I don’t think anyone expected 13-year-old actor Robert Pattinson to be the next big thing, but here we are. Since his starring role in the Twilight series, the former Disney actor has appeared in big-name films like The Divergent Series and The Great Gatsby, and he’s even landed a part in the next Star Wars film. He recently wrapped filming on Child’s Play, in which he plays a creepy doll maker, and he has a role in the upcoming film, The House with the Trees, which will be released in Fall 2019.

If you didn’t know any better, you’d swear Robert Pattinson had been doing this acting thing for ages. It would be easy to assume he was just doing kid’s movies because he was a teen when he started acting, but that’s not the case at all. In fact, the young Pattinson has been acting for as long as he can remember, and he credits his grandmother for encouraging him to pursue acting at a young age.

“She said, ‘You can do anything that you put your mind to. You just have to believe in yourself.’ And that’s what helped me the most,” he said. “I didn’t really have a choice in the matter because I had to follow my father.”

His father, who is a commercial director, saw acting as a way to navigate the Hollywood system and gain more creative control over his projects. His first big break came when he landed a role in the 2010 film, The Rover, which also starred George Clooney. Since then, he’s appeared in a number of big-name films and TV shows, often playing brothers or friends to co-stars like Jake Gyllenhaal or Hugh Grant. While his early work was fairly standard, it was his work in the 2013 film, Water for Elephants, that put a twist on an old Hollywood trope and made him an internet sensation due to his uncanny resemblance to French comedian, Gilles Marini.

From Kid’s Movies To Feature Films

If you thought the young Pattinson was only acting in kid’s movies, then you’d be absolutely wrong. Over the past five years, he’s steadily climbed the ranks and been featured in bigger and more challenging projects, often stepping aside from his usual tween and teen roles to play older versions of himself or even complete strangers.

He gained critical and commercial acclaim for his work in the 2014 historical film, The Great Gatsby, opposite Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, and Benicio del Toro. Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, the film follows the young protagonist as he navigates the Roaring 20s in New York City. For his performance, Pattinson won the 2015 BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role along with an array of other accolades, including the Critic’s Choice Award and Screen Actors’ Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Youth Actor in a Feature Film.

A Twist On An Old Hollywood Trope

It’s no secret that Hollywood has had a major obsession with young actors playing older versions of themselves for quite some time. In fact, the practice of age-appropriation is so commonplace that there’s even a Twitter hashtag, #IAmYourAge, for people to share photos of themselves playing characters of a different age. While Robert Pattinson isn’t the first teen actor to play an older version of himself, he is one of the main examples of this trend.

In the past, this was largely considered a gimmick used by older actors trying to remain relevant in an era where youth was the preferred trait. While it’s certainly still used today, thanks in large part to social media platforms like TikTok, the practice has evolved to mean something more. The younger the actor, the more he is able to embody the traits and characteristics of the character he is playing, regardless of what era he is choosing to represent.

A Range Of Characters

Speaking of evolving trends, it wasn’t long ago that playing a caricature was the done thing for young actors trying to prove their talents in Hollywood. These days, it’s not only acceptable but expected for teen actors to display a range of characters, often playing various roles in the same movie. After all, in today’s world, we are all capable of being anything we want, and it’s often said that character is more important than story. This is why it’s so important for an actor to learn how to play a specific type of character, regardless of whether or not they believe they can pull off that person.

What was once considered a gimmick for young actors has become a skill, and one that Pattinson has mastered. Since his breakthrough role in Water for Elephants, he has continued to show an aptitude for playing a range of characters. While some may consider Twilight to be a gimmick, it’s actually an indicator of how versatile and natural Pattinson is as an actor. Aside from being the next big thing, he’s also one of the most in-demand teen actors of this generation, and it’s not hard to see why.

A Confident Actor Who Is Not Afraid To Experiment

It’s one thing to be a talented actor, but it’s another to be able to carry off a role. Since the dawn of time, Hollywood has preferred their actors to possess a certain degree of physical resemblance to the characters they portray onscreen, but these days, that isn’t necessarily a requirement. Thanks to makeup artists, special effects, and digital editing, it’s now possible for artists to craft a diverse range of characters that still bear some resemblance to the actor playing them. This has led to a rise in non-stereotypical characters being created by Hollywood, which in turn, has helped to break down some of the barriers that once existed between actors of different ethnicities, religions, and political persuasions.

Pattinson’s Influence

It wasn’t just the talent that landed Robert Pattinson his coveted role in Water for Elephants; it was also due to his perseverance and confidence. The young Canadian actor, who turned 19 last week, was born and raised in London, and he attended the exclusive private Anglican school, St. Mary’s, before heading off to Oxford University to study English literature. After earning a double degree, he decided to forgo the traditional route of finding work in the mainstream film industry and headed to Los Angeles, where he had a series of odd, and mostly unpaid, jobs, before being cast in a minor role in a movie, opposite Keira Knightley. From there, the rest is history.

What Will The Future Of Acting Look Like?

Even those who are unfamiliar with Robert Pattinson may be familiar with his work. Since his 2013 BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, he has continued to work steadily, appearing in a series of blockbusters and high profile films, alongside stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. While the young actor may not always get the prestigious roles he deserves, it’s clear he is poised to become one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.