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The untold truth of Robert Pattinson

Starring in a huge franchise at a relatively young age can be a lucrative but tough gig for a fresh-faced actor, and it's easy to see how people could possibly crack under the enormous pressure. From the Harry Potter franchise to The Hunger Games to Maze Runner, series like these can catapult an actor to stardom and completely launch their career, but it can also bring unprecedented fame, which can be extraordinarily stressful for someone just coming into their own.

One of the most infamous examples of this skyrocketing path to stardom is Robert Pattinson, who appeared in the massively popular Twilight series as a brooding, handsome vampire vying for the heart of Bella Swan, as played by Kristen Stewart. Thanks to his role as Edward Cullen, Pattinson, along with Stewart, quickly became a tabloid fixture and a household name, and though some actors may have been hindered by this huge change, Pattinson ended up thriving in his post-Twilight years, racking up arthouse titles and even stepping into the shoes of the Caped Crusader. From his humble beginnings on the stage to the height of his fame, here's everything you need to know about Robert Pattinson.

Robert Pattinson got his start in local theater in England

Born in London in 1986, Robert Pattinson started down a very different path when he was younger, getting into music at the early age of four and learning how to play both the guitar and the piano. Later, he would go on to perform acoustic sets at local London clubs with his band or under a stage name, maintaining his musical chops throughout his late teen years and into his early twenties.

However, as he got older, he caught the acting bug in a big way, citing Jack Nicholson and Jean-Paul Belmondo as some of his biggest influences, and though he didn't initially want to get into acting (especially after one of his teachers told him that he should stay away from the drama club because he was so shy), his dad ended up giving him the push he needed to overcome his insecurities, and Pattinson ended up as an extra in a production of Guys and Dolls. Eventually, he ended up appearing in a leading role in Our Town, which led to other big roles in shows like Macbeth and Tess of the d'Urbervilles, all of which put him on the path to his big breakout role.

Robert Pattinson's Harry Potter role earned him a new title

Robert Pattinson ended up scoring his first big break thanks to his stage work, earning a plum supporting role in a massively popular franchise that preceded Twilight. When it came time to cast the role of Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Pattinson ended up scoring the role of the Hufflepuff heartthrob who competes against Harry in the dangerous and difficult Triwizard Tournament. (Cedric also appeared in the previous film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but he was played briefly by a different actor, Joe Livermore). Pattinson benefited from Cedric's expanded role in the fourth film, and though it would be his last appearance in the series, it got him the exposure he needed.

In a post-Potter world, Pattinson received plenty of notice and acclaim; considering that Cedric was a popular, good-looking character who was well-liked by everybody, he couldn't have risen to fame playing a more likable character. He was even hailed as "the next Jude Law" several times over, which definitely indicated that Pattinson was more than just a simple flash in the pan.

Robert Pattinson hated Twilight, but he's since come around

Of course, it's impossible to mention Robert Pattinson without mentioning Twilight, the film that put him on the map. After absolutely bombing another audition in Los Angeles, Pattinson figured he had nothing to lose by the time he got to his Twilight audition. And lo and behold, he booked the role of Edward Cullen, a Washington-dwelling vampire who lives as an eternal teenager and falls in love with a vulnerable human. However, as the years and series continued over five films, it seemed like the level of fame that Twilight brought to Pattinson wasn't entirely welcome

During press tours for the films, Pattinson wasn't quiet about his dislike for both his character and the story. In an interview with Esquire, he described Edward as "the most ridiculous person," even going so far as to say he "hated" Edward so much that he intentionally played him as a self-hating monster. Pattinson then went on to say, "Plus, he's a 108-year-old virgin so he's obviously got some issues there." He also famously went all in on the book's author, Stephenie Meyer, mocking her for being "mad" and for the fact that she clearly saw herself as protagonist Bella Swan. He certainly wasn't alone, considering that plenty of other cast members openly disliked the series and the material that they were given. But recently, it seems Pattinson has mellowed out. The actor says he no longer hates Twilight, and believe it or not, he claims he even has warm memories of his time on the series. 

Robert Pattinson was cut from a huge project

During his stint as Edward Cullen, Robert Pattinson still found time for a few other projects, one of which was an adaptation of the novel Water for Elephants, a story about a particularly dramatic circus company that also starred huge names like Christoph Waltz and Reese Witherspoon. Pattinson plays Jacob Jankowski, a young man who joins a popular circus and meets Marlena (Witherspoon) and her husband August (Waltz), befriending them both despite the fact that he and Marlena fall in love while trying to train Rosie, an especially difficult elephant. 

This might be the first time that Witherspoon and Pattinson appeared on screen together, but it's not the first time that they filmed something together. Long before Twilight and shortly before Harry Potter, Pattinson filmed some scenes for an adaptation of Vanity Fair in which Witherspoon played the leading role of Becky Sharp. Pattinson played her son, but ultimately, his scenes were cut from the final production, a fact he only learned when he showed up for the film's premiere. Witherspoon, for her part, remembers noticing Pattinson during his time on set, and the pair were likely excited to find an opportunity to work together for real further down the road.

Robert Pattinson completely changed his appearance for a role

In a post-Twilight world, both Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson were clearly anxious to reinvent their teen idol images, and while Stewart gravitated to serious roles in arthouse movies like Clouds of Sils Maria (which made her the only American actress to win the César, the French equivalent of an Academy Award), Pattinson explored a huge variety of roles that ranged from romantic dramas to smaller films. One of his most interesting picks was a leading part in writer-director James Gray's The Lost City of Z, which was released in 2017 to positive reviews

The Lost City of Z tells the story of an explorer (played by Charlie Hunnam) trying to find a lost city in the Amazon rainforest, and as Henry Costin, another explorer, Pattinson had to brave the wilds of Ireland and South America during filming. He even took on a dramatic transformation that made him look like an entirely new person, although this step may have been a little more trouble than it was worth. Pattinson grew an enormous beard for the film, which he absolutely hated. Between losing a ton of weight during filming and dealing with the dirty conditions, he called the beard "disgusting" and said he was relieved to be rid of it, but at least it helped distance himself from his teen-heartthrob image.

Some of Robert Pattinson's original music was used in Twilight

Robert Pattinson may not have initially loved his Twilight-related responsibilities, but at least he could offer one of his other talents to the production. The man is big into music, and he frequently writes his own songs. After hearing that the young star was playing songs for several of his castmates on set, Catherine Hardwicke, director of the first Twilight film, expressed serious interest about including some of Pattinson's original music on the film's soundtrack. Eventually, he produced two songs entitled "Never Think" and "Let Me Sign," both of which he co-wrote with musically talented friends. Pattinson was reportedly shy about including his original music, but Hardwicke even went the extra mile by helping Pattinson find a place to lay down the tracks in the first place, letting Pattinson leave his mark on the Twilight series in an even more meaningful way.

Robert Pattinson is a regular philanthropist

In 2015, Robert Pattinson was given a valuable position as the global ambassador for the GO Campaign, an important charity that helps orphans and vulnerable children around the world by working to provide local support as often as possible. As the ambassador, Pattinson helps spread awareness of both the charity and the problems it's trying to tackle, from finding grassroots organizations to help children in need to promoting education for young girls in countries like Cambodia. He also attended events for the organization, which he did long before he even officially became the ambassador. In fact, Pattinson has a long relationship with the GO Campaign, and has frequently helped raise money for the organization by raffling off set visits for films like The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn.

Since gaining such enormous fame in Twilight, Pattinson has clearly worked hard to use his celebrity for as many good causes as possible. The GO Campaign isn't his first brush with charity work, either. One of his first big charitable acts was to appear in the Hope for Haiti telethon in 2010, and he continued working with nonprofits for years. He even hosted a function for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association with Dame Helen Mirren in 2019, cementing himself as an actor who goes beyond his own projects to create some good in the world.

There's a documentary about Robert Pattinson's fame

Appearing in a multi-million dollar franchise, especially one that primarily attracts teenage girls, brings a very different kind of fame, and naturally, Robert Pattinson experienced this particular phenomenon firsthand. Taking on the role of Edward Cullen—a tragic, obsessive romantic hero—made Pattinson a tabloid staple and teen girl magnet, but as far as Pattinson was concerned during the height of Twilight-mania, he was just a gawky, shy guy who hated crowds and had trouble dealing with the obsessive side of fame.

Oddly enough, former Twi-hards (the name given to diehard Twilight fans) and newcomers alike can relive Pattinson's "glory" days with a documentary called Robsessed, directed by Irene Antoniades. However, the documentary doesn't feature interviews with any of Pattinson's castmates or current coworkers (Stewart, Hardwicke, and any other important people from Twilight are conspicuously absent), instead choosing to feature random British tabloid editors and "superfans." Still, it's a fascinating look into just how famous Pattinson really was during the Twilight years.

There's a play about three women who are obsessed with Robert Pattinson

Robsessed isn't the only existing proof of just how obsessed fans, particularly female fans, were with Robert Pattinson during his stint as a sexy, sparkly vampire. During the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which is one of the biggest artistic festivals in the world, a play premiere in the Scottish city called Totally Devoted, which chronicled three women crazy about the young star. Written by Julie Ford, the splay was set in a suburban shopping mall where three women waited hopefully to meet their teen idol, eventually bonding over their love for Pattinson as well as competing to see who might be able to actually meet him.

Apparently, the weirdest part of the show was the enormous cardboard cutout of Pattinson that graced the stage for the entire run time, but other than that, the piece received positive reviews from smaller outlets, praising the idea and the script itself, though it remains to be seen what Pattinson might think about this theatrical achievement.

Robert Pattinson's messy relationship with Kristen Stewart

During his Twilight days, Robert Pattinson was constantly surrounded by cameras, but he might've avoided such frequent tabloid coverage had he not entered into a fairly messy on-again, off-again relationship with his Twilight co-star, Kristen Stewart. When their on-screen romance moved off-screen, reporters took notice. The two tried to keep their relationship mostly under wraps, refusing to officially comment on their dating status, but eventually, they were forced to come clean in the most awkward circumstances possible. 

After being linked to Pattinson for nearly three years, Stewart admitted their relationship was real after she was publicly caught in a romantic rendezvous with older, married director Rupert Sanders, who worked with Stewart on Snow White and the Huntsman. Though Stewart and Pattinson briefly got back together after the scandal, they split for good in 2013. However, in the years since, Pattinson, who is notoriously private about relationships, did indicate that he and Stewart are now on good terms, so perhaps this story doesn't have such a sad ending after all.

Robert Pattinson turned down a huge modeling opportunity

With his chiseled features and slim figure, it's not surprising at all that Robert Pattinson had a brief career as a model, but after an inauspicious start, he was ready to put his modeling career aside and stick with just acting instead. Even though Pattinson modeled when he was younger—during a period of time during which he looked "androgynous," which he figured was the key to his success—once he started looking more definitively masculine, offers started to dry up. Later on in life, in 2010 (right in the middle of Twilight mania), Pattinson was offered a huge contract with Burberry, but turned it down, saying that he was an "actor" and didn't want to become a "brand."

Pattinson would later change his mind on the whole modeling issue. In 2013, he became the face of Dior Homme, the fashion house's signature cologne, and has remained with the brand ever since, proving that when the right opportunity comes along, the star can juggle both enterprises seamlessly.

Robert Pattinson will become young Batman

Robert Pattinson's first true post-Twilight blockbuster was relatively unexpected and somewhat controversial in some circles. In May 2019, it was announced that Pattinson would be making the leap from Forks, Washington, to Gotham City, playing Batman in a new series of films. The 2021 film The Batman, directed by Matt Reeves (known for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and its sequel), will star Pattinson in the leading role as a younger version of the brooding Caped Crusader now that Ben Affleck, who has portrayed Batman in several DCEU films, has hung up his mask.

After setting up an extended film universe with installments like Wonder Woman, it makes sense that DC would want to return to Batman's roots, and though some diehard fans of the Dark Knight might be a bit peeved to see a sparkle vampire step into shoes that have been filled by huge stars like Affleck and Christian Bale, Pattinson has more than proven his acting chops in recent years, and will almost certainly serve as an amazing Batman in his own new series.