The British actor Robert Pattinson is currently in the midst of a career resurgence, starring in some of this year’s biggest movies. A self-proclaimed “demolition expert”, he has made a career of destroying his expensive vehicles and expensive houses; he even recreated an entire house with only the minimum essentials! He also has a fondness for expensive dresses and accessories, which he often wears with grim determination. This love of luxurious items has turned him into something of a superstar, and his fans go wild whenever he appears in public. Some of his admirers have even taken to calling him “Robert Pattinson Damulka”, a combination of the Twilight actor and Hannibal Lecter, the infamous serial killer from The Silence of the Lambs. Are the rumors true? Is Robert Pattinson really a monster who goes around committing crimes against humanity just to have fun? You’ll have to read on to find out!

The Demolition Expert

One of Robert Pattinson’s many talents is taking complicated machines and turning them into simple, easy-to-follow instructions. He is a self-professed “demolition expert” who specializes in taking on extravagant houses and expensive cars with his bare hands and using his ingenuity to find solutions where there are none. He even brought a professional squad with him to film a few of his DIY demolition adventures, showcasing how he single-handedly brought down his ex-girlfriend’s $150,000 (£120,000) mansion, featured in the opening credits to the 2017 drama Beautiful People.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, the actor confessed to being “very impressed” with how the finished product turned out, saying that he “did not realize what [he] had signed up for” when he accepted the role. He also revealed that he had no idea how big his celebrity would become, nor does he consider himself a professional demolisher. “I’m just a normal dude who enjoys a challenge, and I like to do things fast and efficiently,” he said.

Damsel-in-Distress

While most of us are still in the grips of the #MeToo movement and are seeking justice for sexual assault and harassment, it seems that some men have found a new way to express their dissatisfaction. For men who have been labeled as “sensitive” or “feminine”, “Damsel-in-Distress” is the name given to describe their behaviour; for others, it is known as “beta male behavior”. Essentially, men are learning that expressing feminine behavior, such as crying or showing emotion, is seen as a sign of weakness and can get them labeled as such.

Robert Pattinson’s latest role was that of David Watts in the indie drama A Rainy Day in May. Watts is a middle-aged, divorced engineer who finds himself unexpectedly tasked with raising his nine-year-old nephew, Billy, after the boy’s parents are tragically killed one day when a drunk driver plows into their car. Having never been a father himself, David struggles to cope with the responsibility and builds up a bond with his emotionally distant young nephew. What starts as father-son bonding gradually turns into something more.

While in most cases being the father of a young child would be enough to make anyone emotional, for the sensitive, “Damsel-in-Distress” it is the need to protect and look after Billy that comes most naturally. Seeing as the boy’s parents were his friends, David feels acutely responsible for his family and doesn’t want to let anyone—especially himself—down by falling prey to his own weaknesses. In the end, he proves to be an unlikely hero, sacrificing his own wants and needs to ensure that Billy is protected and happy.

A Monster, Or A Lovable Adolescent?

In a society that worships success and material items, it’s no wonder that some fans have turned into monsters, comparing the young star to the villains he plays and accusing him of being a serial killer. After his performance as Hamlet in 2015, in which he acted with extreme emotion, fans were quick to compare his acting style to that of Hannibal Lecter, the psychopathic villain from The Silence of the Lambs. While one can argue that Hamlet and Lecter are not exactly the same character, they share many similarities, particularly in their disregard for social convention and love of luxury items.

Hannibal Lecter, played by Jamell Fisher, is a refined psychopath who eats his victims’ flesh after cutting off their faces. Inspired by Thomas Harris’ 1986 novel, The Silence of the Lambs is notable for its grotesque imagery, lurid descriptions of cannibalism, and disturbing visuals, which were all new to mainstream cinema at the time of its release.

Lecter is a complex character, a man who craves knowledge and challenges, and it is his appetite for learning that drives the story. He is a man who questions authority, and in a society that honors strength and intimidation, it is no wonder that some fans have compared him to Robert Pattinson, an English actor who frequently plays strong and silent types.

Like the villains he plays, Robert Pattinson has taken on many roles throughout his career that are not always a reflection of the “good guy” he plays in the movies. Most notably, in 2012 he played the antagonist in the romantic comedy Realistic Romance. The film follows a couple (played by Jennifer Lawrence and John Cusack) who fall in love while hiding their relationship from their seemingly ageless, childless friends who are desperate for grandchildren. After initially resisting, the couple is eventually persuaded to have a child by their friends, who claim that grandchildren are the best gift you can give a person.

Despite playing the role of a child’s loving uncle in A Rainy Day in May, David Watts is not necessarily a monster and is certainly far from representing the stereotypical “beta male”. In fact, A Rainy Day in May is a far cry from Realistic Romance, and both characters prove to be more complex and interesting, in part, because of the circumstances that shape their behavior. Yet, the comparison to Hannibal Lecter, as gruesome as it may be, is unavoidable, and even the film’s director acknowledges that, saying, “We can’t help but compare him to Hannibal Lecter, a character that is both terrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

Some fans have come to view Robert Pattinson as a monster, but others see him as a lovable adolescent, motivated by his love for fast cars, expensive sunglasses, and pretty ladies. After all, isn’t that what the paparazzi are all about?