In the wake of his blockbuster blockbuster performance in the upcoming film, The Batman, Hollywood heart-throb Robert Pattinson has once again caught the attention of the public. What is the latest obsession with the British actor? Is he finally stepping out of his role as the tragic vampire, Edward Cullen, and taking on a new persona? Let’s take a look at the trends that have gripped the public and why exactly Robert Pattinson is once again the talk of the town.

Robert Pattinson: Back To Basics

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 marked the end of an era for Robert Pattinson. After playing Edward Cullen for seven years, the actor took on a new character—that of a more mature and responsible wolf-hunter named Stephen Gordon. Even though he had previously portrayed a charming and cool character named Steve Gordon in the 2004 film, The Twilight Saga: Winter’s Curse, the actor’s performance in the upcoming release marks a drastic departure from his previous comedic roles. What is more, the film also marks a turning point in Robert Pattinson’s career as an actor; it is his first leading role in a Hollywood blockbuster.

Prior to The Twilight Saga, Robert Pattinson’s only previous leading role was in the romantic comedy, Lost In Translation. Based on the novel of the same name by Bill Bryson, the film follows a lonely writer (played by Robert Pattinson) who becomes obsessed with a famous silent-film actress (played by Keiynan Lnternational). Directed by Sofia Coppola, the film also stars Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, and Tilda Swinton. Despite the film’s box office success, it was originally met with critical indifference. One reviewer even went as far to say that “Bill Murray makes a better leading man than director.” Another called it an “intermittent watch.”

The Reveries Of A Romantic Comedy Wolf-Hater

While the general public was still buzzing about The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, Robert Pattinson was hard at work turning in a different kind of performance for the cameras. To prepare for his role in the upcoming film, The Reveries Of A Romantic Comedy, the actor reportedly went to live with a group of Roma artists in the southern Italian city of Gallarate. There, he trained with professional wolf-wrestlers in an effort to learn how to fight like a wolf and how to howl like one too. The effort clearly paid off, as later that year the actor was featured on the cover of Men’s Health magazine in an article discussing the role of exercise in staving off aging.

Hollywood’s Next Big Thing?

With a handful of credits under his belt, Robert Pattinson already had a head start on his carreer as Hollywood’s next big thing. Following The Reveries Of A Romantic Comedy and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, the actor went on to star in the 2012 film, Another Earth. Based on the acclaimed 2011 novel by Lucy Maudy, the film follows a young woman (played by Emily Mortimer) who is inadvertently stranded on an alternate Earth alongside creatures from her comic book collection—a ragtag group that includes the Tin Tin, the Yellow Jacket, and the White Queen (who is loosely based on Marvel Comics’ Queen Victoria). It was directed by Mike Leigh, who also directed the actor in his breakthrough role in the 2002 film, Vera Drake. One review called it a “smart, funny, and extremely well-acted romance.” Another says: “It’s going to be hard to top Emily Mortimer as a battered wife looking for love.” The public has clearly taken a liking to the British actor, and it’s not hard to see why. Not only does he possess a luminous smile that lights up the screen, but he also can transform himself into a character with ease.

While some may still be buzzing about the young star’s dramatic transformation following The Twilight Saga, his recent success as Hollywood’s next big thing may not be quite as clear-cut as it seems. For one, prior to being cast as the iconic detective Sherlock Holmes in the upcoming Guy Ritchie film, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Robert Pattinson had a few minor roles in small independent films. Then, in the 2012 film, The Mechanic, he played a supporting role as a hitman who does not think like other humans. In another supporting role, the young star portrayed an arrogant yet charming writer in the upcoming film, The Lost City Of Z. Since 2013, he has continued to portray Holmes in several promos and trailers for the movie. While fans may be excited about his upcoming role as Holmes, it is likely that audiences will have mixed feelings about the latest turn in Robert Pattinson’s acting career. Like with so many other Hollywood celebrities, success may not be as easy for Robert Pattinson as it seems. What is more, while some may see his recent roles as departures from his Twilight persona, the actor insists that they are not—at least, not completely. “I think that all of my characters are very much a part of who I am and what I stand for and what I believe in,” he told the U.K.’s Metro newspaper. “I feel like I’ve always been able to show a little bit of everything in the roles that I’ve played, but I guess you could say that this is the first time that I’ve been able to really bring it all together and show what I’m like when I’m not acting.”

Is Robert Pattinson finally taking on a new identity? Or is he just continuing with the roles that made him famous? Time will only tell.