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The TWILIGHT curse on actors

Be thankful you’re not in a wildly popular film franchise. It can be career suicide! Yes, you get to be incredibly famous and make tons of money—as long as you stay safely within that franchise and keep delivering the same role to a young audience hungry for the repetition. Just as younger LORD OF THE RINGS cast members have had a hard time striking gold outside that series of lucrative adventures, so have the TWILIGHT gang been finding that not only do vampires suck, but out-of-the-box career ops can too.

With THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN Part 1 poised to make trillions starting November 18, it has to be bittersweet for the cast, who’ve struggled to break the dawn for themselves by scoring with non-Twilight projects (and they’re gonna need some really soon).

Robert Pattinson had a rough experience this year with WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, and even though industry insiders pegged the traveling circus romance flick a Reese Witherspoon vehicle, he’s potentially guilty by association. Still, Pattinson has a David Cronenberg movie, COSMOPOLIS, in the works, and it sounds like the kind of thing that might actually be able to break a curse, at least temporarily. Cronenberg says TWILIGHT hasn’t allowed Pattinson to show his full potential, just like LORD OF THE RINGS only showed limited sides of Viggo Mortensen (who later got Oscar nominated for Cronenberg’s EASTERN PROMISES). We’ll see, but I’m not betting my house on it just yet.

Kristen Stewart has also had some bumpy moments, like the failure of the girl group biopic THE RUNAWAYS, in which she played rocker Joan Jett to the sound of few people clapping. Kristen is called upon to do her patented brooding thing too often, even in a pretty good comedy like ADVENTURELAND. Fortunately, she’s appealing and very talented despite the restraints. And she’ll be coming out with ON THE ROAD, an art film about the beat generation, and SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN, in which she battles evil queen Charlize Theron, so she might actually manage to segue into a glorious film future. Maybe.

And finally, Taylor Lautner had a disappointing stab at solo success with the guy-on-the-run-in-search-of-his-identity thriller ABDUCTION, which didn’t abduct with a whole lotta lovin’ from the world at large. The silly script didn’t do Lautner any favors either, so he’s going the art house route just like Rob and Kristen, starring in an indie film directed by beefcake meister Gus Van Sant. Plus, he’s in pre-production for INCARCERON, in which he’s an imprisoned boy who goes…yep, on the run again.

But it’s franchises that people really need to run from. Next time anything with multiple sequels attached calls me with an offer, I’m saying no way.