Film.com has an awesome article about Rob Pattinson being considered as a "sex symbol" instead of in iconic character.
Deep Thought of the Day
Back in 2001 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone eked out a respectable billion dollars. Daniel Radcliffe and the gang appeared on magazine covers and seemed set to take over the world. And obviously they still could, as Emma Watson and Rupert Grint have come along nicely as actors, and Radcliffe himself occasionally makes the news for things that aren't particularly Potter-related.
However, right now you'd have to say that Robert Pattinson has capitalized the most off of his portrayal of Cedric Diggory, and he's not tied up in Potterland until 2011 like the rest of the gang (spoiler!). Of course, he will be tied up with Twilight until 2011, but he'll only have spent three years in the "Edward" shell as opposed to the Potter Gang's decade. Additionally, he's now considered a sex symbol, whereas Radcliffe is considered an icon. The difference? Audiences allow their sex symbols to try new things (Brad Pitt, Justin Timberlake, Johnny Depp) while icons are trapped into the character they originally became known for (Macaulay Culkin, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Soleil Moon Frye).
I think the reason is psychological. We expect those considered "sexy" to push boundaries, to try new things, to challenge us. From our icons we want safety, comfort, and the knowledge that they are always exactly what we thought they were. Which means Radcliffe will likely never escape the glasses-and-wand look in our heads. All of this adds up to Robert Pattinson being uniquely positioned to dominate the next decade of film. He'll be set up to take whatever parts he likes. It may not work out, as occasionally sex symbols burn out (see: Rourke, Mickey) but you'd love to be his agent right now. And with that meandering third person omniscient reference I'll digress.
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