How the cast has fared outside the franchise
Fri, 18 Nov 2011 12:13:16 GMT | By Sean Plummer
A big problem actors face when they become attached to a successful film franchise is escaping its long shadow. Mark Hamill will forever be Luke Skywalker, Christopher Reeve's greatest success was as Superman, and we have yet to see if moviegoers will accept Daniel Radcliffe as anyone other than Harry Potter. The 'Twilight' cast have similarly all made films outside the series, but how have they fared? With 'Breaking Dawn - Part 1' about to hit theatres, let's see if the cast has been eclipsed by the 'Twilight' phenomenon.
While vocal 'Twilight' fans disrupted filming on the New York set of last year's 'Remember Me', not many of them remembered to see it in theatres. That Robert Pattinson romantic drama sank at the box office, while 'Water for Elephants', his romantic drama with Reese Witherspoon, was criticized for the lack of chemistry between its leads. Pattinson spent this summer filming David Cronenberg's 'Cosmopolis' in and around Toronto, and we suspect Twihards may have a hard time wrapping their minds around our Canadian auteur's world, although we take a perverse delight in having them try.
Kristin Stewart's acting isn't taken seriously yet. Instead she's the subject of College Humor videos and jealousy on behalf of those envious of her relationship with her 'Twilight' co-star Robert Pattinson. But she did a great job in the indie comedy 'Adventureland' (2009), and her star turn as rocker Joan Jett in Canadian director Floria Sigmismondi's 'The Runaways' (2010) was sadly overlooked. After 'Breaking Dawn', Stewart will next be seen in 'Snow White and the Huntsman' which sees her starring opposite Chris Hemsworth ('Thor'). In a twist, Stewart's Snow White takes up armour and sword to vanquish the Evil Queen (Charlize Theron).
Maybe Taylor Lautner is best in small doses. The 19-year-old never gets as much 'Twilight' screen-time as co-stars Stewart and Pattinson, largely because his character Jacob is a wolf much of the time, and his best role outside the franchise thus far is the three-minute 'Funny or Die' parody 'Field of Dreams: Lockout'. Put him in a feature-length film, though, and disaster strikes, as evidenced by the recent critical and box office dud which was 'Abduction', Lautner's attempt to kick-start both his own franchise and his career as an action star. Lautner's moves were impressive (he's a long-time martial artist), but his acting was less so, especially compared to veteran co-stars like Sigourney Weaver and Alfred Molina.
Kellan Lutz's decision not to audition for the role of Edward Cullen (he wanted something light after spending six months in Africa filming the heavy HBO series 'Generation Kill') may have been wise. Cast instead as Edward's adoptive brother Emmett, Lutz has distinguished himself in the series with his playful attitude and sense of humour. Lutz's non-'Twilight' output has been relatively below the radar thus far, including the direct-to-video action movie 'Arena' and the little-seen romcom 'Love, Wedding, Marriage', although he's perfectly competent as the muscled Poseidon in Tarsem Singh's newly-released fantasy film 'Immortals'.
She may not be psychic like her 'Twilight' character Alice Cullen, but Ashley Greene should probably have foreseen that her nude self-portraits would leak onto the Internet eventually, and that's exactly what happened in 2009, causing a mini-scandal. Like Kellan Lutz, with whom she co-starred in the as-yet-unreleased film 'A Warrior's Heart', Greene has yet to have a non-'Twilight' hit, although she did an admirable job playing the troubled victim of a psychopath in Ottawa director Lee Demarbre's underrated thriller 'Summer's Blood' (2009). Look for Greene in the acclaimed comedy 'Butter', which just premiered at TIFF, and the upcoming horror film 'The Apparition' next year.
As Jasper Hale, Jackson Rathbone didn't get much screen-time or dialogue until last year's 'Eclipse', where his character used his Civil War experience to train werewolves to fight newborn vampires, but that doesn't mean he hasn't kept busy in between 'Twilight' films. While Rathbone's filmography has consisted mostly of low-key projects yet to see the light of day, save for the ill-received M. Night Shyamalan disaster 'The Last Airbender' where he played the warrior Sokka, he has also kept busy with his band 100 Monkeys whose latest album 'Liquid Zoo' was recently released.
The platinum-headed head of the Cullen clan, Dr. Carlisle Cullen, is ably played by veteran character actor Peter Facinelli. Up until the release of the first 'Twilight' film, he was probably best known for recurring roles in TV shows like 'Fastlane','Damages' and 'Six Feet Under'. When he's not looking stoic and convincing Bella that he really doesn't want to drink her blood, Facinelli is playing another doctor, Fitch Cooper, on the Showtime show 'Nurse Jackie'. He also stars in the upcoming indie comedy 'Loosies'. No, we've never heard of it either.
Nikki Reed's career started off with a bang, co-writing and starring in the controversial drama 'Thirteen'. That led to a series of bad girl roles, including on the hit TV show 'The O.C'. which she publicly criticized for its shallowness. 'Twilight' gave her career a new lease on life, casting her as Rosalie Hale. Unfortunately the 'Twilight' films haven't yet made her a star in her own right. Her first project post-'Twilight', however, does sound promising: she will star alongside Hayden Panettiere and Rebecca De Mornay in the thriller 'Downer's Grove', an adaptation of the Michael Hornberg novel scripted by Bret Easton Ellis, the author of 'American Psycho' and 'The Rules of Attraction'.
Billy Burke had a relatively successful if undistinguished career, mostly in television, prior to being cast as Bella's father, police office Charlie Swan, in the first 'Twilight' film. Since then he has scored some higher-profile roles, including playing Amanda Seyfried's father Cesaire in the fantasy flick 'Red Riding Hood' (directed by 'Twilight' helmer Catherine Hardwicke) and the charismatic Satanist leader Jonah King in the over-the-top Nicolas Cage action-thriller 'Drive Angry'. Burke also has a recurring role as an FBI agent in the TNT drama series 'Rizzoli & Isles'.
Canadian actress Rachelle Lefevre was essentially unknown before being cast as Victoria, an evil, catlike vampire who swears vengeance against Edward for killing her mate James (Cam Gigandet). She was unexpectedly replaced for the third entry, 'Eclipse', however, by Bryce Dallas Howard ('The Help') after a scheduling dispute forced producers to look elsewhere. (Lefevre had signed on to 'Barney's Version', an adaptation of the Mordecai Richler book, and the two schedules overlapped by ten days.) Lefevre has since mainly worked on TV and little-seen independents, although her recent horror film 'The Caller', for which she replaced Brittany Murphy in the lead role, is a surprisingly chilling little film worth seeking out.
Perhaps because her role in the 'Twilight' series is relatively minor, Anna Kendrick seems to have avoided the scrutiny her higher-profile cast mates have received. (Indeed, I completely forgot that she was in the franchise until it was pointed out to me.) Instead, the young actress, who plays Bella's classmate Jessica Stanley, has quietly built up a serious body of work which has found her acting opposite George Clooney ('Up in the Air'), Michael Cera ('Scott Pilgrim vs. the World') and Joseph Gordon-Levitt ('50/50'). Next up for Kendrick is the drama 'End of Watch' opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and the a cappella comedy 'Pitch Perfect'.