Wow. After watching Robert Pattinson basically grow up in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the Twilight saga and Water for Elephants, I'd basically give up hope that the twentysomething heartthrob could escape his soft-spoken typecasting and become the next Johnny Depp or Leonardo Dicaprio. But after a few snippets of scenes from his latest indie period drama Bel Ami, I'm starting to wonder if he's been hiding his real talents in order to survive the Twi-hards!
Based on a novel by Guy de Maupassant, Pattinson stars as George Duroy, a cunning former-soldier in 1890s Paris who uses his powers of seduction to sleep his way to the top. Co-starring are Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci as the various women Pattinson romances to their breaking point.
Period dramas always run the risk of becoming stuffy and impenetrable (think most of the Merchant Ivory flicks), but Bel Ami is up in the air. On one hand, the actual plot is difficult to follow (he marries who? sleeps with who? buys his top hat from who?), but on the other, Pattinson looks to extricate serious emotion here—to the point of veins popping on his forehead. That alone may make this one worth seeking out.
News of Thurman's broken engagement to the Swiss businessman hit the headlines on Tuesday (08Dec09), and prompted gossips and bloggers to start speculating that her new beau Pattinson - the actress' co-star in the upcoming Bel Ami - was behind the break-up.
A spokesperson for the Kill Bill star has confirmed she parted ways with Busson two months ago - but insists she won't meet with the Twilight star until they begin filming the drama next year (10).
The rep tells GossipCop.com, "That is actually funny. Uma hasn't even been in the same room as Pattinson."
Thurman will play a wealthy woman who is seduced by Pattinson's younger character in the movie, an adaptation of Guy de Maupassant's 1885 novel.
The Brit has been bombarded with scripts ever since he shot to fame as vampire Edward Cullen in the hit 2008 film - but he's still adjusting to the idea of being able to reject a role after years of taking whatever parts came his way.
And Pattinson admits he's nervous about being cast in big-budget movies - because he's only starred in one other film, Remember Me, since the Twilight series changed his life.
He tells MTV.com, "It's definitely different. You get offered stuff that you would never dream of getting offered before, but that's also scary. You don't have to audition for anything. (But) I don't want to do a movie just so it gets made. You have to question yourself a lot more. Before Twilight, I did any movie that I got (offered), and you'd try and make the best of it afterwards. But now, you're expected to come into the movie and provide not only economic viability, but also a performance as well. You can't just mess around. People are like, 'We're employing you to be here, as a star and an actor.' It's difficult, and it's scary."
But the 23 year old can expect some good advice about the movie business from the high-profile actors he's set to work with, including Uma Thurman, Rachel Weisz and Hugh Jackman.
He adds, "I'm doing a movie (with Thurman) called Bel Ami in February, an adaption to a Guy de Maupassant novel. And I'm doing - I hope - a Western with Rachel Weisz and Hugh Jackman called Unbound Captives sometime around there as well. They've got to try and juggle things around until everybody's schedules work."
The British hunk has become a megastar since landing the role of vampire Edward Cullen in the hugely successful Twilight franchise, but he insists he's most content portraying "weirdos" in independent films.
He tells Vanity Fair magazine, "There's no point (doing an action blockbuster) - I mean, I don't have any material desires at all. I wear the same clothes every single day. I don't buy anything. And I don't go out anymore either!"
Instead, Pattinson has chosen a low-budget Western based on the book Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant as his next movie project, playing a man who "thinks like an animal" and "just rips off and screws over all of his friends".
He says, "(When you play a weirdo), you can always have an excuse... 'He's a weirdo!'"