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How Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson went from mere celebrity heartthrobs to brilliant actors

The public perception of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson has been a chaotic rollercoaster ride from teenage girls and media darlings to ridicule and vicious parodies to status as this generations most interesting movie stars. In 2008 they made their screen debut together as Bella Swan and Edward Cullen an ordinary schoolgirl and a vampire in love setting new standards in Hollywood romance. Five parts of the vampire saga based on the novels by Stephenie Meyer brought in around three and a half billion dollars worldwide. What was initially scorned as a movie for little girls turned out to be the beginning of one of the most successful franchises in cinema history and opened up a new and promising market segment for the industry.

In 2009 Pattinson was recognized by the media as The Sexiest Men Alive and The Most Handsome Man in the World. Stewart is known as The Dream Girl. Together they were a phenomenon that blew a generation of teenage girls away. After Twilight ended both Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson steadily and beautifully shattered that glossy image going their separate ways to become the James Dean for millennials and the dark bohemian DiCaprio.

Recently the phenomenon resurfaced as fans were excited to see how the palpable chemistry would work after the two honed their skills through unconventional projects and performances far from Hollywood and become Oscarworthy acting powerhouses. Lets revisit their career stories traveling from simple celebrity heartthrobs to brilliant actors. It must be noted that while Twilight made Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson megastars they had great talent and acting skills long before the saga. In a way it was her performance there that kept audiences from taking her seriously and acknowledging her talent for so long eclipsing her other numerous compelling projects.

Stewarts first truly notable role was as the daughter of Jodie Fosters character in David Finchers Panic Room. Her full spectrum of controversial acting techniques is already flourishing celebrated in equal measure as naturalistic and understated and derided as unfathomable.

Finchers film was followed by Mike Figgis Cold Creek Manor and Jon Favreaus fantasy film Zathura which in retrospect deserves much more credit. Stewarts most serious and valuable work before Twilight was the small independent film Speak in which her character is left speechless after being raped at a school party. You and the audience are left with internal monologues filled with scathing sarcasm.

Robert Pattinson made his screen debut as the blueeyed king with the willful chin in The Ring of the Nibelungs. Then there was another scene in the film adaptation of Thackays Vanity Fair that ended up being cut. Pattinson joins the Harry Potter franchise as Cedric Diggory a talented romantic beautiful young man who tragically died at the hands of the Dark Lord. Whether he wanted it or not the thoughtful romantic hero role accompanied him on his debut.The collapse of the Twilight mythos was perhaps the beginning of Stewarts artistic and personal liberation. Critically Kristen Stewarts filmography contains many great movies but also many that are boring. In her own words she would sometimes join a project even if she only liked one scene in the script. Such a proudly ruthless approach showed that Stewart genuinely enjoyed her acting and that she didnt care what anyone thought of her.

When Assayas Clouds from Sils Maria was shown in Cannes in May 2014 critics seemed to rediscover the young actress who appeared on screen as the assistant to a European theater and film star played by Juliette Binoche. Modest reserved and witty Assistant Val came across as the epitome of appropriateness against the backdrop of her argumentative employer. Thanks to Clouds Sils Maria Kristen Stewart became the first American actress to win a César Award for Best Supporting Actor and became an alltime favorite at the Cannes Film Festival. Since then attempts have been made under various pretexts to get her there sometimes with a big premiere then with her own directorial work a short film or as part of the jury.

 

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