Robert Pattinson (left) and Dean DeHaan star in 'Life,' a drama about '50s actor James Dean.  (Photo: Studio)

Robert Pattinson (left) and Dane DeHaan star in ‘Life,’ a drama about ’50s actor James Dean. (Photo: Studio)

Robert Pattinson and Dane DeHaan are the focus of the film “Life,” which examines the close relationship between ’50s film icon James Dean and Life magazine photographer Dennis Stock. DeHaan so feared the role he says he turned it down five times.

DeHaan Plays Dean opposite Pattinson’s Stock in the compelling drama.

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Stock, a photographer for the Magnum Photos Agency, was hired by Life to photograph Dean before he became famous ahead of the release of his first feature film “East of Eden.”

Stock followed Dean from Los Angeles to New York to his hometown in Indiana and came way with iconic photos of the young star.

They would come to symbolize Dean’s artistry following his tragic death in a car accident on Sept. 30, 1955 at 24.

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DeHaan said his wife finally convinced him to tackle the role after she noted that he always talked about his desire to play challenging parts.

“I realized I was operating out of fear,” he told actor Patrick Wilson, who interviewed him Sunday (May 3) at the Montclair Film Festival in New Jersey. (via the WSJ)

After accepting the role, DeHaan was determined to capture Dean, down to his Midwestern dialect and physical appearance. So, he asked the studio to hire a dialect coach and he gained 25 pounds for the role.

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“I’m proud of it,” he said of the film. “It’s a really beautiful, slow, introspective movie.”

“Life” premiered at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival in February to generally positive reviews according to the limited number of critics who saw the movie. It also screened at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.

Metacritic gave the film a 62 rating based on reviews from four critics. The rating is considered “favorable.”

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DeHaan’s take on Dean was called “magnetic” in trade rag Variety, which called the picture an “engaging, elegiac portrait of a legend in the making.”

“Gorgeous production values and ace star turns make it a thoroughly marketable arthouse prospect,” wrote critic Guy Lodge.

But the UK’s Guardian newspaper had a different take, calling the film “worryingly and ironically lifeless.”

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“It’s a laborious, lugubrious movie maintained at a somnolent cool-jazz tempo – a waxworky piece of American icon worship,” wrote critic Peter Bradshaw.

Pattinson also took some knocks. “Sadly, Pattinson’s natural style and charisma is suppressed, perhaps because Dean is supposed to be the charismatic one,” Bradshaw wrote. “It’s a frankly flat and unengaged performance.”

Check out the video above. Pattinson and DeHaan discuss the film. Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest movie news.