Robert Pattinson may have said he regretted the more embarrassing elements of the Twilight saga, but his part in the upcoming The Batman will prove that the actor benefited from this early, infamous hit. Released in 2008, Thirteen director Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight was almost as hated by critics as it was beloved by its target audience of teenagers. The cinematic adaptation of the phenomenally popular young adult paranormal romance series did serious business at the box office, but the movies treated their subject matter of vampires and werewolves with such earnestness and sincerity that even the stars of the movies cringed at their involvement on occasion
Stars like Michael Sheen and future Oscar winner Rami Malek may have enjoyed their Twilight roles, but both Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson admitted that they felt embarrassed by the series while they were still in the process of making the movies. In the years since the Twilight movies wrapped production, both stars have gone to lengths to ensure that they are better known for more cerebral arthouse fare, though neither Pattison nor Stewart has shied away from big-budget blockbusters either.
While he was still starring as Edward Cullen the teenage vampire, Pattinson famously dismissed his star-making role in Meyer’s blockbuster paranormal romance saga. However, the actor shouldn’t be so quick to regret his biggest hit, as The Batman will soon prove that the series was just what he needed to get his footing in Hollywood. Cringeworthy as it may have been, the Twilight series afforded the actor opportunities to improve his craft outside the mainstream while simultaneously proving that he had the charisma and screen presence necessary to be a blockbuster star, and the movies could even end up influencing the roles he takes on later in his career (including the caped crusader).
Twilight Proved Pattinson’s Blockbuster Potential
Despite a strong supporting role in the Harry Potter series, it’s unlikely that Pattinson would have become the Tenet-starring blockbuster actor he is now without the success of Twilight. The actor may have written off the movies while he acted in them earlier in his screen career, but the saga proved he had blockbuster potential at the box office and left Pattinson an even bigger star than leading lady Kristen Stewart (which unfortunately cannot be said for Taylor Lautner, the Quileute werewolf who has been largely relegated to TV since the series wrapped). As much as fans of the series loved the source novels, there’s no getting around the fact that Twilight’s appeal to its target audience of lovelorn teens fell entirely on the backs of both Stewart and Pattinson, even if they ultimately begrudge the series itself.
The actors needed to be convincing in their roles, but over-the-top enough to make the campy material work and not seem unwatchable-y self-serious. Despite a shaky start, as the Twilight series progressed Stewart and Pattinson proved up for the task, and by the third film in the series, 30 Days of Night director David Slade’s darker Eclipse, the saga had become a self-aware, fun blockbuster thanks to the pair’s chemistry. It was a role that proved Pattinson could make the most of any source material, and that the actor had screen presence to spare despite his relative youth.
The Twilight Movies Gave Him Arthouse Opportunities
Recently seen in the offbeat likes of The Lighthouse and The Devil All the Time, Pattinson has been busily proving he’s more than a blockbuster actor since back in his early Twilight days. His strange Salvador Dali biopic Little Ashes won massive critical attention that a small indie production would usually struggle to earn thanks to the actor’s outsized stardom, and the fame that the Twilight series afforded him led to superb performances in everything from 2012’s Cronenberg drama Cosmopolis to the 2017 Sadfie Brother hit Good Time. Not only did Pattinson prove he has serious range, excelling in everything from quirky comedy to sweaty southern gothic, but these experiences as an arthouse leading man (which he consciously sought out after booking Twilight) broadened his ability to play more interesting and unusual characters, instead of remaining delegated to being an ever-aloof romantic interest. There’s no doubt that the simmering intensity and wide-eyed mania of The Lighthouse will have a part to play in the actor’s interpretation of Batman, and his scene-stealing preacher from The Devil All the Time has the right brio and smarm for the actor to nail the public face of billionaire heir Bruce Wayne (something that even the usually reliably suave Christian Bale struggled with on occasion).
He’s No Stranger To Playing Moody, Dark Leading Men
It was inevitable that fans would make Twilight comparisons ever since Pattinson was announced as the new face of the Batman franchise, as both series see the actor play moody, self-serious antiheroes with a strong moral code who live their life in some way removed from society, but still try to improve it from this distance. Both franchises are also almost as famous for their campy excesses as their more serious elements. It’s a lucky coincidence that Twilight’s vampires are the rare form of fictional bloodsuckers who don’t turn into bats, but the similarities are still there and hard to ignore for both fans and detractors of Pattinson’s onscreen history. But the experience of playing Edward Cullen with his tongue planted firmly in cheek proved that Pattinson had the right balance of stern self-seriousness and sly humor to portray Batman with the same tonal approach that both Christian Bale and Michael Keaton brought to the role before him.
Where Keaton’s interpretation was a cartoonish version of the character for a goofier Tim Burton movie series, Bale’s was a quietly troubled and realistic version of Batman that better fit the more somber Christopher Nolan-directed Dark Knight trilogy. It may seem strange to say, but proving that he could play a 108-year-old 17-year-old Twilight vampire, much like Bale bringing the infamously unadaptable Patrick Bateman to life, was evidence that Pattinson could carry a story that ultimately relies on audiences believing in and rooting for a man dressing up as a bat to fight crime, and the actor can now hope to bring the correct combination of gravitas and levity to a part that has challenged even actors as talented as George Clooney and Val Kilmer. Robert Pattinson may say he is embarrassed by the Twilight saga, but the actor’s work in the blockbuster series and the opportunities it has afforded him since are proof that he’s a perfect fit for The Batman.