Six Billion Stories and Counting – Can RPattz escape the vampire tag?

The two Twilight sagas have sold more than $US1.1 billion worth of tickets globally and have made Robert Pattinson a bona fide star. So why haven’t audiences clamoured to watch the English actor whenever he steps outside of the vampire world – poor career choices or limited ability?

His performance as a depressed, star-crossed lover beset with a family tragedy in Remember Me was widely panned and the melodrama grossed a mediocre $54 million worldwide this year.

Even worse, Little Ashes, in which he portrayed the artist Salvador Dali, scraped up less than $800,000 last year. How to Be, one of his earlier efforts which pre-dates Twilight and which featured him as an apathetic guy who recruits a Canadian self-help guru to help sort out personal issues, failed to get a theatrical release in the US and premiered on a pay-per-view channel.

Promoting the last Twilight release last year, Pattinson admitted, “I guess I’m still a little bit blind as to what my actual economic viability is outside of the series. I mean it’s definitely different. You get offered stuff that you would’ve never have dreamed of being offered before but that’s also scary as well.”

The actor known to his fans as RPatts has three movies due for release in the next year or so which he no doubt hopes will prove his talents extend way beyond playing Edward Cullen and Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

All three have solid casts and on paper look promising. In Declan Donnellan’s period romance Bel Ami, he’ll star as a young journalist from an impoverished background who becomes one of the most successful men in Paris by bedding some of the city’s most glamorous and influential women. Among his conquests are Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci.

Francis Lawrence’s Water for Elephants seems to offer quite a challenge as he plays a 90-year-old man who reminisces about his life during the Depression when he worked in a travelling circus and had an affair with the wife of an abusive animal trainer. The film based on a popular Sara Gruen novel co-stars Reese Witherspoon and Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz.

Perhaps the most commercial of the three is Unbound Captives, a Western in which he’ll appear alongside Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. Marking the directorial debut of actress Madeleine Stowe, the film follows a woman (Weisz) whose husband is killed and her two children kidnapped by a Comanche war party in 1859. She’s rescued by a frontiersman played by Jackman; Pattinson will play the son.

The 24-year-old Pattinson as the son of 40-year-old Weisz? That would require a lot of make-up for Rachel, and some convincing acting from Rob.

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