When you think of the most iconic couples in film history, the first iconic image that probably comes to mind is of Robert Pattinson and Kate Winslet. The former is best known for his role in the 2012 movie The Hobbit, and the latter for her performance in the 2004 movie Riviera.

Though they’ve been together since 2014, it wasn’t until their 2012 film Snow White And The Huntsman that the world really got to know these two. They’ve since starred in several other high profile films, most notably 2017’s The Rover, and are arguably one of the most in-demand celebrity couples in Hollywood.

Now, the British actor is set to lead a band of adventurers seeking fame and fortune in the titular town in Louisa May Alcott’s 1880 novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. In an adaptation of Alcott’s original short story, Pattinson plays the role of Tom Sawyer, the resourceful young boy who conspires with Jim, the town blacksmith (played by actor Dave Franco) and Becky, the town drunk (played by actor Luke Wilson), to steal a ride on the famed Riverboat Run, which runs through the fictitious town of Mississippi (named for its real-life counterpart) in the 1930s. They want to meet the big shots of the town so they can be famous, but end up getting into trouble. The adventure turns out to be more exciting than they expected, changing their lives forever.

While it’s not the first adaptation of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (the novel was previously turned into a 1934 film starring Buster Keaton), this new take is being hailed as the best ever made. And it’s easy to see why. Pattinson is giving a riveting performance as Tom Sawyer, as charismatic and magnetic as his real-life counterpart. He brings the same improvisational and comedic skills that helped make him a viral sensation in 2014 with the movie The Rover to the role of Tom Sawyer. Though he’s not physically intimidating, he exudes an air of authority and confidence that isn’t over-dressed.

The filmmakers couldn’t have chosen a better person than Pattinson to play the young mastermind behind the heist. Here, he talks to ELLE UK about his technique, the making of his breakout role in The Hobbit, and how he stays fit for the big roles.

How Does He Research For His Roles?

“I like to do a lot of research, especially with Louisa May Alcott’s work, as I feel like I can bring something new to the table that most people haven’t seen before,” Pattinson told ELLE UK in a recent interview. “Also, with my character in The Rover, I wanted to approach it from a different angle, so I did a lot of reading on the American Depression, the Dust Bowl [a geological phenomenon that caused severe environmental damage in the U.S. in the 1930s] and the Great Migration, the mass exodus of African Americans from the South to the North following the Civil War.”

These are all things that his character, Tom Sawyer, is partly responsible for, as he helps the blacksmith Jim (Dave Franco) and Becky (Luke Wilson) plan their heist to rob the rich and famous of their gold jewelry in the eponymous novel. The research gave Pattinson a fresh perspective on the classic story and its iconic title character.

Is He A Larger-Than-Life Figure?

When you first meet Pattinson, you might not instantly realize he’s the famous person he’s famous for. This is primarily due to the fact that he doesn’t draw attention to himself; he lets his acting do the talking. That being said, this does not mean he doesn’t exude presence. For example, when he was cast in The Rover, the producers of the movie were hesitant to cast him because they thought he wouldn’t fit the bill as the lead. After seeing his work in The Hobbit, they quickly changed their minds.

“In the beginning, I didn’t have any scenes with Luke (Wilson) or Dave (Franco), so it was quite early on in the process that I started working with my fellow Welshman, Richard Griffiths, who plays the judge in the movie,” he said. “From the moment that he started showing me different ways of reacting to things, like the way a judge might react to a trial, it was like I’d been born again. All of a sudden, the character started taking shape in my head.”

“The interesting thing about Robert is that he’s incredibly humble. He almost never takes credit for the roles that he’s played, and always points out the other people who helped him,” Kate Winslet, his co-star in the Oscar-winning film The Reader, told ELLE UK in 2014. “Even when he wins an award, he’ll say, ‘This award is for the people who worked hard on this movie’. It’s very generous of him.”

This is one of the things that makes him so attractive to the audience. While he’s a talented actor who always puts the work in, he doesn’t put himself in the center of the attention; it’s always the character he’s playing that gets the limelight. Though that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a spotlight occasionally trained on him (he was one of the most photographed men in the world in 2017), it’s probably safe to say that if you’re reading this, you know who he is.

What’s The Most Memorable Role He’s Played?

As mentioned above, Pattinson is probably best known for his role in The Hobbit, which was released in 2012, based on the J.R.R. Tolkien novel. Though it wasn’t until later that year that he began receiving wider recognition for his role in The Rover, it was actually 2011’s The Dark Knight Rises that marks his breakthrough as an actor. Before The Dark Knight Rises, it was primarily known that he played the love interest of Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character in 2004’s The Princess Diaries. After making a brief appearance as another famous Englishman, Sherlock Holmes, in 2009’s Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, the world learned more about Pattinson’s prowess as an actor.

Though he’s appeared in several notable films, including The Iron Lady, The Kings Speech, and the aforementioned The Rover, it’s his performance as Llewelyn in 2015’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. that sticks out the most. Coincidentally, this year will mark the 70th anniversary of the titular character, which will likely prove to be the character that he is most closely associated with.

What Is His Fitness Routine?

Though he’s been in the business for more than 20 years, Pattinson still maintains an understated physical appearance. In general, he tries to stay fit by doing cardio and weight training at the gym as often as possible. He also makes sure to walk ten minutes every day, no matter the weather, and he practices the piano. He credits his longevity in the profession to his fitness routine and the fact that he doesn’t overindulge in foods or drinks with added sugar.

“I try to avoid processed food and drink. I think they’re the primary cause of most illnesses. When I do eat junk food, it tends to go straight to my thighs. So I try to keep it under control. I don’t drink soda either, so I try to stay away from those kinds of things as well,” he said. “I eat lots of vegetables and the occasional steak or hamburger. I’ve been known to have a chocolate cupcake here and there, but for the most part, I stay away from sweets.”

Though he takes pride in portraying a more mature character in recent years, this does not mean that he’s led a dull life. Far from it! In reality, he still likes to have fun and is known to cook the occasional treat for himself or his friends. He also plays an active role in the charity Elton John AIDS Foundation, and is an ambassador for the animal-protection organization Free From Harm.

“I suppose the only difference now is that I’m a little less likely to get drunk and do stupid things. I did a lot of drug-related drama in my early twenties, which was fun but hard to look back on now,” he told ELLE UK in 2014. “I also got into fist-fighting with some of the guys I played soccer with in Los Angeles. Sometimes it was just for fun, but sometimes it was also about prestige. I suppose that’s something you have to check deep down inside yourself before you do something like that.”