Chances are you’ve seen 26-year-old Australian actress Teresa Palmer on-screen—you just may not remember because you probably mistook her for Kristen Stewart. The resemblance between the two is incredibly striking, even though one is now known as a whorish homewrecker and the other is still scrabbling to really break into Hollywood. In her seven years in the biz, Teresa has worked alongside established and rising stars, from Nicolas Cage to Daniel Radcliffe; she’s often been the best part of films like I Am Number Four; and she’s now playing Liam Hemsworth‘s love interest in the upcoming Vietnam film Love and Honor.
But Teresa could have so much more! It’s pretty clear that Kristen orchestrated this cheating scandal with Rupert Sanders as a publicity stunt to detonate her Hollywood career. Even before she got caught up in the Twilight phenomenon, she had already spent nearly a decade in the public eye; being cast as Bella Swan ensured she would forever be burdened by fans’ expectations and judgments. She wanted out, which means there’s a shiny vacancy in Hollywood. Who better to fill it than a rising star who looks enough like Kristen that we’ll sit through three-minute trailers before we realize it’s a different person?
Here are five easy steps that will ensure that Teresa can easily slip into the role that Kristen’s left behind—but not as a K. Stew clone! While in some cases I’d suggest Teresa emulate Kristen’s career moves, in other cases she needs to see where Kristen failed and how she can make this niche all her own.
1. Acknowledge your doppelganger. Hollywood likes a catfight or a “Girl X” vs. “Girl Y” dynamic, but Teresa seems to have no angst at all about getting mistaken for Kristen, being more flattered and amused by the attention. She told Movieline last year,
“It’s all over the Internet. I can definitely see the resemblance. We have a similar shaped chin and we’re both dark under our eyes with similar lips. I’ve been recognized for her before. Fans will come up to me and say, ‘Oh, I loved you in Twilight‘ and ask for an autograph. One woman came up to me crying so hard — absolutely sobbing. I was so confused. I thought, ‘Did you see [my film with Adam Sandler] Bedtime Stories or something?’ [Laughs] Then she was just going nuts about Twilight.”
She went even further and actually had glowing praise for her more famous lookalike:
“What I love about Kristen Stewart is she is so edgy and so plays it against the norm. It’s very refreshing to see an actress like that really get into the fact that she is different from everybody else and that’s just the way she is. I’ve never met her but I love watching her onscreen. I think there is something dark and sexy about her. I think she is fiercely talented as well.”
2. Star in a franchise. Teresa isn’t quite here; while she was badass in I Am Number Four opposite Alex Pettyfer, the film’s performance was underwhelming enough that for now, the sequel has been shelved. However, she’s certainly on the right track with her decision to tackle a genre film. When we first heard about her zombie love story Warm Bodies a year ago, the comparisons to Twilight were undeniable, from the posing on the poster to Teresa playing a puny human and Nicholas Hoult as her self-loathing, undead soulmate.
Earlier this year, Teresa openly acknowledged the similarities between the movies, saying, “It’s almost like star-crossed lovers and that’s the same thing as Twilight, but it is its own movie. It’s dark and quirky and there’s a lot of humor in there, too.” The movie was supposed to come out this August, but it seems that Summit smartly pushed it to 2013 to avoid any overlap with Breaking Dawn, Part 2.
3. Win over Tumblr. This is perhaps Teresa’s most difficult hurdle, since it’s the Tumblr users with the “Robsten” tag that have been K. Stew’s most fervent supporters. Gaining a following will take time, but she’s set the groundwork with her work in the charity field, red-carpet appearances, modeling for magazine covers, and — most importantly! — inspiring users to create various .gifs of her in her candid moments or especially endearing movie roles.
One niche where Teresa seems to have some footing is Tumblr’s various RP (role-playing) accounts; if you search her tags page, you’ll see that many users include her photo as their characters for Harry Potter and other RP games.
4. Be badass without being mopey, and know when to poke fun at yourself. As much as Alex Pettyfer tried to become a young adult, sci-fi action star in I Am Number Four, all anyone remembers is Teresa coming in on her motorbike as Number 6 to save his ass. And this .gif:
And except for a few unintentionally meta lines in the Twilight movies, Kristen never mastered actually making light of her intense fame. Instead in every interview — especially post-cheating scandal — she came across as tortured and constantly hounded by fans and the paparazzi. By contrast, Teresa threw herself into this great Funny Or Die skit “Quirky Girl” with Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul, where she mercilessly mocked every Manic Pixie Dream Girl guys are swooning over in theaters.
Plus, Teresa has a Twitter where she actively engages with followers; Kristen never did.
5. Craft an epic Hollywood love story. I hate to say it, but audiences want a good romance. Now, it looked promising when Teresa dated Russell Brand back in 2008, but they soon broke up and she moved on to footballer Stuart Dew. Since 2011, however, she’s been dating Canadian Scott Speedman. Now, maybe if they star in a new franchise together…
Do you think Teresa has what it takes?
Photo: Castle Rock Entertainment and WENN.com/FayesVision