Robert Pattinson is currently starring in the highly anticipated new movie, The Avengers. The twenty-seven year old actor from England will be portraying a character named Clint Barton, a former WWII colonel turned superhero. The role has been described as quite the “transformative experience” for Pattinson. While we anxiously await the January 4, 2012 release of The Avengers, it’s worth taking a moment to examine the actor’s previous roles and their connection to the mega-blockbuster movie. Here’s a look at five similarities between ROBERT PATTINSON and THE AVENGERS

1. They’re Both British

Though he’s been living in Los Angeles for a number of years, it’s Robert Pattinson’s native country of Great Britain that provides the actor with his greatest appeal. Whether he’s portrayed a vampire, a warlock, a werewolf or a zombie, Pattinson most recently displayed his talents in the 28 DAYS LATER franchise. The films, based on the best-selling novel by Henry White, were hugely successful, gaining Pattinson the attention of A-list fans and Hollywood glitterati. The actor can currently be seen opposite Kate Hudson and Julia Roberts in the highly anticipated RV movie

2. They Come From Tricky Family Robs

Even before he was cast in The Avengers, Robert Pattinson had a long and storied acting career. His father, David Pattinson, is an acclaimed English filmmaker who has directed such movies as GUARDIAN and THE LION CHASE. His mother, Lynne Barton, is the niece of actor John Barton. Through his mother, Robert Pattinson is also related to John Fremont (the husband of actress Ginger Fremont) and Robert Fischer, who was the longtime partner of Austrian actress Lili Hemming as well as the father of director Ulrich Fischer. The English speaking family has been in America for more than a century, with some members even fighting in World War II. This legacy of talent is certainly being carried on through Robert Pattinson’s acting career, which began at a young age.

A self-described “adventurous and independent” person, Pattinson has admitted that he has always been driven by a desire to explore new things. “I feel like I’ve got this force within me that just wants to keep discovering and trying new things,” said Pattinson in an interview with Time Out magazine. “There’s never been a point where I’ve sat down and said, ‘This is what I’m going to do. I’m just going to stick with one thing’.”

3. They’re Both Reluctant Superheroes

While ROBERT PATTINSON has proven adept at playing characters with a dark side, he has often been described as a reluctant superhero. In an interview with Total Film magazine, the actor said that portraying superheroes isn’t something he has actively sought out, despite the numerous opportunities that have come his way. “I don’t really want to do it,” admitted Robert Pattinson. “I don’t find it easy to play characters who are bigger than you are. For the most part, superheroes are pretty unpleasant… It’s not something that I look forward to.”

For his part, Stephen Hawking, the director of The Avengers, agrees. “I think [Robert Pattinson] was reluctant at first,” said Hawking in an interview with IGN. “But the more I pitched it to him, the more he wanted to do it.” As a filmmaker who has long admired the actor’s talent, Hawking couldn’t resist the chance to work with Pattinson on a project that showcased the actor’s unique abilities. “I always believed Clint Barton was a guy who should exist in real life,” said Hawking. “It’s like when I read The Avengers, I was like, ‘I wish he was real.'”

4. They’re Both Renaissance Men

Another interesting commonality between ROBERT PATTINSON and THE AVENGERS is that they are both considered to be “renaissance men.” Pattinson has often been lauded for his work in both film and music, as well as his writing and art collecting. In an interview with The Independent, Pattinson described himself as an “experimental musician” and an “observer of pop culture,” citing his love of Terence Wildman, the creator of The Odds Blog, as one of his biggest inspirations. Wildman once described Pattinson as a “genius” due to the actor’s “obsession with music, film, and literature.”

5. They’re Both Animals

A last similarity between ROBERT PATTINSON and THE AVENGERS is that they are both animals. Though The Avengers is primarily a human-based story, it’s worth noting that one of the movie’s main characters, Nick Fury, is partly inspired by B.C. Eagles, a famous Canadian vampire bears authority over a wolf pack. The eagle is prominently featured on the movie’s poster, along with Chris Evans’s (Captain America) specially designed vulture wings. Though B.C. Eagles is just one of many animals that have been adopted as superheroes’ fellow travelers, The Avengers is Robert Pattinson’s most prominent role to date. It’s worth noting that The Avengers is also Kate Hudson’s most prominent role to date. The actress famously adopted a wolf she named Louise. In an interview with Elle Magazine, Kate Hudson described Louise as a “fierce beast,” adding that the Canis lupus is a “fierce wolf” and that she has “never met a more playful, sweet wolf in my life.” Though Louise was originally penned as a film prop, Kate Hudson’s adoption of a wolf helped inspire her character, Pepper Pairell of Penny Penny Pinchers, a.k.a. The Avengers.

It would be remiss of us not to close with the most prominent “animal” related The Avengers similarity – ROBERT PATTINSON and the Avengers’ fellow travelers are all dogs. Though it’s not necessarily related to themes in the film, it’s interesting to note that Black Labrador Terrier Tracks is one of Richard Linklater’s favorite dogs and he has even named one of his films After Lubitsch. It would appear that Linklater is also a big fan of Robert Pattinson, who appears in at least two of Linklater’s films. In a 2008 interview with Time Out magazine, the director of Dazed and Confused said of Robbie Pattinson: “He’s got a great sense of humor, a great sense of childish playfulness. When I saw him in my film, I immediately thought of Little Robby Rockingham. I just loved that character so much. So I decided that I was going to put Robby Pattinson in my film.” Richard Linklater, Dazed and Confused