Like many reluctant heartthrobs, Robert Pattinson is torn between his desire to be taken seriously as an actor and his desire to still look hot. Recently leaked images from the Budapest set of Bel-Ami, based on the 19th-century French novel by Guy de Maupassant, show Pattinson looking dandyish in a top hat and tails as the womanizing social climber Georges Duroy. In almost every way, Pattinson looks the part. Duroy is described in the book as “tall, well-built, fair, with blue eyes, a curled mustache, hair naturally wavy… he recalled the hero of the popular romances.” Anything missing? That’s right: the mustache. Duroy’s luxuriant lip-hair is his most distinctive feature, appearing as early as the second sentence:
After changing his five-franc piece Georges Duroy left the
restaurant. He twisted his mustache in military style and cast a
rapid, sweeping glance upon the diners.
The many subsequent mentions of the mustache make it clear that it is Duroy’s most expressive feature as well:
• On reaching the second floor, he saw another mirror, and once more slackened his pace to look at himself. He likewise paused before the third glass, twirled his mustache, took off his hat to arrange his hair, and murmured half aloud, a habit of his: “Hall mirrors are most convenient.”
• At first he did not reply; a smile lurked beneath his mustache; then he murmured: “I am your slave.”
• Madeleine cast down her eyes; her cheeks were pale. Georges nervously twisted his mustache.
• He seated himself, crossed his legs and began to twist the ends of his mustache, as was his custom when annoyed, uneasy, or pondering over a weighty question.
There is even a sensual description of the mustache in the original French that is strangely shaved off in the English editions. Here’s a rough translation:
• He spoke easily, with charm in his voice, much grace in his eyes, and irresistible seduction in his mustache. It was tousled on his lip, curled, pretty, blonde with red highlights and lighter shades in the spiky hairs on the ends.
Is there a no-mustache clause in Pattinson’s contract? Do his managers feel that a Pringles-guy ‘stache would forever alienate him from the Twilight set, who prefer him looking forever adolescent? Hopefully the filmmakers will add it in post-production.