The Twilight Saga: Eclipse will decide a lot for the cast of Twilight. The story is darker and more intense. There is more action and less moody pining and longing gazes. Edward and Bella are together once again, but Jacob is not a serious rival for Bella’s affections. Of course, if you’ve read the books you already know how everything turns out and, well, being that this is a Hollywood film, you can probably guess the outcome even if you haven’t read the books. With all of that said though, the series is drawing to a close with only one – or possibly two depending on whether or not the rumors of the final book, Breaking Dawn, being split into two movies – movie remaining. So what does that mean for the actors who have come to embody the characters we love so dearly? Well, that depends.
Peter Facinelli who plays Doctor Carlisle Cullen in the series will likely do just fine. He might never find the immense fan base this role has garnered him again and the Twilight kids likely won’t stick around after the vampire make up is gone, but his career will be fine. His work as Doctor Fitch Cooper on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie has ensured he isn’t typecast as the patriarch of Twilight’s undead Cullen family. Gil Birmingham who plays Billy Black – Jacob Black’s seldom seen father – is barely in the movie enough to have the chance to be typecast, and Billy Burke, who plays Bella’s father, Charlie Swan, has more than enough credits on his resume to ensure a long lasting career. And we all know Anna Kendrick, who plays Bella’s friend Jessica, has a lucrative career ahead of her as the first – and possibly only – Twilight cast member to be nominated for an Academy Award.
What is a little less certain is the fate of our lead characters; Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner. Kristen Stewart has been an indie princess long before Twilight came around and with the decisions she is making post Twilight has a good chance of ensuring she retains that title. Along with Twilight: New Moon co-star, Dakota Fanning (who is going to have a hugely successful career Twilight or not) received rave reviews for her performance in The Runaways where she starred as Joan Jett. The problem with Stewart is she occasionally doesn’t seem to take Twilight seriously, phoning in her performance and seeming somewhat pained and uncomfortable. Sure, that may be her gimmick as it seems to be present in most of her performances but if she hopes to have a successful career with more Twilight sized success in her future, she needs to play a role a little different than all the roles she’s done so far.
This tendency to play the same role over and over again is something that may also come to haunt Robert Pattinson. The dark and brooding characters seem to come naturally too him, possibly because he is fairly dark and brooding himself, but if he wants a career that isn’t over with the conclusion of the Twilight series, he needs to pull something new and surprising out of his hat. He has the world watching and that is a lot of pressure, but with Remember Me, Pattinson showed he has the acting chops if he is more willing to take risks. In the Twilight series thus far, he has been unimpressive, seemingly content to look pretty. He has the chance with Eclipse to show us range and it is my hope that he does. I’m rooting for this kid. I could see him having a career similar to that of Johnny Depp or Heath Ledger if he is willing to put in the effort and choose his roles wisely. Pattinson needs his Monster’s Ball or his Edward Scissorhands – not another rehash of the same old thing.
Taylor Lautner has the most uncertain future of the Twilight game and it is solely because of how New Moon was handled. Taylor was promoted as a pretty smile and rock hard abs and that just isn’t enough to launch a career on. His performance in New Moon left a lot to be desired and one can only hope he chose to work on his acting skills as much as he worked on his body for Eclipse. This movie will tell us a lot about where Lautner’s future career will lead. You can only get so far on your looks. Ask Ashton Kutcher and Sean William Scott. He may surprise us all yet, but my money’s on Pattinson and Stewart for long term success if they play their cards right.