Robert Pattinson to play photojournalist Dennis Stock in ‘Life’

Robert Pattinson arrives at the Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in January.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Robert Pattinson is wasting no time getting as far away from “Twilight’s” Edward Cullen as possible.

On Thursday evening it was announced that the British actor will star opposite Dane DeHaan in “Life” for director Anton Corbjin (“The American,” “Control”).

While the film marks one of many the actor has been cast in since the “Twilight” series ended last year -- including the recently wrapped “The Rover” with Guy Pearce and director David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars” -- this marks the first character in his post-Twilight career that’s based on a real person.

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“Life,” which is being produced by the team behind “The King’s Speech,” Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, centers on the relationship between photographer Dennis Stock and iconic movie star James Dean. Luke Davies penned the script. Pattinson will play Stock, DeHaan will play Dean.

Stock took the iconic photograph of Dean walking through Times Square with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Turns out the two of them took a cross-country road trip together before Dean became a giant star with 1955’s “East of Eden.”

Though Stock had a long and fruitful career as a photographer, it was the shot of Dean that was the most memorable of his career. (Stock, who passed away in 2010 at age 81, also photographed screen stars such as Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and John Wayne, in addition to jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and Miles Davis.)

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Stock, who first met Dean in Los Angeles, is the only photographer to have shot Dean in his hometown of Fairmount, Ind., where the two stopped before traveling on to New York. It was here that Stock shot Dean “posing with a huge hog on the farm, walking down Main Street and -- eerily -- posing in a coffin in a funeral home casket showroom,” according to the L.A. Times obituary of Stock.

Friends described Stock, who was a native New Yorker and a Navy veteran, as both “charming and combative.” It will be interesting to see Pattinson play a photographer from a bygone age, considering the actor has been plagued by the new generation of star photographer -- the ones that follow him constantly on the street.


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