From his very on-screen debut, Robert Pattinson has been trying to shake his pretty-boy image, appearing in the fourth instalment of the successful Harry Potter franchise, The Goblet of Fire, a debut film role that would spark an extraordinary modern career. In modern cinema, Pattinson takes on a more eclectic identity, remaining a heartthrob whilst appearing in some of the most enigmatic films of world cinema.
Back in 2008, it was Twilight that would spark the actor’s career like a tinderbox, taking him from a teenage pin-up boy to a serious actor in the space of five movies that ended with Breaking Dawn: Part 2 in 2012. Whilst his role as the pale-faced vampire Edward Cullen seized the attention of young audiences, his mingling roles in more adult pictures Remember Me and Water for Elephants in 2010 and 2011 respectively would accelerate his career onwards.
Starring as a billionaire asset-manager riding in a limousine across Manhattan, David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis would change the career path of the actor for good, showing off a peculiar malaise that would suggest a future for the actor rich in complexity. Going through a ‘Pattaisaance’, akin to the rejuvenated career of fellow actor Matthew McConaughey, these days Pattinson is considered as one of the greatest leading actors of the modern generation.
There’s no greater ode to this truth than the fact that Pattinson will soon take on the role of the caped crusader himself in The Batman, a role previously helmed by some of Hollywood’s finest actors including George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Christian Bale and Michael Keaton. The brand new take on the character from director Matt Reeves looks to be bringing a far darker tone, with the likes of Zoë Kravitz, Colin Farrell, Paul Dano and Andy Serkis joining Pattinson in the ensemble cast.
Robert Pattinson has had plenty of time to reflect on his extraordinary career too, with the course of his acting life being influenced by a handful of particular films. As the actor told Rotten Tomatoes, no film had as big an impact on his youth as Miloš Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. “Not because I was in a mental home or anything, but that character influenced me so much when I was 15 or 16, and bits of it stuck with me,” Pattinson jokingly clarifies before going on to explain just why he loves the film so much.
“A lot of that kind of ‘putting your middle finger up to the world’ attitude — not that I really have that, but…I used to be so timid, and that was one of those films that [helped me break out], by pretending to be [Jack Nicholson’s character] Randle,” Pattinson revealingly explains. Finding comfort in the bravado and charisma of Nicholson’s Oscar-winning lead performance, Pattinson would take what he learned from this iconic role onwards into his early films.
In contemporary cinema, this same confidence can certainly be felt from Pattinson, leading Claire Denis’ complicated science fiction High Life as well as Robert Eggers’ wild gothic horror alongside Willem Dafoe. Take a look at the trailer for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The classic film that helped Robert Pattinson “break out” the film that changed Pattinson’s life, below.