Robert Pattinson Thought ‘The Devil All the Time’ Was Supposed to be a Comedy

Robert Pattinson isn’t just the star of a once-popular young adult franchise. The Twilight actor has risen the Hollywood ladder to become a leading man who takes a wide range of well-reviewed roles. As of now, those roles are in movies like the upcoming The Batman or his supporting turn in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. However, the actor’s honed his chops for years, and his 2020 work in Netflix’s The Devil All the Time helps audiences better understand his work. 

Robert Pattinson as Preston Teagardin
Robert Pattinson as Preston Teagardin in ‘The Devil All The Time’ | Glen Wilson/Netflix

Dealing with ‘The Devil’

According to IMDb, The Devil All the Time is based on a book of the same name by Donald Ray Pollock. It stars Pattinson, Tom Holland, and Bill Skarsgard and tells the story of a World War II veteran whose life is turned upside down by the death of his wife. Focusing on Skarsgard’s Willard and his struggles with the world around him, the film is an ensemble piece that shows the dark side of rural America in a world trying to rebuild. 

Pattinson’s performance was one of his most well-reviewed to date and part of the reason that so many are excited for his turn in The Batman. It’s a movie about right and wrong, good and bad, and taking control in a world that’s filled with evil. Pattinson spoke about the role with GQ

Getting into character

Pattinson portrays a preacher with a dark side named Reverend Teagardin. Teagardin is a despicable character who uses his power to abuse young women and get away before it comes back to haunt him. The character sports a high-pitched Southern accent that Pattinson created himself. Borrowing from an age-old tradition, he kept the voice a secret before anybody could hear it. 

Pattinson thought that the tone of his most evil role to date was too outrageous to be taken seriously. As such, he did not read the script as a gritty drama. He told GQ,

“I thought that one was supposed to be a comedy. I remember reading the script, and it was so extreme, with such monstrous characters, I was thinking it had to be.”

Perhaps, this is where the dialect came from. However, just because something is approached with gravitas and scenery-chewing, treating it as a comedic character can make his evil far more powerful. 

What comes next? 

The Devil All the Time was a turning point for Pattinson. Pattinson, who is British, proved that he could take on serious roles with commitment and believability. According to GQ, his ability to put on a believable American accent earned him the role of Bruce Wayne. That, combined with Tenet’s success despite COVID-19, added intrigue to a part whose last screen version never grabbed the public. 

“Before Tenet, my agents were like, ‘Yeah, you’re just not on the list for stuff.’ And I just totally, by fluke, get these two massive movies. And I’m like, ‘Okay, am I on the list now?’ And they’re like, ‘Yeah, you’re on the list now, but there’s no movies.'”

He told GQ about his desire for mature, commercial roles. “It’s strange: The eye of the needle, which I was trying to thread before, gets even smaller now.”

Pattinson toes the line between a commercially successful genre actor and an indie darling. Now, with The Batman on the horizon, he hopes that he can take a tried and true genre through a wildly popular character and show that superhero movies can have that same intense and indie edge that his past films have shown him to be capable of. 

The Batman premieres in March, but fans can watch The Devil All the Time on Netflix. There, they can see a different side of the darkness that’s required for a believable caped crusader. 

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