In recent years, Robert Pattinson has bravely made a concerted effort to distance himself from his Edward Cullen persona – that of the Twilight Saga's sparkling vampire that made him world famous as a member of a(n insufferable) love triangle also featuring Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner. Writer-director David Michôd's thriller The Rover, co-starring Guy Pearce, is Pattinson's latest attempt to play a character radically different from Edward. (Image: The Rover Robert Pattinson, far from Edward Cullen but uncomfortably close to Guy Pearce.)
Currently filming in Australia and set in the near future following worldwide financial collapse (unclear if caused by the recent controversial Cyprus bailout non-deal), The Rover features Robert Pattinson as a kind-hearted Australian Outback gang member. Guy Pearce, who had previously roamed the Australian Outback in high heels and outlandish costumes as one of the flaming drag queens in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, plays a man who goes off the deep end after Pattinson's gang steals his car.
As David Michôd, whose previous effort was the acclaimed Animal Kingdom, told EW.com, The Rover's “basic story is really quite elemental. You've got a really dark, dangerous, murderous person in Guy's character, and in Rob's character you have a quite troubled and damaged, but beautiful and naïve, soul.”
Michôd adds that, in regard to another thriller involving gangs, cars, and the Australian Outback, George Miller / Mel Gibson's trash classic Mad Max, “I think The Rover is going to be way more chillingly authentic and menacing.” Well, if the Robert Pattinson / Guy Pearce picture above is any indication, Michôd may have a point.
Based on a story by Michôd and Joel Edgerton (soon to be seen opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby), besides Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce The Rover features Killing Them Softly's Scoot McNairy as Pattinson's brother, Nash Edgerton (Joel's brother), Samuel F. Lee, Anthony Hayes, and David Field.
Robert Pattinson: Far from Edward Cullen
Prior to The Rover's “beautiful and naïve” gang member Reynolds, Robert Pattinson's un-Edward characters included the troubled youth romancing Emilie de Ravin in Allen Coulter's Remember Me, the ambitious ex-soldier Georges Duroy in Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod's (in my humble opinion vastly underrated) Bel Ami, the arrogant New York City billionaire Eric Packer bent on getting a haircut in David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis, and the more audience-friendly ex-veterinary student who romances Reese Witherspoon's circus performer in Francis Lawrence's Water for Elephants. (Pattinson also played a gay Salvador Dalí in Paul Morrison's Little Ashes, but that was before he hit stardom.)
Of those, Cosmopolis was the best received internationally – though the film had its many detractors as well – while Water for Elephants was the only non-Twilight Pattinson effort that wasn't a box office disappointment (or downright bomb), grossing a respectable $117.09 million worldwide. (See also: “Robert Pattinson Cosmopolis: Vicious Attacks.”)
If all goes well, next for Robert Pattinson are Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire's anti-Zero Dark Thirty-ish (as in, no torture) Hunt for Saddam Hussein drama Mission: Blacklist; James Marsh's thriller Hold on to Me, opposite Carey Mulligan; Werner Herzog's Queen of the Desert, in which Pattinson is to play T.E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole in David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia), opposite Naomi Watts and Jude Law; and another David Cronenberg effort, Maps to the Stars, which was to have co-starred Viggo Mortensen and Rachel Weisz, though things seem to be up in the air now.
For the record, Robert Pattinson's five appearances as the quite likable – if way underused – Edward Cullen were in Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight, Chris Weitz's New Moon, David Slade's Eclipse, and Bill Condon's Breaking Dawn - Part 1 and Breaking Dawn - Part 2.
The Rover Robert Pattinson, Guy Pearce photo: Matt Nettheim / Porchlight Films / Lava Bear Films / Screen Australia, via EW.com.