It’s been twenty years since the release of the original Twilight, and the franchise has endured largely because of its lead actor, Robert Pattinson. The English hunk has been at the center of a cult following since starring as Edward Cullen in the 2005 blockbuster, and in the years since then, he’s appeared in numerous other films and lined up numerous blockbuster projects of his own. While promoting his upcoming performance in David LeRoy’s On the Road, we talked to Pattinson about his latest film, the state of his love life, and his Twilight fandom.

On the Road

In On the Road, Pattinson plays Roarke, a journalist who travels to Italy to interview an author (Sandra Bullock) who’s written a book about the 1920s grand tour. It’s a fairly standard story in a book that already has more than two million copies in print. The only thing that sets this particular story apart from so many others is that Bullock’s character is so passionate about her subject matter that she chases Pattinson around Europe for most of the film. What starts as a whirlwind romance quickly turns into an obsession as Bullock tries to change his mind about writing his next book and convince him to stay with her in Florence.

A New Generation Of Moviegoers

Pattinson is best known for playing brooding characters that the audience can either root for or against. While On the Road isn’t exactly a good example of a character-driven story, it’s clear that he’s having a blast playing against type. The actor is perfectly cast as Roarke, a character he describes as someone who “doesn’t care about anything or anyone other than getting his story and going home.”

This kind of character is a far cry from the characters he played in his first Hollywood film, the vampire angst-ridden Edward Cullen in Twilight. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to compare the two. Edward’s character was the product of a time when vampire stories were considered terrifyingly realistic and resonated with audiences more than sixty years later. Today, vampires and other supernatural creatures aren’t exactly commonplace in American culture. As a result, it’s difficult to find an audience for stories focusing on vampires and otherworldly creatures. Still, while Edward’s adventures may not exactly translate to the big screen, his impact on future generations of actors couldn’t be more evident.

A Different Kind Of Vampire

Aside from vampires, Edward Cullen was also the first actor to play a werewolf in cinema history. In keeping with the modern-day reboot of the genre, On the Road doesn’t feature any werewolves, but it does feature a lot of wolves. The difference is that these aren’t your ordinary run-of-the-mill wolves. The filmmaker Duncan Tucker explains, “They’re grey wolves, which is a cross between a wolf and a dog. So they’re a little bit like a combination of the two, but don’t have the viciousness of a purebred wolf.”

As Tucker notes, those who see themselves as part-dog, part-wolf may relate to this depiction of the furred creatures, but the similarities to Edward Cullen end there. These wolves aren’t like the Twilight series’ iconic vampire, they’re more like friendly dogs who’ve been born with the bad luck to be accidentally infused with the blood of a raging lycanthropic demon.

A Different Kind Of Romance

Although the film industry has changed, Hollywood has remained largely the same. The types of stories that it tells and the way that it portrays love haven’t changed a bit. On the Road is a story about a relationship, but it’s also a much different kind of relationship than what we’ve seen portrayed onscreen in the past. The romantic connection between Bullock’s character and Pattinson’s Roarke is portrayed as something entirely different. As Bullock says, “He’s a hard man to pin down, to put a label on. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a date with an astronaut or a ballerina or even a dentist. So I guess I can’t really say that I know what kind of man I’m involved with.”

While her character’s lack of experience doesn’t exactly lend itself to an easy romance, it doesn’t get in the way of their developing an intimate connection. As Roarke notes, “It’s never easy, starting something new, especially when you’re scared that you’ll make a mistake and hurt someone you care about. But I feel like I can tell her anything, because she’s the only one who knows me better than I know myself.”

Why Do You Love Playing Vampires?

Aside from the fact that vampires are one of the few remaining pure fantasy genres in film, the opportunity to play a character with no physical requirements other than being seductive is a unique one. Vampires don’t have to worry about the kind of training that other actors have to go through in order to achieve a certain level of physicality. As a result, it’s often not a case of finding the right look for a part, but rather, it’s more like finding the part that looks like you. For many actors, this is a definite plus. If you’ve ever played a vampire, you know that this is a role that can completely transform your appearance. If not, it can still help you find the right look for some other role. Even if you don’t get the chance to play a vampire, it’s still an opportunity to transform your look and see how others will react. So whether you’ve always wanted to play a vampire or just thought it would be fun to try out a different look, On the Road is the movie for you.