By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com November 14, 2012 at 11:01AM
And so they face the final curtain. This week "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Pt. 2," the fifth film in the franchise based on Stephenie Meyer's best-selling young-adult vampire novels, will hit theaters (read our review here). And while Lionsgate and Summit are hoping to extend the life of their cash cow, for the moment this movie marks the end of the franchise and the story of star-crossed lovers Edward Cullen and Bella Swann.
Which means that the young actors, who've been able to rely on a steady paycheck from the films over the last five years, now need to start looking elsewhere for gainful employment. The series has certainly been a phenomenon, but as everyone from Mark Hamill to Sean Astin have proven, being in a hit franchise isn't necessarily a guarantee that you'll continue to be a movie star after the series comes to an end.
So with that in mind, which of the fresh-faced stars who broke out thanks to the series (excluding older stalwarts like Billy Burke, Elizabeth Reaser and Michael Sheen, who already had and will continue to have busy careers) look set to grace our screens for years to come, and which will merely sit twiddling their thumbs until the reunion articles and 'Where Are They Now?" pieces? You can read our verdicts below.
Before "Twilight": Prior to playing Bella, Stewart had almost ten years of credits as a child and teen actress. Stewart first made an impression in 'Panic Room," as Jodie Foster's daughter, and quickly became a go-to for adolescent roles, popping up in genre fare like "Catch That Kid," "Zathura" and "The Messengers" while also impressing with more serious turns in "Fierce People" and, in particular, Sean Penn's "Into The Wild," where she just lit up the screen.
Chances Of Success After "Twilight": Pretty strong. She's spent much of the time between "Twilight" flicks in the indie world, with some impressive turns in "Adventureland," "The Runaways" and "Welcome To The Rileys," and has a supporting role in "On The Road," which hits theaters next month. But she also cemented her blockbuster cred with this summer's "Snow White and the Huntsman." The storm over her dalliance with the director of that film has appeared to blow over ("Breaking Dawn Pt. 2" is tracking to be the biggest of the series, suggesting that fans haven't abandoned her), and she's got further smart choices on the way: she signed on to Scott Cooper's "Lie Down In Darkness," and the Ben Affleck-starring con man comedy "Focus" (which should let her show a lighter side, something that's probably important at this point, after a half-decade of mopey 'ol Bella). She's in it for the long haul, and with "Twilight" behind her, she should be able to reclaim the promise that marked her to begin with.
Before "Twilight": R-Patz had relatively few credits before he was R-Patz -- he was cut out of Mira Nair's "Vanity Fair," but bounced back with a major role as the ill-fated Cedric Diggory in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." A couple of small British TV roles and indies, "How To Be" and "Little Ashes," followed, most of which only really found audiences once he'd found success with the vampire franchise.
Chances Of Success After "Twilight": Strong creatively, but the financial success outside of "Twilight" has yet to come. The actor has found a huge female fanbase as a result of playing ageless vamp Edward Cullen, which helped Pattinson vehicles "Remember Me" and "Water For Elephants" find moderate success. Still, the Twihards mostly won't turn up for films outside the romantic weepie wheelhouse -- "Bel Ami" took a dreadful $120,000 earlier this year, and "Cosmopolis" didn't do much better, with a mere $750,000. Still, to his credit, those films are indicative of his desire to work with interesting filmmakers, and a willingness to stretch himself, and that's something that looks to continue. On the way, he has the apocalyptic thriller "The Rover," from "Animal Kingdom" director David Michod, "Man On Wire" helmer James Marsh's "Hold On To Me" with Carey Mulligan, a reunion with Cronenberg on "Maps To The Stars," and he's lined up to play T.E. Lawrence for Werner Herzog in period adventure "Queen Of The Desert," alongside Naomi Watts and Jude Law. They're all far from the obvious picks for a heartthrob, and even if the performances haven't necessarily wowed, we're sure he'll only continue to improve. But will his built-in audience stick around? A smart move might be to take something action/thriller-y targeted at the mainstream, to try and win a male following. Perhaps something like "American Assassin," which Chris Hemsworth just vacated.
Before "Twilight": A selection of cartoon voiceover roles, and fresh-faced turns in kids' flicks like "Cheaper By The Dozen 2" and, most notably, the title role in Robert Rodriguez's "The Adventures Of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3D." He was Sharkboy, rather than Lavagirl, obviously.
Chances Of Success After "Twilight:" Could go either way, to be honest. When Lautner bulked up speedily for his return appearance in "New Moon," studio executives and casting directors started to anoint him the next big action hero, with the actor being attached to whole strings of projects. And while "Valentine's Day," in which he had a small cameo, was a decent hit, his first full-on starring role in the spy flick "Abduction" was entirely insipid, and the movie tanked at the box office. Most of his potential projects, like toy adaptation "Stretch Armstrong," a Michael Bay-produced actioner, a "David & Goliath" movie with Dwayne Johnson, and young adult picture "Incarceron," quietly went away. Instead, Lautner has a role in "Grown Ups 2," and parkour actioner "Tracers" in the works. Even by the standards of the franchise, Lautner's given pretty wooden performances, so it's hard to see him taking a Pattinson-like career path, but having said that, he is developing a project with Gus Van Sant, which he would also produce, based on a New Yorker article. Given the director's work with non-actors on films like "Elephant," it could be a canny move to work with Van Sant. Still, Lautner can find solace in the career of Channing Tatum. Often dismissed as a wooden meathead, Tatum's career has soared in the last year thanks to smart choices with good filmmakers, turning "Magic Mike" and "21 Jump Street" into massive hits. Maybe the two should meet up and swap tips.