LOS ANGELES – Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner have walked their last Twilight red carpet with the arrival of the series finale The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2. Now, they must step into careers of their own using the superstardom the multibillion-dollar franchise has provided them.
Making that transition from a beloved film series with a fervent fan base can be tricky. Do you stick to the same kinds of roles that people came to love you for and maintain the safety of familiarity?
Or do you veer drastically in the other direction to prove to the world that you have range – that youre so much more than just a mopey teenage girl or a hunky set of abs?
Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, for example, has successfully made choices that showcase his versatility, from appearing on stage naked in a Broadway production of Equus to the gothic horror film The Woman in Black. His Harry Potter co-star, Emma Watson, played a damaged party girl this year in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a character who couldnt have been more different from the fastidious Hermione Granger.
The three core Twilight stars have all struck while the iron was hot, making a variety of films in between the five Twilight Saga installments about high schooler Bella Swan and the vampire and werewolf who competed for her affections.
Stewart was the best known of the Twilight trio before being cast as Bella. Shed played Jodie Fosters daughter in the 2002 thriller Panic Room and a commune singer who befriends Emile Hirschs character in Sean Penns Oscar-nominated Into the Wild (2007).
Her choices between the Twilight movies have run the gamut, from playing a young Joan Jett in the 2010 biopic The Runaways to a fairy-tale warrior princess in this summers Snow White and the Huntsman. Next month, shell appear in On the Road, based on the iconic Jack Kerouac novel.
Kristen seems to do a lot of indie movies. Snow White and the Huntsman is more of an outlier in terms of being a blockbuster, said blogger and Twilight expert Cleolinda Jones, author of the Movies in 15 Minutes series. But it seems like shes got the kind of personality where shes got to do what she has to do shes not thinking in terms of career strategy.
Andrei Constantinescu of the Dallas-based Legacy Casting says hed like to see Stewart mix it up even more.
Her non-Twilight film choices are bold and different to a point, but her dark and broody acting style, similar to her real-life persona, is a bit played, said Constantinescu, whose work as an extras casting director includes the TNT series Dallas. Id love to see her in a romantic workplace comedy like The Devil Wears Prada.
Pattinson has made some of the most daring and impressive choices of the three of them. Before being cast as the swoony vampire Edward Cullen, the lanky British actor appeared in another blockbuster franchise as Hogwarts student Cedric Diggory in 2005s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In 2009, he played Salvador Dali in the barely seen Little Ashes, and last year he starred opposite Reese Witherspoon in the circus romance Water for Elephants – although Associated Press reviewer David Germain wrote there was barely a spark between the two.
But Pattinson also has worked with the likes of David Cronenberg, starring this year in the acclaimed Canadian directors financial drama Cosmopolis, which takes place almost entirely inside a limousine. And hell soon work with Cronenberg again in Maps to the Stars, and also begin shooting Werner Herzogs Queen of the Desert.
Jones says Pattison has wisely chosen to parlay his Twilight fame to collaborate with serious directors and actors.
Then theres Lautner, who was just 15 when he auditioned for the role of the sensitive, muscular werewolf Jacob Black. Hed appeared in a few films by then, including playing the title character of Sharkboy in 2005s The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D. In between the Twilight films, he stuck to lighter fare. He was part of the ensemble cast of 2010s Valentines Day in a romantic subplot opposite Taylor Swift.
But Lautners leading-man debut was last years Abduction, a title that naturally inspired plenty of puns about his famously toned frame. The thriller from director John Singleton found Lautner playing a high school student who gets caught up in a web of intrigue. AP reviewer Jake Coyle wrote that Lautner handles himself reasonably well but the script was the films major deficiency.
Constantinescu says he doesnt expect Lautner will stray far from crowd-pleasing fare.
Hes very good at playing the young, muscular jock or hero, he said. Similar to Kristen, Id love to see roles that offer Taylor different objectives than to be the hero, take his shirt off and save the day. However, Im not sure that the public would believe him as anything more than the borderline superhero he has become famous for.