Robert Pattinson looks back on when he was nearly fired from Twilight and explains what led up to it. In just under a month’s time, Pattinson will add another iconic role to his filmography with The Batman. He’ll play a darker, more tortured version of Bruce Wayne for the Matt Reeves film. The Batman, along with Christopher Nolan’s Tenet in 2020, marks Pattinson’s return to traditional studio movies after spending years in the independent world. His time with more artsy fare was an interesting departure from where he began his career, as he became a household name by playing vampire Edward Cullen in The Twilight Saga.
Opposite Kristen Stewart’s Bella Swan, Pattinson helped bring Stephanie Meyer’s young adult paranormal romance series to life across 5 movies, all of which proved to be box office sensations. Fans swooned over Edward and Bella’s star-crossed romance, though Pattinson has spent the years since Twilight ended making light of the entire series. Nevertheless, it remains his best-known role, though The Batman will likely end up challenging that in just a few weeks.
Pattinson has spoken openly about how he was in danger of being fired during the filming of 2008’s Twilight. In a recent career retrospective video with GQ, he reflected on that time and explained that there was tension between him and studio Summit Entertainment over how he wished to play Edward. A warning from his management got Pattinson to change his performance. He said:
“I was 21 and kind of wanted to make it as arty as possible. So I was kind of – we had this strange tension where the studio was kind of a little bit scared to make things a little bit too emo and stuff, and I thought that was the only way to play it. It just seems so ridiculous talking about it now because I was literally – I spent so much time just infuriated. That’s definitely something about being 21 as well, ’cause I can’t believe the way I was acting half the time, like when I think back on it. The scene when Edward introduces Bella to his family the first time, I remember that being the day because my agent and my manager came up as a surprise visit. And I was like, ‘Oh, hey!’ I just thought everything was fine. And then at lunch, they were like, ‘Okay, so whatever you’re doing right now, after lunch, just do the opposite, or you’ll be fired by the end of the day.’ And I was like, ‘Okay!’ And so, that was the only [way] they got me to sort of smile a bit.”
Pattinson then went on to say that if he had played Edward to be more lighthearted, he believed it would’ve made him look “even more like a psychopath.” Twilight has inspired a good number of memes and jokes over the years, and indeed, many of them revolve around Pattinson’s emo approach to Edward’s demeanor. However, he was probably right in taking that approach anyway; after all, Edward is 107-year-old vampire in love with a human. That kind of scenario lends itself to self-torment, and Pattinson knew to bring that out.
The studio might’ve worried about Pattinson’s Twilight performance, but it’s clear it didn’t have to be too concerned. His Edward launched countless daydreams and created some fervent supporters. It’s hard to imagine the Twilight movies without Pattinson. Luckily, he knew better than to push the studio too far and was able to hold onto his job. Now, years later, he’s moving onto another bat-adjacent role (as many jokes like to point out), and it doesn’t sound like he was ever in danger of losing that role. Twilight is just a fond memory now for this wide-ranging actor.
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