In the last day or so, a couple of photos of the “Kissing Game” actor Robert Pattinson have gone viral. In one, he’s giving a cheeky little kiss to one of the dancers at last night’s Billboard Music Awards. In another, he’s posing with what appears to be a beer bottle, which has been marked with lipstick and hearts. (Yes, that’s right — he’s showing off his biceps, not drinking beer.)

The media have been scrambling to get their hands on the “Bold” actor ever since those photos leaked, and rightfully so. After all, the last thing that any self-respecting actor wants is for a bunch of paparazzi to trample over their privacy and snap their every move.

The Source Of The Photos

Unfortunately, there’s nothing new under the sun. The photos of Pattinson were taken nearly a year ago during the European premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. (Yes, that’s the sequel to the Harry Potter series – I know, it’s confusing.) The movie’s premiere was in London, England on June 11, 2011 and the photos were snapped that very night. (Wondering why the photos came out so soon after the premiere? Check this out: that’s when the part of the movie with the most buzz came out. It was a major motion picture, and the kind of movie that sticks with you for a long time. So it only makes sense that the photos would be released to capitalize on its popularity. Just like that year’s biggest and most popular fashion trends or songs.)

After the movie’s premiere, Pattinson jetted back to the U.S. to attend the American premiere of the film in Los Angeles on June 17. During his stay, the actor and longtime vegan admitted that he broke his vegan lifestyle for film – specifically for the role of a vampire in the Twilight series — and took a bite out of the classic American pastime of fish oil (you know, for the movie’s finned friends).

The Outcome

In both photos, Pattinson is totally unaware that he’s being photographed or that he’s causing such a stir. He’s certainly not posing in a sexy way or doing anything to make the paparazzi want to jump out of their seats and snap a photo. The actor is just being himself, which in today’s world means that he’s breaking all the rules.

And that’s exactly what he wanted. In fact, it was an entire strategy to walk the line between being a bad boy and a badass. He knew that he’d be the most interesting and unique thing the media had to cover in a long time, and he was right! In 2011 alone, he was involved in four high-profile car accidents, one of which was serious. (Worth noting: he wasn’t driving at the time of those accidents. His bodyguard was at the wheel.) In addition to that, he was arrested for drunken driving and vandalism. And just last week, he was involved in a severe motorcycle accident that potentially left him paralyzed. (According to a recent New York Times article, the actor “bounced off the motorcycle, slammed into a tree and was knocked unconscious. When he came to, he couldn’t move his legs.”)

Let’s face it, this year has been a rough one for Pattinson. After years of remaining relatively private, he’s finally decided to embrace his bad boy image and not care what anyone thinks. The only question now is: will this trend continue in 2012? And if so, will he emerge as a serious contender for the title of the world’s most interesting and unique celebrity?