Robert Pattinson, Dustin Diamond – and other unlikely Hollywood housemates

Before he made millions as a brooding vampire, Robert Pattinson was a bit-part Hogwarts alumnus, fresh off the plane and in need of a bed and guiding light in Los Angeles. So who stepped up? Screech, AKA Dustin Diamond, the geek with the hair from 90s TV show Saved by the Bell.

“I loved it. I really miss it,” Pattinson said on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show of the time he and Diamond shared a flat. He added: “Dustin was the first person to introduce me to Hot Pockets!” Microwaved sandwiches? Hollywood hellraisers they were not.

Occasionally, young flatmates in the movie game both make the Hollywood big time, so it is fun – and sometimes surprising – to reunite their names. Here are a few winners.

Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito. Photograph: Rex Features

Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito

In 1960s New York, where Douglas and DeVito went to acting school, chores were as big a deal as any quest for future megastardom. “Michael did the laundry,” DeVito told the Daily News in 2008. “Did he tell you I was a slob?” Douglas asked, adding: “It was a magical time, we were getting paid to act!” The pair developed an easy signal when either required privacy: a sock on the door.

Winona Ryder and Gwyneth Paltrow

Winona Ryder and Gwyneth Paltrow. Photograph: Rex Features

Winona Ryder and Gwyneth Paltrow

The toxic uncoupling of 90s LA roommates Ryder and Paltrow is the stuff of Hollywood gossip legend. Ryder, who reportedly lost the lead role in Shakespeare in Love to Paltrow, was rumoured to be the subject of a gloriously bitchy post on Paltrow’s Goop blog, in which Paltrow recalled a “venomous and dangerous frenemy”, adding: “One day, I heard that something unfortunate and humiliating had happened to this person. And my reaction was deep relief – and happiness.”

Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones

Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones. Photograph: Rex Features

Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones

Gore and Jones formed a lifelong bond across the hall of their Harvard dorm. They then moved in together, as Jones recalled when he gave the nominating speech for Gore at the Democratic National Convention in 2000. “We shot pool and watched Star Trek when maybe we should have been studying for exams,” he said, adding: “I always knew that he had the brains and the heart to change the whole world.”

Holly Hunter and Frances McDormand

Holly Hunter and Frances McDormand. Composite: Rex; Getty

Holly Hunter and Frances McDormand

In the early 80s, the Coen brothers were casting in New York for Blood Simple, their first film, when a young stage actor called Holly Hunter caught their eye. They called her in for audition, but Hunter was tied up in another play. So she went home and told her flatmate to audition instead. Frances McDormand, then 26, got the role, married Joel Coen and went on to star in several of the brothers’ films, including Fargo, for which she won an Oscar.

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