Robert Pattinson is best known for his portrayal of the handsome and mysterious Edward Cullen in the blockbuster films Twilight and The Twilight Saga. Since his debut in the 2008 film Casanova, Pattinson has primarily worked in characterizations that feature him in a dominant role. Now that he is a single parent, he is taking the opportunity to branch out from his character Edward, exploring more diverse performances in upcoming projects. Although he has appeared in a few comedic roles, Pattinson mostly avoids the lighter tones and plays more substantial characters, often tragic ones. Most notably, he has starred in the critically acclaimed drama Legend, currently in theaters, and is set to appear in the upcoming films Dark Horizons and The Rover.

The Making Of Edward

Before his breakout role in Casanova, Pattinson had only appeared in a handful of feature films, including the 2005 James McAvoy drama The Quiet Room, where he played a young man tormented by murderous thoughts. However, it was the Scottish actor’s turn as a heartbroken college student in Martin Scorsese’s atmospheric black comedy The Sweetest Thing (2010) that put him on the map. Critics and audiences alike responded with praise for his powerful, yet vulnerable performance. While this was a major turning point for Pattinson, he is undoubtedly grateful to Scorsese for giving him the opportunity to prove himself to the world. “I grew up watching his films; without a doubt, they defined an era of filmmaking for me,” he said in an interview.

Though Scorsese has been an influential figure in Pattinson’s life, the young actor noted that there are many others who had a hand in shaping his career, including the directors of The Twilight Saga and Casanova. “I want to thank everyone who believed in this project, especially the fans who have stuck by me throughout the years and supported my acting career,” he said.

From Twilight To Solo Parenting

After leaving school at the end of 2010, Pattinson began shopping for a 3-bedroom house in London with his then girlfriend Emily Brown, whom he had met on the set of The Twilight Saga. With two children from a previous relationship already in the care of their mothers, the couple decided to make the transition to parenthood on their own terms. In June 2012, Emily gave birth to their son, Robert James Pattinson III (named after both of them).

While some may see Pattinson’s decision to eschew conventional gender roles as a step forward for the actor, the change certainly came with its challenges. “When you have a son, a lot of the thinking that went into your career before shifts,” he said in an interview. “You have to be a mother first and a star second.”

Pattinson’s first film upon becoming a father was the dark indie comedy Bad Timing, where he plays a father who, in an effort to reconnect with his son, kidnaps the child’s babysitter (played by Emilia Clarke). While some critics panned the film as “truly terrible,” praising neither the acting nor directing, others saw the movie as a bold statement by the 31-year-old. “It isn’t often that you get an opportunity to say that out loud,” he said. “You either commit or you don’t, and I committed.”

A Change Of Scenery

After filming wrapped on Bad Timing, the two-time Academy Award nominee headed to Italy in the summer of 2013 for a much-needed break. While there, he had the opportunity to explore the beautiful country and its iconic history in person and on film. “To me, Italy is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places that I have ever seen,” he said. “To be able to walk the streets and see the sights in person is something that I will never forget.”

Since his return from Italy, Pattinson has been focusing on his acting career, taking on challenging roles in significant films. In the drama Two Weekends, he plays a guilt-ridden husband who has an affair with his best friend’s wife (played by Tamara Drewe). In The Rover, he stars as Roarke, a man who befriends a suicidal alcoholic (played by Idris Elba) just as a group of neo-Nazis plan to murder the man.

Pattinson hasn’t shied away from portraying troubled characters, either. In the drama Dark Horizons, he plays a journalist for a fake news outlet who is exposed as a fraud and goes on the run from a vengeful mobster (played by John Malkovich). Malkovich was so impressed with the acting that he offered Pattinson a role in his upcoming film, The Janson Case, based on the infamous Jack the Ripper murders. It is currently unknown whether or not Pattinson will take on the role. In any event, he has stayed true to his word, continuing to play more substantial characters.

A Variety Of Roles

While Pattinson has stayed mostly away from comedic roles, he has done a little bit of everything in his various films. He has starred in both horror and action films, tackled dramatic and comedic scenes, and even taken on a supporting role in a musical. With each new role, Pattinson has proven to be a dynamic performer, embodying a character with such conviction that it borders on artistry. If there is one word to sum up the varied and impressive career of Robert Pattinson, it is “resourceful,” says critic Mike Wass. “As an actor, he has a wide arsenal at his disposal, whether it’s with his voice or his body, and he knows how to put it all to use,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see him tackle any sort of role, regardless of whether it’s serious or comedic, and give it his all.”

Pattinson In Character

In a video interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Pattinson discussed the influence that his character Edward Cullen has had on his life. “I grew up watching the films and reading the books, and I must admit that I was a little bit in love with vampires back in those days,” he said. “And now that I’m acting in the films, I’ve got a front-row seat to see how the fans reacted to my performance.”

Pattinson has received mostly positive feedback for his portrayal of the vampire, with many fans deeming it to be one of the finest things he’s ever done. “I always say that there’s two types of vampires: the romantic kind, and the scary ones,” he said. “And I think that as an actor, it’s my job to be both.” While he may not seem like the most popular topic of conversation these days, Pattinson certainly has something to offer, both on and off screen. “People usually come up to me and quote lines from the films, or ask for my autograph,” he said. “Which is great, because it means I’m doing something right.”