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Robert Pattinson's Best Movie Roles To Date

Robert Pattinson began his acting career before he was even 20 years old. His first performances were on the stage as a teenager, with his earliest credited onscreen role in the 2004 TV movie "Sword of Xanten." The next year saw Pattinson break out as Cedric Diggory in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," but the attention he received barely prepared him for what would come next.

2008's "Twilight" thrust Pattinson into the limelight as he became a household name for his portrayal of the vampiric lover Edward Cullen. He hasn't been shy about his disdain for the films, as we can see in an interview with Empire (via Gizmodo), and he's tried to avoid the prying eyes that came with his "Twilight" fame and public relationship with costar Kristen Stewart.

Since then, Pattinson has worked hard to separate himself from the stereotype of the romantic lead, taking roles that range from a morally bankrupt preacher to a futuristic billionaire to a would-be lighthouse keeper. His unique choice of films and unwavering dedication to delivering strong performances led GQ to call Pattinson "the perfect modern movie star" in 2019. He might be loved –- or hated –- for his part in "Twilight," but the path he's walked since is nothing short of astonishing.

Connie Nikas – Good Time

"Good Time" is a 2017 film directed by brothers Josh and Benny Safdie, the duo behind "Uncut Gems." The story follows Connie Nikas, a down-and-out criminal in New York City. When Connie and his brother Nikolas rob a bank, an exploding dye bag ruins most of their pilfered cash and lands Nikolas in jail. Connie manages to escape, but rather than leave his brother behind, he spends the rest of the film trying to secure Nikolas' freedom, even as the stakes grow higher.

In an interview with The Guardian, directors Josh and Benny Safdie explained that Robert Pattinson reached out to the two of them via email. He'd seen their 2014 film "Heaven Knows What" and wanted to get involved with whatever they were working on next. "To me, he was just an interesting guy chasing interesting work," Josh Safdie said. After some initial hesitancy, they cast Pattinson as the film's lead. The Safdie brothers couldn't have made a better decision: The film was critically acclaimed, with much attention going to the power of Pattinson's performance.

Monte – High Life

By 2019, Robert Pattinson was no stranger to science fiction, but "High Life," written and directed by Claire Denis, particularly captured his attention. Denis explained in an interview with Cahiers du Cinema that Pattinson reached out to the person doing English casting for the film to express his interest in working on the project. "I thought he was too young ... His desire to work with me has never faltered." Pattinson himself told GQ that he didn't fully understand the script when he read it, but he loved that "it had really, really big elements, which were really striking, but then very sparse in how it all comes together."

In "High Life," a group of prisoners are essentially sentenced to death by black hole. They are loaded onto a ship and tasked with performing scientific experiments as they approach their inevitable end. Pattinson's Monte has a daughter while aboard the ship, and the two of them are ultimately the last survivors plunging past the event horizon. Pattinson prepared for the film by watching interviews with inmates on death row. "Just to see what people's eyes look like when you know you're not gonna ... be let out of jail, ever. And trying to figure out how you construct some kind of life for yourself." The film's nonlinear storytelling focuses on creating emotional resonance. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the strategy paid off with critics but alienated general audiences. Love it or hate it, there's nothing else quite like "High Life."

Eric Packer – Cosmopolis

After Don DeLillo released his acclaimed novel "Cosmopolis" in 2003, David Cronenberg quickly signed on to write and direct a film adaptation. "Cosmopolis" would feature one of Robert Pattinson's first leading roles after the massive success of the "Twilight" franchise. DeLillo's novel presented a prescient view of financial collapse which led many to see the film as a commentary on the Occupy Wall Street movement, though Cronenberg said in an interview with Den of Geek, "They didn't inform the film at all because we really just stuck to the script."

Pattinson plays Eric Packer, a 28-year-old billionaire asset manager living in a futuristic version of Manhattan. The film's plot is fairly straightforward. Eric takes his stretch limo across town to get a haircut, but as he makes his trip, he encounters a cast of characters who start to unravel his life and his financial security. Pattinson shines in the film and proves that he's more than capable of breathing life into characters who aren't brooding vampires. It doesn't hurt that he's surrounded by phenomenal costars like Juliette Binoche and Paul Giamatti.

Thomas – The Lighthouse

"The Lighthouse" is director Robert Egger's follow-up to his 2015 period drama horror film "The Witch." It was shot in black-and-white with a nearly square aspect ratio, and it stars Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as the only characters with speaking roles. Dafoe plays a surly, seasoned lighthouse keeper, and Pattinson is the new apprentice joining him on an isolated island for a six-week stretch of hard labor.

Little more can be said about the surreal plot without spoiling the film, but "The Lighthouse" is really a vehicle for two spectacular actors to play off each other. The production went to great lengths to help the two stars bring as much realism to their performances as possible. The film was shot at Cape Forchu in Nova Scotia, where the crew built an actual lighthouse station and blasted the actors with a firehose when the weather wasn't properly dreary. The method was "exhilarating," Pattinson told the L.A. Times. "Willem can actually act. I have to literally just say, 'Please hit me with a shovel.' So I appreciate the fire hose at the end of the day." Egger's film is hilarious, horrifying, and sometimes downright disturbing, but at every moment the talent on display is astounding.

Henry Costin – The Lost City of Z

"The Lost City of Z" is based on a book by David Grann that tells the true story of 20th-century explorer Percy Fawcett. Over the course of several years, Fawcett traveled to Brazil searching for an ancient city that he believed was lost in the Amazon rainforest. Eventually, Fawcett went into the forest and never returned. His whereabouts still remain unknown.

Director James Gray adapted the film for the screen. Released in 2016, it stars Charlie Hunnam as Percy Fawcett, Robert Pattinson as his fellow explorer Henry Costin, and Tom Holland as Fawcett's son, Jack. Pattinson told Collider that Gray was "in my top five of people I wanted to work with," having crossed paths with the director several times over the years.

Pattinson has never looked less like Edward Cullen than he does in "The Lost City of Z." To get into character for the role he grew out a bushy beard and lost a significant amount of weight. He explained to Collider that the beard is an anachronism: The real Henry Costin had a "big Victorian mustache" that Pattinson couldn't properly pull off. Historical inaccuracies aside, Pattinson brings real life to his supporting role and makes the film better for it.

Rey – The Rover

When most people hear about a dystopian action film set in the Australian Outback, "Mad Max" comes to mind, but David Michôd's "The Rover" takes a similar setting and replaces campiness and cars with gritty realism. The film takes place a decade after economic collapse ruins society and stars Guy Pearce as the wandering Eric, who, after a gang steals his car and last remaining possessions, teams up with Robert Pattinson's Rey for a revenge quest.

"The Rover" was Robert Pattinson's first feature film after the official ending of the "Twilight" saga. He told The Guardian that he particularly enjoyed the opportunity to act in a supporting role. "There's something about not having to drive the story forward. You can just be the condiment. It's really kind of freeing just being the sidekick weirdo." The film debuted to mixed reception, but the performances were unanimously praised. One reviewer for The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "Pattinson delivers a performance that, despite the character's own limitations, becomes more interesting as the film moves along, suggesting that the young actor might indeed be capable of offbeat character work."

Charles Marker/The Leader – The Childhood of a Leader

The fact that "The Childhood of a Leader" is one of Robert Pattinson's best-reviewed films just goes to show that he follows his own passions and interests when choosing a new project, with little concern for how much screen time he'll get in a particular film. Pattison's role in Brady Corbet's directorial debut is small but wildly impactful. The 2015 film is based on a short story of the same name written by Jean-Paul Sartre about the rise of fascism in the 20th century, but it approaches that weighty subject through a plot that is ostensibly a family drama.

Pattinson plays two roles in the film. He first appears as Charles Marker, the friend of an American diplomat who's raising his family in France while negotiating the Treaty of Versailles. Near the end of the film, Pattison reappears as the titular leader in a startling revelation. Director Brady Corbet said to The Guardian that he's "yearning for people to push the medium forward," and "The Childhood of a Leader" is an attempt at making that push. The film is a divisive but beautiful piece of work.

Neil – Tenet

Of the two feature films starring Robert Pattinson in 2020, "Tenet" was undoubtedly the most well-known. It came from acclaimed director Christopher Nolan and also starred John David Washington, Elizabeth Debicki, and Kenneth Branagh. The story is filled with mind-bending time travel concepts which would leave some viewers confused about the ending, but solid performances and jaw-dropping visuals keep the film entertaining even at its most perplexing moments.

Christopher Nolan is known for being secretive about his projects, and Robert Pattinson got to experience that secrecy firsthand. The actor told GamesRadar that he initially got a call asking him to meet Nolan at his home. When he got there, Nolan didn't come right out and ask him to be in the film. Instead, they had a "lovely chat" and "must have gone for about three hours without a single mention of why we were doing the meeting." Finally, Nolan opened up about the project and let Pattinson read the script. Pattinson enthusiastically signed onto the project, and then, the very first day he was filming "Tenet," he got his role in "The Batman."

Jerome – Maps to the Stars

Two years after working with David Cronenberg on "Cosmopolis," Robert Pattinson reunited with the director for "Maps to the Stars." Pattinson plays a limo driver who's also an aspiring screenwriter. Cronenberg and Pattinson had planned to work together on the film back when "Cosmopolis" debuted, and Pattinson later told The Independent, "It's like 'Cosmopolis' was the audition for this: 'Well he fits into a limo, why look for someone else?"

"Maps to the Stars" is led by Julianne Moore and Mia Wasikowska, following a washed-up Hollywood actress and a troubled child star as their lives intertwine and ultimately unravel. This is another example of Robert Pattinson taking on a supporting role despite his history as the leading man in the "Twilight" films. "It's quite nice doing small parts," he told The Independent. "I get to work with who I want to work with and it's not my fault if it doesn't make any money."

Jacob Jankowski – Water for Elephants

Released in 2011, "Water for Elephants" is one of the few films Robert Pattinson worked on in the midst of his "Twilight" years. Richard LaGravanese adapted the screenplay from a 2006 novel of the same name written by Sara Gruen. It was directed by Francis Lawrence, who's also known for his work on "I Am Legend" and the final two "Hunger Games" films.

"Water for Elephants" takes place in the 1930s and follows Jacob Jankowski (Pattinson), who joins a traveling circus as an animal caretaker after a family tragedy forces him to leave veterinary school. He falls in love with Marlena Rosenbluth (Reese Witherspoon) as the two bond over their compassion for the circus' elephants, but they're opposed by Marlena's abusive husband August (Christoph Waltz). Pattison told Collider that he knew he wanted to be a part of the film after meeting some of the real-life elephants he would be working with on the project. While filming, he used "strategically placed mints" on his body to entice the elephants to be more friendly with him. "Water for Elephants" falls in line with Pattinson's reputation as a romantic lead rather than the eccentric indie star he would become, but there's no denying that he shines in the role.

Preston Teagardin – The Devil All the Time

Robert Pattinson worked with Netflix for his second film of 2020. "The Devil All the Time" sees Pattinson star alongside Bill Skarsgård, Sebastian Stan, Riley Keough, and his former "The Lost City of Z" costar Tom Holland. Director Antonio Campos worked with Paulo Campos to adapt the film from a 2011 novel by Donald Ray Pollock, a psychological thriller centered on a backwoods town filled with an array of sinister characters all pursuing their own ends, regardless of the cost to others.

In the film, Pattinson plays the corrupt evangelical preacher Preston Teagardin. Pattinson worked meticulously on developing his character's accent, preferring to go it alone instead of working with a dialect coach because "there's just something about some pronunciations that just really tickle me" (via Netflix Film Club). The film received mixed reviews from critics, with most acknowledging that the lackluster story was offset by incredible performances from the main cast members.