Robert Pattinson recently spoke to Esquire about his latest project, a film called The Devil All the Time, directed by Christine and Simon Killer filmmaker Antonio Campos. It sounds like another dark, challenging role for the former teen idol, who is not only shedding his glittering skin, but quietly becoming one of the great indie film actors of this generation.
Here is what Pattinson told Esquire about the film:
“There’s this line in it — and sometimes that’s all you need. And it’s like, ‘Ooh… that’s scary to say’. Because it’ll go down in posterity and I’ll be the one saying it. You literally cannot get darker. It’s fucking dark. This character is an evangelical preacher in the South in the Fifties, but he’s gleefully bad and kind of funny and charismatic too. I know, it’s irresistible.”
What is even happening in this movie, you ask? Here is a synopsis:
Set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia, The Devil All the Time follows a cast of compelling and bizarre characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s. There’s Willard Russell, tormented veteran of the carnage in the South Pacific, who can’t save his beautiful wife, Charlotte, from an agonizing death by cancer no matter how much sacrificial blood he pours on his “prayer log.” There’s Carl and Sandy Henderson, a husband-and-wife team of serial killers, who troll America’s highways searching for suitable models to photograph and exterminate. There’s the spider-handling preacher Roy and his crippled virtuoso-guitar-playing sidekick, Theodore, running from the law. And caught in the middle of all this is Arvin Eugene Russell, Willard and Charlotte’s orphaned son, who grows up to be a good but also violent man in his own right.
Twilight is the sort of franchise that can ruin an actor’s future in the industry, painting them in a specific and undesirable teenage superstar corner. It speaks to the talent of both Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart that they have become indie film forces to be reckoned with over the years.
For Stewart, her one-two collaborative punch with Olivier Assayas – Clouds of Silas Maria and Personal Shopper – cemented her status as an incredibly complicated, hypnotic protagonist. For Pattinson, he jumped right in with David Cronenberg after the Twilight films wrapped, starring in two of the Canadian auteur’s stranger films, Cosmopolis and Maps to The Stars. Pattinson began placing a premium on filmmakers and their vision, and it led him to some great chameleonic performances.
The Rover, from director David Michôd, is a brilliant Australian road thriller starring Guy Pearce as a tunnel-visioned loner and Pattinson as the dimwitted brother of a thief. It was the next step in Robert Pattinson’s evolution, as for the first time he approached a role with an attention to physical transformations. His Tiger Beat mug was battered and beaten, and the film around his character was challenging, but great.
This year has been the most pronounced step in the Robert Pattinson Revolution. He starred alongside Charlie Hunnam in the criminally underseen The Lost City of Z (seriously, for any fans of classic adventure dramas in the vein of Roland Joffé or Peter Weir, do yourself a favor and watch The Lost City of Z), and this summer he has impressed audiences with his grimy turn as a low-level bank robber in the Safdie Brothers “Urban decay NYC” throwback, Good Time.
It is great to see Robert Pattinson coming into his own and shedding that pubescent vampire skin. There was always this uneasy feeling around the marketing and pop culture wave that was the Twilight films, and it always seemed like Pattinson and Stewart knew it was weird too. Both were clearly itching to go their own way, forge their own path, and independent cinema has been better for it.