During interviews for EW’s upcoming cover story on New Moon, Robert Pattinson revealed that he and I have something most trivial and intriguing in common: an appreciation of the 1994 Gen X drama Reality Bites. “I really like Ethan Hawke in it. And I liked Winona Ryder. Actually, I liked everything,” he told EW senior writer Karen Valby. “[I was] watching my older sister and her friends when I was 12 and thinking it was all really cool. Like the scenes in their apartments with the candles in the wine bottles. I wish that was still cool—now it’s just silly pretentiousness. I just wanted to put a candle in a wine bottle.”
Sure, Pattinson has enough clout at this point to stick as many candles in wine bottles as his undead heart desires, but this aside did get me thinking about Ethan Hawke and Robert Pattinson and the pantheon of twenty-something cinematic heartthrobs through the years. As I said, I too am a Reality Bites fan, both on the movie’s merits and because of the impressionable age at which I first saw it. Remember that run in the early 90s when Ethan Hawke (who also starred in another Gen X gem Before Sunrise) represented the male ideal of a certain time and place? Remember the grungy, thrift store chic with the long, slightly-greasy hair always getting pushed back, only to fall in his face again? The disaffected, but soulful, sort-of poet, kind-of musician? It’s funny to think of an adolescent Pattinson absorbing these cues and emerging 15 years later (15!) as a different spin on a similar song. His Edward Cullen is a little more cleaned-up than Hawke’s Troy Dyer, but the handsome brooding rings a bell, (not to mention the obsession with his hair — it’s not for nothing that Pattinson notes that his unruly pompadour is really the result of his admittedly poor personal hygiene.) I supposed you can trace this kind of angsty dreamboat all the way back to James Dean if you really wanted. But what do you think: Is it fair to see a movie lineage between Hawke and Pattinson? Who else falls into this line of grungy Hollywood heartthrobs?
Photo Credit: Pattinson: Sara De Boer / Retna Ltd; Everett Collection