In the same way the complexity of the Amazon is obscured by thick overgrowth of vegetation, the chiselled, familiar features of Robert Pattinson are obscured by an overgrowth of facial hair in The Lost City of Z, rendering the 30-year-old a far cry from his fresh-faced breakthrough role as Edward Cullen in the Twilight saga.
Pattinson's outward appearance is an apt reflection of his progress as an actor, with his performance in The Lost City of Z — the adaptation of David Grann's novel on fearless explorer Percy Fawcett and his attempts to discover a lost civilization — another shining example of his understated and subtle brilliance.
#CharlieHunnam is admirable in the lead role as Fawcett, channeling the conflict between temporal drives and a growing, ethereal obsession with the Amazon. But it's Pattinson's portrayal of Henry Costin — Fawcett's loyal companion — that truly drags you into the enchanting and feverish world of dehydration, starvation and adventure.
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'The Lost City Of Z': A Defining Role For Robert Pattinson
It's easy to focus on #RobertPattinson's physical transformation. Without prior knowledge of his involvement, it wouldn't be surprising for many to watch the entirety of James Gray's film without realising he's the actor bringing Costin to life. In addition to his bespectacled and bearded guise, Pattinson, along with Hunnam, lost 35 pounds to prepare for the role in the jungle.
While talking about Pattinson's dedication to the role in an interview with LA Weekly, #TheLostCityOfZ director James Gray was full of praise. He said:
"It’s an act of generosity, really. Rob has this ridiculous beard and it’s such great, self-effacing, wonderful work he’s doing. I love actors very much because they do things I could never do.
Directors are all frustrated actors anyway, and it’s very exciting as a filmmaker to see an actor who really is that generous with you. It was a very happy shoot — as arduous as it was, brutal as it was."
But those who have kept a close eye on Pattinson won't be surprised at his immersive performance. Since his blood-sucking days as Edward Cullen, Pattinson's career is the antithesis of the high-profile coverage and teen-hysteria. By working with acclaimed directors on smaller budgets — including Werner Herzog and David Cronenberg — Pattinson has delicately honed his craft.
Critical Praise But The Lack Of Financial Success
His performances have been awash with praise, including a nuanced portrayal of naive youngster Reynolds in The Rover (2014), as struggling actor Jerome Fontana in Maps to the Stars (2015) and a solid but all-too-brief appearance as Lawrence of Arabia in Herzog's Queen of the Desert (2015).
Despite Pattinson's impressive performances, the box office returns for his movies are poor, no doubt due to their modest budgets and arthouse nature. Outside of his appearances in the Twilight and Harry Potter franchises, only Water For Elephants ($117.1 million) and Remember Me ($56 million) broke the $10 million barrier, with both of those films made before the final Twilight instalment in 2012. Since then, his most financially successful film was The Rover, which made $3.2 million.
And this brings us back to The Lost City of Z. The mid-budget Amazon Studios production, released on April 14, won't be making mega bucks at the box office, but it could be a turning point for an actor who has done enough to prove himself worthy of consideration for high-profile roles. Beyond the beard, and the specs, Pattinson's performance demonstrates he has the ability, but it's over to Hollywood to give him the chance.
Should Hollywood give Robert Pattinson a shot at the big time?
(Source: LA Weekly)