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Pattinson Wants to Boost Star Power with ‘Tenet’ and ‘Batman,’ Which Bodes Well for His Indies

The actor says the time has come to give his career some much-needed "commercial viability."

Robert Pattinson poses on the red carpet prior to the 11th Annual Governors Awards at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California, USA, 27 October 2019.11th Annual Governors Awards - Arrivals, Hollywood, USA - 27 Oct 2019

Robert Pattinson

NINA PROMMER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

After spending years solely working on independent films, Robert Pattinson will be starring in two mega-blockbusters. The upcoming July release of Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” marks Pattinson’s first studio tentpole since he said goodbye to the “Twilight” franchise in 2012. The actor is also playing Bruce Wayne/Batman in Matt Reeves’ 2021 comic book tentpole “The Batman.” Why the sudden return to studio films? Pattinson said in a new GQ interview it has everything to do with bringing “commercial viability” back to this career.

“I started the beginning of last year with no job,” Pattinson said. “And I was calling my agent and just being like — I had gotten good reviews in stuff — and I was like, ‘What the fuck? I thought this was a pretty good year, and I’m fucking starting the year like I’ve just done a pile of trash.’”

Pattinson’s agent told him that “everyone thinks you don’t want to do any of this stuff,” which wasn’t the case at all. Since wrapping up “Twilight,” the actor has made the bulk of his film choices based on the directors he wants to collaborate with, from Werner Herzog to Claire Denis, David Cronenberg, the Safdie brothers, and Robert Eggers, among others. In many cases, Pattinson’s involvement in various indie projects helped get them off the ground and lured in financiers and distributors. Pattinson was able to do that because of his “Twilight” star power, but the actor suggested in his GQ interview that said star power is fading a bit now that he’s solely been making indies, many of which haven’t been box office hits.

“It’s just something which you [can] kind of rely on a little bit more,” Pattinson said of returning to studio films. “The problem which I was finding was, however much I loved the [indie] movies I was doing, no one sees them. And so it’s kind of this frightening thing, because I don’t know how viable this is for a career…I don’t know how many people there actually are in the industry who are willing to back you without any commercial viability whatsoever.”

Pattinson was never deliberately ignoring big studio fare, he was just more attracted to filmmakers working in the indie space. Starring in “Tenet” and “The Batman” is a double win as he gets to keep working with singular filmmakers (Nolan and Reeves) while also appearing in major tentpoles that should keep his star power burning bright. If “Tenet” and “The Batman” prove as commercially successful as box office experts predict, then Pattinson will boost his “commercial viability” with ease and that could lead to another five years of promising indie cinema starring Pattinson. Just as “Twilight” helped indie films like the Zellner brothers’ “Damsel” get off the ground because of Pattinson’s involvement, so too could “Tenet” and “Batman” lead to the next wave of great indies backed by Pattinson.

“Tenet” is set to open July 17, followed by “The Batman” on October 1, 2021.

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