How to tell if an actor will be be more than a pretty face.

I recently responded to a fellow blogger's comment about the acting of Robert "Twilight" Pattinson and decided to share it here also. I’m a proud movie-holic! I think it makes me a better novelist. I saw the first Twilight movie and it didn’t do a lot for me. Robert Pattinson seems to fall into that niche of pretty young actors who are cast in films more for their appearance than their talent.

In WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, many critics pointed to the lack of chemistry between Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. And more specificially they pointed to Pattinson being the weak link in this Oscar-winning cast. I’d say Pattinson is not terrible in the movie. He doesn’t have a lot to do. Could a more talented young actor done more with the part? Probably. I try to imagine what a younger Robert Deniro, Robert Downey Jr, or Johnny Depp would do with a somewhat underwritten part. (And why couldn’t the director pull more out of the green actor?)

What those three more seasoned actors have that I think Pattinson does not yet have — is gravitas. Life experience that is touched by pain that informs the actor’s performance. It could be that Pattinson has not had enough life experience yet. His easy smile suggests perhaps things have come too easily to him. Or if he’s had challenges, perhaps he hasn’t yet learned to tap into them.

But many attractive young actors have surprised us with performances we didn’t see coming. Heath Ledger’s performance in “Brokeback Mountain” might be one example. Robin Wright Penn’s recent performance in “The Conspirator” could be another. Then there are guys like Keanu Reeves who will probably never surprise us. I won’t defend Pattinson. But I’d say give him time. See if he will improve with age like an unripe peach. Or maybe he will only be a pleasantly diverting peach. Not memorable for the richness of its flavors and scents. Just a nice peach.


  1. I think there's an arrogance about Pattinson that may make him incapable of growth. In interviews he has spoken with disdain about the Twilight franchise and Stephenie Meyer. Maybe he's been feted too much too early, so he's not aware yet that he has to grow.

    I'd love to be proved wrong though.

  2. Hi Christine, thanks for your post. I didn't realize Pattinson talked badly of Twilight and the author. That's none too gracious.

  3. Dwight, your trailer (like your blog) is gorgeous!

    I'd love to interview you for Fresh Pot of Tea - interested?

  4. Absolutely, Alison! I'll see if I have you on facebook or I'll go to your blog to reply.

    I'm so glad you find the video and my blog gorgeous. I think part of that comes from my grounding in poetry and images. I'm also a huge music and movie fan.


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