a kind of a loner. He says he didn’t have a girlfriend until he was eighteen. ‘My favourite teacher was probably my English teacher because she got me into writing instead of just answering the question. I used to hand in homework with twenty pages of nonsense and she’d still mark it. She was a really amazing teacher’, he said, but also added that: ‘I wasn’t at all focused on school, and I didn’t achieve much. But I’ve got a sense of urgency now. I feel I can’t let any more time waste away.’
What Pattinson has been good at, and enjoyed as a distraction, was firstly – music. ‘I have been playing the piano for my entire life, since I was three or four. And the guitar – I used to play classical guitar from when I was about five to twelve years of age. Then I didn’t play guitar for like years. About four or five years ago, I got out the guitar again and just started playing blues and stuff. I am not very good at the guitar, but I am all right. I am in a band in London as well.’
Soon, Pattinson became involved in amateur theatre at the Barnes Theatre Company and began auditioning for different roles. When he played a part in Tess of the d’Urbervilles, he caught the eye of an acting agency who inspired him to look for professional roles.
Pattinson’s first screen role was in a German television film Ring of the Nibelungs in 2004, and then in Mira Nair’s Vanity Fair. In 2005, he got a part of Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which turned out to be a complete game changer for him. This role got him a wide visibility as an actor, both for the audiences and the critics, and he was soon called the next Jude Law. ‘The day before the Harry Potter London premiere, I was just sitting in Leicester Square, happily being ignored by everyone. Then suddenly strangers are screaming your name. Amazing.‘ Pattinson had to get used to having his name screamed, as the role of his life was yet to come. Although he shot somewhat smaller productions in 2006 and 2007, like The Haunted Airman and The Bad Mother’s Handbook, both made for television, in 2008 he got the lead male role in the film Twilight, based on Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling novel.
Twilight was the kind of a film that marked a whole generation of movie-goers. With teenagers as its main target audience, it created such hype that, soon, many other projects in the film industry were inspired to create stories with the similar theme – of vampires and werewolves. Pattinson became a movie star in the blink of an eye. Speaking at the time, Pattinson said, ‘Everything has become more intense for six months, since Twilight was released. It’s hard to handle what’s happening to me. I don’t have necessary hindsight, even if only to find a way out to this situation. But this celebrity thing, you can’t fight it, it’s useless, you can’t avoid it. When it’s not something you desired during your whole life, or something you don’t aspire to, you’re free not to care about it. I didn’t sign for Disney. There’s not a stipulation which forces me to smile to the paparazzi’, he said. ‘Twilight is a metaphor for the virtues of chastity, but it’s had the opposite effect. I get letters that say – I’m going to kill myself if you don’t watch High School Musical 2 with me. It’s a little nuts.’
Also in 2008, Pattinson appeared in a low-budget film How to Be. He then portrayed Salvador Dalí in Little Ashes and starred in a short film called The Summer House, which later on became a part of the Love & Distrust anthology.
In 2009, Pattinson starred in the first of many sequels of Twilight – The Twilight Saga: New Moon. The film was an even greater success than the first one from the series. That same year, due to his popularity, Pattinson got to present at the 81st Academy Awards. Even a DVD documentary Robsessed was released by Revolver Entertainment, talking about Pattinson’s life and popularity.
In 2010, Pattinson starred in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. He also produced and appeared in the film Remember Me. In 2011, he appeared in Water for Elephants and then in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1. In 2012, he played a role in Bel Ami, as well as in Cosmopolis by David Cronenberg and then in the final film of the series: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2.
In 2013, Pattinson became the new face of Dior Homme Fragrances. In 2014, he appeared in The Rover and then, worked with Cronenberg once more in Maps to the Stars. In 2015, he appeared in Queen of the Desert alongside Nicole Kidman and in the film Life, as well as in The Childhood of a Leader. In 2016, he appeared in The Lost City of Z.
Currently, he is working on different projects to be released soon such as Good Time and Damsel, but one thing is certain – he will not star in another Twilight film. ‘I couldn’t do another Twilight movie, I’m too old’, he says.
Besides acting, Pattinson has also been modeling ever since he was twelve. This career has been going on-and-off for him, but he has a book released of his portraits, by the photographer Nan Goldin, titled Robert Pattinson: 1000 Lives.
Another career of his is being a musician. He sings in two of the songs from the Twilight soundtrack: Never Think and Let Me Sign. He has been composing music to some of other films, like his own called Damsel, which is still in the making.
Pattinson is allergic to the paparazzi. ‘The world would be a much better place, I think, if all these bankers and billionaires were followed by paparazzi’, he says. ‘I’m just trying to not be in stupid gossip magazines, basically, and I think the best way to do it is never be photographed ever. As I get older, I just get more and more self-conscious about getting photographed. I don’t know why. I’ve done it too many times now I feel like everyone can see through me.’
Pattinson says he looks up to Jack Nicholson the most, as his influence. ‘I aspire to be Jack Nicholson. I love his every single mannerism. I used to try and be him in virtually everything I did, I don’t know why. I watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest when I was about thirteen, and I dressed like him. I tried to do his accent. I did everything like him. I think it kind of stuck with me.’
Pattinson is also known for hating auditioning for roles. ‘I just can’t. I literally can’t do it. It’s just me looking uncomfortable, trying to put on an American accent, or sitting in the corner, making myself throw up and punching myself in the face.’
When it comes to charity work, Pattinson is a supporter of the ECPAT UK campaign Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People, as well as The Cancer Bites campaign and Prostate Cancer Research Foundation, and has become the first ambassador of GO Campaign. He is active when it comes to fundraising for different causes, and visited a Children’s Hospital in LA to participate in arts and crafts with the patients. He also autographed a guitar to be auctioned off for charity.
Pattinson has been named twice as the “Sexiest Man Alive” by People Magazine.
In 2008, Pattinson began dating his Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart. The two of them kept their relationship secret at first. In 2012, Us Weekly published photos of Kristen kissing with Rupert Sanders, the director of the film Snow White and the Huntsman, and thus confirming that Kristen was cheating on Pattinson. Kristen released a statement that day, saying: ‘I’m deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I’ve caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected. This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I’m so sorry.‘ Pattinson later on confirmed that they had split, and even though there were rumors of them getting back together, he seemed to have moved on, but criticized the media for making a whole big deal of that incident. ‘That whole system of internet journalists, where no one is called to account is almost entirely about hate. All these people get away with doing it because they have no responsibility to anyone. All they need is to get a salacious headline and people click on it, because it’s easy.’
In 2014, Pattinson began dating the English signer FKA Twigs. In 2015, they got engaged.
When Pattinson and Kristen were still together, they adopted a puppy from a shelter and called him Bear. Although Pattinson loves animals he is scared of horses. ‘I had to get knocked down by a horse’, he said about the time he was shooting Water for Elephants. ‘That was terrifying. It was just one split second but it was a fully grown stallion – I’m kind of relatively scared of horses as well.’
When it comes to his hobbies, besides music, Pattinson likes playing darts and pool.
‘Sometimes I think – to hell with acting, and then I realize I could be working at a shoe shop. Acting is much cooler’, he says. ‘Please don’t give me all my luck now. Make it all stretch. I don’t mind waiting. Make it stretch for seventy years.’
Written by: Tamara Djordjevic