Why Robert Pattinson's Supporting Role May Be His Most Important

Actor maps out his post-'Twilight' career with a supporting role in 'Hold Onto Me,' following in the footsteps of many of his A-list predecessors.

As far as [movieperson id="365131"]Robert Pattinson[/movieperson]'s popularity is concerned, an argument could be made that he's famous as he's going get. As his star-making "The Twilight Saga" is comes to an end, one big question remains: How will he hold onto his fame and parlay it into a lengthy and continually successful career?

Judging by the qualityprojects he has lined up post-"Twilight," we think Pattinson is making all the right moves thus far, especially in signing up for a supporting role in the Indie-ish drama "Hold Onto Me," which was announced Tuesday. Why go for a supporting role when you don't have to? Well, the part is described as a "flashy" one, and it will find him starring opposite Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan. It's bound to further establish his acting chops, as several other equally famous leading men have done so before him:

Leonardo DiCaprio, "Celebrity"

If there is anyone in Hollywood who understands what Pattinson is going through, it's Leonardo DiCaprio. Back in 1998, when the heartthrob was still caught up in a wave of a mania of teenage girl fans following the 1997 release of "Titanic," he took on a well-received supporting role in Woody Allen's "Celebrity." DiCaprio played an exaggerated version of the heartthrob movie star stereotype, complete with temper tantrums and hotel room trashing. And it's an experience the actor has never forgotten, particularly after coming of the intense shoot with James Cameron for "Titanic."

"In terms of the most fun I've had on a movie, 'Celebrity' with Woody Allen was a very fun environment because there was absolutely no pressure," DiCaprio said of the film. "The extent of Woody's direction was: 'You can stand over there, but you don't have to.' "

Tom Cruise, "Magnolia"

Tom Cruise also opted for a smaller chunk of screen time in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia." Cruise's work in the critically acclaimed ensemble drama is notable mostly because the actor took a calculated risk in playing against his heroic, all-American reputation in order to embody motivational speaker/proud misogynist Frank T.J. Mackey. Anderson wrote the part with Cruise in mind and the two together maximized every opportunity for effective self-parody, along with several quietly intense and emotional scenes that earned Cruise a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination.

Mark Wahlberg, "The Departed"

Mark Wahlberg is another actor who could be typecast or judged by his early work in the '90s, as rapper Marky Mark or as a Calvin Klein underwear model. Instead of following along that seemingly predestined path to obscurity, Wahlberg fought against the stereotypes and his bad-boy reputation to become one of Hollywood's most successful actors and producers. When Martin Scorsese was assembling his all-star roster for the 2006 Best Picture-winner "The Departed," Wahlberg was established enough to not take a supporting role in anything, but he was also smart enough to know that opportunities to work with Scorsese and an A-list cast don't come around that often. Wahlberg's no-nonsense cop Sean Dignam was a total scene-stealer, a performance that was well-received and Oscar-nominated.

Do you think Robert Pattinson's decision to opt for a supporting role is a wise one? Sound off in the comments!