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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Rob Pattinson

'Twilight' stars grow up, show skin in 'Breaking Dawn' trailer

September 13, 2011 |  5:57 pm

A new trailer for the first Breaking Dawn film was released Tuesday

When sultry photos from the upcoming "Twilight" film leaked onto the Internet earlier this year, fans of the franchise flew into a tizzy. There were Bella and Edward, lying in bed topless in what appeared to be a post-coital embrace.

Any Twihard who was tantalized by said images -- more of which were officially released by Summit Entertainment last month -- might want to take a deep breath. Because on Tuesday, a new trailer for November's "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" hit the Web, and it's a little racy.

Fans of Stephenie Meyer's beloved book series, of course, know that the characters played by Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson wed in "Breaking Dawn" and quickly consummate the marriage during their honeymoon. That leads to trouble for Bella, who becomes pregnant with Edward's baby -- a sort of vampire-human hybrid that threatens its mother's health.

In an interview with The Times last year just before production of the film began, Stewart warned filmgoers that the prosthetic belly she wears in the first part of "Breaking Dawn" is "immense." "It gets so massive at some point that it actually looks inhuman. Like it’s hurting her. There are striations of bruises," the actress said.

In the trailer, posted below, we finally get a glimpse of pregnant Bella -- and indeed, she looks unwell. As her stomach morphs and swells, Bella grows gradually more pallid until she lets out a guttural scream during a labor scene, where the preview ends.

But the trailer doesn't skimp on the skin. Edward is seen bedding Bella and the pair later kiss under a waterfall; Taylor Lautner, who plays Jacob, is -- not surprisingly --  distraught and once again shirtless.

Lautner, meanwhile, is busy readying himself for the release of his first major non-"Twilight" film, the action flick "Abduction." The film, out Sept. 23, marks the young star's hopeful transition to a more grown-up acting career.

Judging by the new "Breaking Dawn" trailer, it appears the "Twilight" stars are already tackling progressively more adult subject matter just fine.

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 -- Amy Kaufman

twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart star in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1." Credit: Summit Entertainment


'Breaking Dawn’ photos begin a Twihard countdown

August 19, 2011 | 11:17 am

Breakingdawn
After spending months tracking down the source of the leaked “Breaking Dawn” photos and footage, Summit took the wraps off the official images Thursday, offering the full online complement of "Breaking Dawn, Part 1" stills that appeared in the recent Entertainment Weekly. (Check out our sister Ministry of Gossip blog for the full "Breaking Dawn" photo gallery.)

We’ll leave to more Twihard-y minds to parse the meaning of the pictures of Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner and others -- though to our lay eyes they show the contrast of Bella and Edward in post-marital bliss (the soft glow of a bedroom scene) with the portentous suggestion of all that's coming to get them (the frightened look on Edward’s face in the water shot). There's also  something weird about a fidgety outsider like Bella Swan getting pampered in a wedding suite, "Bridezillas" style, per the above photo.

We will say that the filmmakers' earlier concerns about the leaked photos -– Stephenie Meyer, director Bill Condon and others got together and released a statement, and Robert Pattinson had some harsh words too –- was understandable at the time.

But as we suspected back then, it hasn’t derailed the marketing train one bit, The photos yesterday were rolled out exactly three months in advance of the movie’s Nov. 18 release, and seem to have obliterated any memory of the earlier shots in the collective Twihard hive mind.  Next up for said devotees is the next piece of video footage (the first trailer premiered at the MTV Movie Awards in early June). With the three-month clock now ticking, that piece of footage is no doubt just a short, strategically calculated time away.

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--Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Ashley Greene, left, Kristen Stewart and Nikki Reed in "Breaking Dawn." Credit: Andrew Cooper/Summit Entertainment


'Gossip Girl' star Penn Badgley will take a turn as Jeff Buckley. Is it a good idea?

June 20, 2011 |  8:33 pm

Photo: Penn Badgley. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times Jeff Buckley had a very short career even by tragic-musician standards -- he died in 1997 at the age of 30 in a freak swimming accident after releasing just one studio album. But after moving a generation of teens with his songwriting, Buckley's legend looms large in music circles, and will soon be represented on the big screen too.

An independent film about the singer-songwriter titled "Greetings From Tim Buckley" (a reference to Jeff's musician father) aims to shoot this summer, beating to the punch a different Jeff Buckley movie that's being developed with Buckley's mother and director Jake Scott.

On Monday, "Greetings" announced that "Gossip Girl" star Penn Badgley has been cast as Jeff Buckley.

Directed by Daniel Algrant and produced by a company called Smuggler Films, "Greetings from Tim Buckley" will focus on Jeff Buckley's breakthrough as a musician at a 1991 tribute concert for his late father. (Tim Buckley was a seminal musician in his own right, moving radically from folk to other styles before dying of a drug overdose at the age of 28 in 1975.)

Of his role as Jeff Buckley, Badgley said in a statement that it was "something very special and sacred" to re-create the life of a man "who was singularly gifted as an artist, greatly misunderstood & mythologized as a human being."

Would Badgley make a good Jeff Buckley? "Gossip Girl" isn't the first piece of entertainment one thinks of when the singer's name is mentioned, though Badgley's Dan Humphrey is the most soulful and poetic of the "Gossip Girl" characters. The actor has been shaking up his movie career -- after supporting turns in comedies such as "Easy A" and "John Tucker Must Die," he has a small role in the upcoming financial drama "Margin Call."

Then there's the matter of the other Jeff Buckley movie.

This spring, Jake Scott (son of Ridley and director of "Welcome to the Rileys") said he has been developing a biopic about the late artist. The films are being conceived somewhat differently: Scott's is more of a look at Buckley's life and career; the Badgley film will focus on a single identity-forging event. (Producers on the Scott project were initially confused by reports that Badgley was playing Jeff Buckley in their film.)

And though reports about Scott's biopic said producers secured much of the music rights -- Jeff Buckley's mother is an executive producer, after all --  a spokeswoman for the "Greetings" producers said their movie will feature more than its share of tunes, with rights secured to many Tim Buckley tracks as well as Jeff Buckley's iconic cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."

The announcement of the Scott film in April prompted some fans to call for James Franco to play the late musician. There's not been anything from the actor himself, although a very different performer -- Robert Pattinson -- did give an interview in which he said he met with Buckley's mother about the lead role. Pattinson versus Badgley as Jeff Buckley? Now that's drama to tug at the heartstrings of a whole new teen generation.

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-- Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Penn Badgley. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times


Critical Mass: 'Water for Elephants' fails to please all of the critics, all of the time

April 22, 2011 |  1:22 pm

Water-elephants1 "Old-fashioned" is the phrase critics are using most often to describe "Water for Elephants," the big-screen adaptation of Sara Gruen's bestselling novel starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson. Because film critics are notorious for constantly bemoaning the current state of cinema, you'd think this would mean they'd be lapping up this "Water" like a herd of thirsty elephants. Instead, they're lukewarm about the adult romance and are even more skeptical about heartthrob Pattinson's chops outside his "Twilight" vampire franchise machine.

The Times' Kenneth Turan, who helpfully spells out the changes between the novel and the film adaptation, was particularly enchanted by the setting. He writes, "The romance of the carnival is strong in this film, and it's not too much to say that it's the element viewers will come away remembering most." He takes a less starry-eyed view of the supposed romance at the heart of the movie: "Director Francis Lawrence, who works in music videos as well as features, has an unmistakable gift for bravura spectacle, but the absence of convincing romantic chemistry means that the emotional connection that should be this film's birthright is not really there."

Continue reading »

Robert Pattinson: 'Water for Elephants,' the perfect antidote to the 'Twilight' grind

April 21, 2011 | 11:23 am

Getprev
Robert Pattinson has nothing but love for his recent experience on the set of “Water for Elephants,” director Francis Lawrence's adaptation of the popular novel that's set to open in theaters Friday. It was a far cry from his current job, finishing the grueling six-month shoot for the back-to-back filming of the last two “Twilight” films, based on Stephenie Meyer's final book in her bestselling series of young adult novels, “Breaking Dawn.”

Pattinson Pattinson took a moment for a brief phone interview before he was needed on the set of a night shoot for the vampire mega-hit. He seemed downright exhausted. “I'm just arriving at set, thinking I'm going to work all night,” he said. “I'm kinda losing my mind.”

Question: Sorry to hear you're so exhausted. Can you tell us what your time was like on “Elephants,” with Reese Witherspoon?

Pattinson: It's easily one of the best experiences I've had making a film and it's by far one of the best experiences in my life. It didn't even feel like work and a lot of that had to do with Reese. She makes an effort to make it like that. I think she believes that it's really important to enjoy your work, especially when you have to be there for so many hours every day. I made a great friend out of it.

Question: How did working with the animals impact the environment?

Pattinson: When you have totally unpredictable elements, and there are dangerous elements in every single scene, everyone is in the same boat. If you're trying to herd up a pack of horses, it doesn't matter who you are. There is manure everywhere and everyone was filthy all the time. It was an egalitarian set because of that. It's quite inspiring to be around [the elephant]. It doesn't really matter what your taste is, everyone is going to like being around an elephant. It's not like being around another actor some people may not like.

Question: Reese mentioned that she found the paparazzi attention on you unlike anything she's seen before. What do you think?

Pattinson: She's trying to sound humble about all this but she's in all these magazines every week. It's a circus outside her marriage. Plus, I always see her [in them] buying her sandwiches and going to yoga.... I guess she's kind of accepted it in a lot of ways.... It's just a strange situation to be in if you're a sane person to have that kind of attention put on you.

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--Nicole Sperling

Photo: Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon in a scene from "Water for Elephants." Credit: David James / Twentieth Century Fox


'Water for Elephants': Can Robert Pattinson perform under the big top? [trailer]

December 16, 2010 |  5:19 pm

Robertpattinsonwfetrailer Though Robert Pattinson has slowly begun to carve out his post-"Twilight" acting career, many critics still wonder whether the young star has the acting chops to successfully move past the world of vampires. While it wasn't a flop at the box office, Pattinson's latest non-"Twilight" film, "Remember Me," barely registered with filmgoers.

But next year, it seems the actor will finally have a real chance to show audiences what he's got: he'll star opposite Uma Thurman in "Bel Ami" and with Reese Witherspoon in April's "Water for Elephants," for which a trailer was released Thursday.

Based on a bestselling historical novel released in 2006, "Elephants" centers around a veterinary school student named Jacob (Pattinson) who falls for circus performer Marlena (Witherspoon). Despite their shared affinity for the big top, the pair and their burgeoning romance are threatened by Marlena's husband (Christoph Waltz).

Neither of the romantic leads says much of anything in the trailer. Instead, it's filled with hazy, glowing shots of life in the circus: Jacob peeking in to catch a glimpse of Marlena in the center of the ring, delicately laying her svelte body across a horse; the two together, gently stroking one of animals.

We like the langorous, moody tone, though it's nearly impossible to judge from the trailer if Pattinson has any acting skills beyond that longing gaze thing. It's also mildly difficult to believe the 34-year-old Witherspoon could truly be wooed by a young man a decade her junior, but that's a conceit we think we'd be able to get over.

One definite bright spot in the trailer? Hal Holbrook, who plays an older version of Pattinson's character. [UPDATE, 7:05 PM: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Holbrook's character is a mentor to Pattinson's character.] We loved the 85-year-old's performance in "Into the Wild" a few years ago, and it seems his presence here will add weight to the film beyond the romance at its center.

-- Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: "Water for Elephants" poster. Credit: 20th Century Fox.

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Kristen Stewart: Motherhood confounds me

October 20, 2010 |  1:12 pm

Getprev In the upcoming "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn," Kristen Stewart's character, Bella Swan, becomes a mother. But that's a reality the actress says she has a hard time comprehending.

"My best friend just had a baby. She's my age. So I'm a godmom now, which is ... crazy," said the 20-year-old during an interview to promote her upcoming film "Welcome to the Rileys."

Asked if the experience was helping her tap into her own maternal instincts, she replied: "It's actually making me realize more that I have absolutely no idea. Like, I see that going on, and I'm like, 'Oh, my God.' "

Though "Breaking Dawn," the fourth installment in the “Twilight” franchise, doesn’t begin production for a few weeks, Stewart says she's already been caught up with preparations for the film. She's had a number of meetings with director Bill Condon and has even temporarily eliminated some favorites from her diet.

“I want a cheeseburger so badly, but, you know, I have to be a vampire in a few weeks,” she said over lunch at a restaurant in Topanga, where she settled for a veggie burger.

Ironically, she won't even be able to show off her figure for the majority of "Breaking Dawn."

“I’m incredibly pregnant in the first movie,” Stewart said, adding that she has spent the last couple of weeks trying on prosthetic bellies. “I’ve worn it. It’s ... crazy. I’ve done fittings. It gets immense. It gets so massive at some point that it actually looks inhuman. Like it’s hurting her. There are striations of bruises.”

-- Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Kristen Stewart attends the Cinema Society's screening of "Welcome to the Rileys" on Oct. 18. Credit: Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images.

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Kristen Stewart: 'Breaking Dawn' will change people's minds about Bella Swan

October 18, 2010 |  7:06 pm

Getprev"Twilight" fans love to debate their favorite novel in Stephenie Meyer's bestselling vampire series. Kristen Stewart says she has her own favorite -- and it's the most explicit and intense of the bunch.

"This one's really good. This one really goes there, finally," said the actress who plays the iconic Bella Swan of "Breaking Dawn." "This one is like the forming of a family. You see everything really come to fruition because I feel like [Bella] has sort of gone through an accelerated growth period."

In November, Stewart will reprise the Bella role when she begins filming the first half of “Breaking Dawn,” the fourth movie in the “Twilight” franchise, which will be directed by Bill Condon. The story follows [spoiler alert: if you aren't familiar with "Breaking Dawn," skip to the last paragraph] Bella’s marriage to vampire Edward Cullen (Rob Pattinson), as the two finally consummate their relationship and Bella becomes pregnant.

"At this point," Stewart says, "you do accept [Bella] as a mom.”

Because their child is half-human and half-vampire, Bella’s pregnancy is riddled with complications -- all leading up to a dramatic birth scene, in which Edward tears open Bella’s stomach with his teeth to save their baby.

There has been speculation about how the graphic scene will be depicted on screen. Stewart acknowledges it's a "crazy concept," also describing werewolf Jacob's hearing "vampire teeth against vampire skin" during the childbirth scene.

Just how that will play out on screen, though, has yet to be determined. "I've seen the script," which tracks closely to the book, she says. "But it depends on how they shoot it."

Stewart, who was speaking to 24 Frames to promote her new independent drama "Welcome to the Rileys," said she thinks her "Twilight" character has been misunderstood. “Bella’s criticized sometimes for being, like, you know -- I don’t know, selfish and overly emotional and silly and frivolous and annoying and young,” said Stewart. “That’s sort of like a very judgmental way of looking at it."

--Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Kristen Stewart in "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse." Credit: Summit Entertainment/Kimberley French.

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Can 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse' bring new fans into the fold?

June 30, 2010 | 10:53 pm

Eclip 

Two rules are axiomatic in the slippery business of Hollywood franchises:

A) The second movie in a franchise usually grosses more than the first, even when that second film is clearly inferior (see under: "The Matrix Reloaded").

B) The third movie then dips down again (see under: "Spider Man 3," "Pirates of the Caribbean 3" and many others).

The idea is that a movie gains fans as it moves between the first and second installments, as people who missed it in theaters hear about it, rent it and grow their enthusiasm. But if someone hasn't discovered it by No 2., they probably aren't going to find it by the time a third movie comes around -- while, at the same time, some of the diehards naturally get distracted and lose interest between the second and third films. Think of a bell curve, with the second movie sitting at the top.

But as with many other things this summer (like quality), Rule A has been turned on its head. "Iron Man 2"  and "Sex and the City 2" will actually wind up earning less than their original installments (in the case of "Sex and the City," much less). People got tired of these properties a lot sooner than they usually do, and they certainly weren't willing to put up with a lesser movie, even for a familiar brand.

In light of the first axiom being upended, it's fair to ask if "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" can disprove the second axiom: Namely, can its third installment actually earn more than the second? The magic number to hit in the United States is $297 million -- a high bar, but one that's not impossible. It's already off to a strong start. As my colleague Ben Fritz writes, midnight showings of the Kristen Stewart-Rob Pattinson film on Wednesday topped $30 million, and the film will pick up steam as it heads into the weekend. The $297 million number is within reach.

One factor in favor of the movie pulling it off? Only seven months have passed since the last movie. That's not a lot of time for people to get tired or see their attention drift. So there won't be much audience bleeding.

But will there be an infusion of new fans? In talking about the prospects for "Eclipse," some will point to the fact that David Slade's take on the vampires and werewolves is (slightly) better than Chris Weitz's "New Moon." That may be so, but it doesn't necessarily mean more fans -- it's hard to imagine someone who likes the Stephenie Meyer novels sitting out "New Moon" because the buzz is bad but coming back for "Eclipse." With this kind of franchise, once you're in, you're in. You don't drift out for one film and then come back.

Even without a burst of new people though, this movie could still end up earning more than "New Moon," for a simple reason: repeat viewing. That factor has always been key to the success of "Twilight" and tween franchises in general. And with perhaps a (slightly) better movie this time around -- and the fact that, with this one, teenagers are off from school and have more time on their hands -- there may be an uptick in the number of people who go again.

It may well be impossible for more people on God's green earth to love this franchise. But it may turn out that it's somehow possible for the same people to love it even more.

-- Steven Zeitchik
http://twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Rob Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner in "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse." Credit: Summit

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LAFF 2010: Dispatches from the land of Rob Pattinson and the 'Twilight: Eclipse' premiere

June 24, 2010 | 10:45 pm

Lautner
Downtown Los Angeles saw some of the same fan pandemonium tonight as it did last Thursday -- only there wasn't a Lakers player in sight. (Well, except for Ron Artest.)

He and hundreds of screaming fans turned out to see the world premiere of "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" and greet the cast of the film, the fans shouting an uncomplicated "Rob! Rob! Rob!" as they waited for Rob Pattinson -- Edward Cullen, of course, in the franchise -- to make his way to the theater.

Indeed, all of the vamps and werewolves (including Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Kellan Lutz, Ashley Greene and almost everyone else from the cast) walked the red carpet as the electric (read: camping-out-for-days) fans stood by at the premiere that's playing as part of -- or is it adjacent to? -- the Los Angeles Film Festival. The fans wore their hearts on their sleeves, as well as on their shirts, caps and posters (sample messages: "I want to play 'Pat the Pattinson,' " "My heart goes nutz for Lutz" and the cut-to-the-chase "Taylor take off your shirt now!"). Meanwhile, a host of celebs walked the red carpet, including Artest, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Love Hewitt and various "Dancing With the Stars" alumni.

It wasn't exactly the kind of fanfare typical of the films screened at the festival (which is sponsored by the Los Angeles Times). The very fact of the premiere, indeed, has raised some questions. Though the screening of the Summit film brings in scores of celebrities and press attention, it also runs the risk of alienating the festival's core clientele of indie-film fans.

The Twi-hards at the premiere, however, weren't paying much mind to that -- they were too busy juggling markers, books and cameras. And as Pattinson made his way down the carpet in a sleek maroon suit, they jumped and screamed with excitement -- something that Pattinson acknowledged makes him a bit anxious.

"It's still such a struggle in the car on the way here," Pattinson confessed to us on the red carpet. "I'm like, 'I can't breathe. I can't breathe.' "

-- Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in the "Twilight" franchise. Credit: Summit Entertainment [For the Record: An earlier version of this caption incorrectly identified Robert Pattinson as Taylor Lautner.]

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