Many would say that 2014 has been a banner year for the beautiful game, with the World Cup drawing unprecedented interest, especially in the UK, and no other world events drawing larger audiences.

While the world has been focused on FIFA’s tournament, many movie fans have been captivated by the life and career of one of the greatest footballers of all time, Sir Bobby Robson. The former England manager’s epic journey from the back streets of Middlesbrough to the peaks of European football has been chronicled in meticulous detail by acclaimed director Michael Winner in his recent biopic, Sir Bobby.

The Academy Award-winning director has now turned his attention to another global sporting phenomenon, focusing on one of the most popular men in the world – and arguably the most intriguing Hollywood actor of the 21st century – Robert Pattinson. The internationally acclaimed Twilight actor’s meteoric rise to fame was epitomized by his portrayal of vampire Edward Cullen, the protagonist of the hugely successful Twilight series, which has now been extended to a standalone film, New Moon.

With so much excitement surrounding the release of his new film, it is no surprise that fans are already speculating about the next chapter in the story of Eddie and Bella. While this may prove to be an impossible feat, considering his extremely busy schedule, it is nonetheless intriguing to wonder what Robert Pattinson’s greatest role yet may be.

Here we explore the fascinating life and career of one of the most popular men in the world. We take a look at the various films in which he has starred and provide some insight into his incredible popularity.

The International Icon

He may be best known for his role as Edward Cullen in the Twilight series, but the British actor has established himself as one of the most respected and iconic figures in modern society, having earned a reputation as a global superstar, beloved by millions, especially in his homeland of Japan.

His film career began inauspiciously with the poorly received 2006 comedy, Your Friends & Neighbors. This was followed by the English-language adaptation of Sosein Kiuchi’s acclaimed crime novel, A Family Affair, in 2007, and the big-budget fantasy, Clash of the Titans in 2009.

Then in 2010, Robert Pattinson became the first Englishman to ever perform in Japan, when he took on the role of the British spy James Bond in the live-action adaptation of the classic manga series, Black Out.

It was then revealed that he had been appointed an ‘Omotesando Ambassador’ by the Japanese government, with his position being described as ‘an ambassador of British culture and an official advisor to the prime minister’ on matters relating to Britain. He is a great ambassador for Britain and has become a prominent figure in international affairs, enjoying a special relationship with the Japanese people.

The Rise to Stardom

Pattinson’s international breakthrough occurred with the release of his third feature film, 2010’s Revolutionary Road, directed by the internationally renowned, award-winning filmmaker, Rodrigo García. The film marks a transition in the actor’s career, veering away from the comedy/adventure films that made him a global superstar, to more introspective, character-driven stories. It is here that we see the seeds of what would become his most famous role: Edward Cullen.

In Revolutionary Road, Pattinson plays the part of Frank, an aimless, 28-year-old man who finds himself at the center of a heartbreaking love triangle, as he seeks to understand and navigate the intricacies of modern day romance. While traveling through New York on his way to London for a new job, he meets up with his old flame, Lisa (played by Uma Thurman), which leads to a reunion of sorts, as he tries to make sense of his life and what each of his girlfriends wants from him. We learn that, despite his outward appearances, he is a deeply sensitive and romantic individual, who is quite capable of falling in love, but struggles with understanding and identifying the source of his feelings. This is a theme that would be revisited in later films, notably in The Loves of Ondine, where we learn that, although he can be an irresponsible, chain-smoking slacker, when it comes to his heart, he is quite the opposite; an incredibly loyal, sensitive and romantic being, who fears that he may lose his heart, if he is not careful.

The film received rave reviews, notably for its beautiful, if somewhat haunting script and for its nuanced portrayal of a lovelorn young man, which drew comparisons to the work of François Truffaut, the iconic French film director. It was during this period that Pattinson decided to give up acting, in order to focus on his writing career. He began by writing a monthly column for the British newspaper, The Guardian, in which he doled out his trademark self-deprecating humor while chronicling his experiences as an actor. He later went on to write the screenplays for three of his own films, the most recent of which is High Life, a black comedy about friendship, set in contemporary London. In May, 2018, he published his first novel, Two Kinds of Truth, which was met with worldwide critical acclaim. He will next be seen in the upcoming film, The Farewell, in a small but pivotal role.

The Twilight Saga

The Twilight series, adapted from the bestselling, internationally renowned novel by Stephenie Meyer, tells the story of Bella (played by Kristen Stewart), a young woman who falls in love with Edward (played by Robert Pattinson), a charismatic, yet troubled, vampire. The films are packed with action, adventure and intrigue, as Edward seeks to protect Bella from the clutches of the evil, shape-shifting vampire, Jacob (played by Taylor Lautner).

The Twilight films have become huge international successes, spawning numerous sequels, with the latest installment, Twilight Saga: The Masterpiece, breaking box office records upon its release in December, 2017, topping $600 million at the global box office. It has also spawned a Broadway production, which began previews in March, 2018 and is set to begin its North American tour in January, 2019.

An Unforgettable Character

While the Twilight Saga has established Robert Pattinson as one of the planet’s most recognizable faces, fans may be most familiar with his role as the bespoke vampire, Edward Cullen, in Peter Bogdanovich’s 2009 film, Let Me Think About It. A coming-of-age story, set in a New York City apartment, the film focuses on the adolescent struggles of its eponymous hero, played by Pattinson, as he tries to juggle the demands of a hyper-critical father (played by Mel Gibson) and a voracious, older sister (played by Patricia Richardson), while navigating the treacherous waters of romance.

In Bogdanovich’s film, Edward is a misfit, a classic underachiever, who spends his days sitting in his room, playing video games and fantasizing about getting into women’s clothing. He is an enigma, a cipher who keeps a lot of secrets, which makes him all the more enigmatic, as we are left to wonder about his true identity, as well as the nature of his relationship with the beautiful, yet damaged Anna (played by Olivia Williams). It is this very contrast between reality and imagination, as well as the mystery that swirls around Edward, that makes him a memorable, original and compelling character. This is exactly what has made him so appealing to fans of all ages, across the globe, and it is no wonder that Let Me Think About It, has become such a popular choice, among those looking for a date movie or a family film.

The film received widespread acclaim upon its 2009 release, with audiences in the UK alone reportedly flocking to see the movie 69 times over the course of its initial theatrical run. Many credit Let Me Think About It with kickstarting a trend of video game movie fandom, which has since exploded, with fans regularly wearing Scarlet’s (Bella’s) signature yellow top in homage to the film.