Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Twilight star Robert Pattinson: this decade’s Leonardo DiCaprio

Bright flashes greeted him at every turn. His face was the centerpiece of every magazine, and his name was a-tip every tongue in the free world. In 1997, Leonardo DiCaprio made his big break with Titanic, and the world would not forget his name.

At twenty-three years old, DiCaprio had already earned one Academy Award nomination for his work with Johnny Depp and Juliette Lewis in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? and had stunned his fair share of audiences with his brilliant portrayal of Jim Carroll in The Basketball Diaries. Some were hard-pressed to forget his name after his newcomer addition to the cast of Growing Pains back in 1991. His work in Romeo + Juliet would capture the hearts of many, and his work with Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, and Russell Crowe in The Quick And The Dead allowed DiCaprio to pass muster with film aficionados the world over. Yet, nothing could prepare DiCaprio for the spotlight that would shine on him after his work as Jack Dawson in the unforgettable and mega-blockbuster hit film Titanic. Opposite the beautiful Kate Winslet, and led by the wise hand of James Cameron, DiCaprio’s work was a sure thing for his success.

Ever since, Leonardo DiCaprio has become the stuff of legends. Earning another two Oscar nominations for his parts in Blood Diamond and The Aviator, DiCaprio fast became a favorite of Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese (who he worked with in The Departed, The Aviator, and Gangs of New York). DiCaprio’s mere presence in a film draws in global audiences. With remarkable films such as Catch Me If You Can in his post-Titanic resume, DiCaprio has been no stranger to hard work and success.

Over a decade ago, though, the road looked murky for this young actor. With his incredible (Titanic, if you will) breakthrough came much subversive speculation about DiCaprio’s personal life. Between the constancy of tabloid agenda, the over-exposure of his very face, and the virtual impossibility of privacy in the thick of it all, DiCaprio stood a chance of falling and never pulling himself back up.

Yet, DiCaprio was able to do so, and now, in 2009, he’s never carried a firmer chin.

Twilight star Robert Pattinson’s recent escalation of fame has certainly endured similar trials. Aspersions cast at him from all angles, Pattinson presently suffers the consequences of being thrust into the limelight. He is unable to walk, talk, eat, or, frankly, breathe without attracting the attention of on-lookers of every demographic.

Also twenty-three and also responsible for the portrayal of many admirable roles, Robert Pattinson has a similar history as DiCaprio. Before Twilight, Pattinson starred in Ring of the Nibelungs, The Haunted Airman, The Bad Mother’s Handbook, and The Summer House. Through these depictions, Pattinson certainly developed a loyal (albeit much smaller) fan-base. Yet, when Pattinson won the part of Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire, his name became evermore recognizable. Still manageable, Pattinson’s star-power was definitely on the rise (much like DiCaprio’s was as a result of work on What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? and Romeo + Juliet).

After Harry Potter, Pattinson starred in two further independent films, effectively showcasing his diverse capacity – How To Be and Little Ashes. Though these projects were completed before Twilight’s release, they would not be released for popular viewing until much later (this spring, in fact).

Meanwhile, his involvement with Summit Entertainment was a-brew. Flying into the United States to audition for the near-impossible position of Edward Cullen in Twilight, Pattinson met with Catherine Hardwicke and Kristen Stewart to try out for the part with the expectation that it might not be his. In fact, Twilight series author Stephenie Meyer was noted to say that Pattinson was not precisely what she had in mind when developing the character in her stories. Fans retained a similar reservation, until things progressed.

Now, Pattinson’s portrayal of Edward Cullen is questioned by near to no one. His performance clenched wildly to the fluttering hearts of Twilight fans and society generally without pause.

Much like DiCaprio captivated the hearts and minds of the masses with Jack Dawson, Robert Pattinson has drawn wide audiences and, to put it mildly, fans the world over.

Once his films How To Be and Little Ashes were released, the fan-dom of Pattinson was marked completely evident with their successes in the wider marketplace.

Invited to present at the Academy Awards, being auctioned off at the amfAR event at Cannes, and becoming affiliated with film project after film project, Pattinson’s number has certainly risen.

Already finished with his work on The Twilight Saga: New Moon (and filming his next Summit Entertainment project Remember Me (alongside giants like Pierce Brosnan and Chris Cooper)), Pattinson will also join sides with Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz in Unbound Captives and bring to life Guy de Maupassant novel Bel Ami as well.

The downside of Hollywood glory, though, has mightily come alongside his popularity, and speculation and dissension has accompanied his last year’s ride almost incessantly, and it doesn’t look to be ceding any time soon.

Yet, Robert Pattinson keeps a steady grin and a proud face. Some fans even state that Pattinson’s most endearing feature is his ability to remain focused, serene, and sincere amidst the constant chaos that surrounds him. Others fear that Pattinson’s bravery and tolerance, however, will fade and he will become disillusioned and alienated with the game in its entirety.

The same fears existed a decade ago with Titanic star Leonardo DiCaprio, who forced himself through the throngs of on-lookers and rarely escaped the media spotlight for more than a day or two at a time. If true, DiCaprio might serve as a proper example of Pattinson’s future in the entertainment business.

With promise, talent, and good looks to boot, Pattinson might find himself, a decade from now, looking over his shoulder at rampant photographs of the next decade’s victim and let out that youthful, knowing grin as he makes his way to his next stellar and critically-acclaimed film, in peace.


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