When you’re one of the most popular actors of our time, it can be difficult to find a decent-sized role that doesn’t suck. But that’s exactly what Robert Pattinson found himself in during 2018, as he had to turn down several major movie roles in order to concentrate on his music and film projects.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Pattinson discussed how his decision to forgo Hollywood forced him to focus on his other creative outlets, which included writing music and making films. The result was a banner year for the British actor, who not only launched his own film company, Pattinson Productions, but scored a No. 1 album with his band, the Robert Pattinson Band, and starred in acclaimed horror film The Lighthouse, all while maintaining his spot as one of the world’s most attractive men.

Here, we examine the surprising ways that Pattinson’s film and music career took off in a big way in 2018, as well as the impact that his decision to forgo Hollywood had on other celebrities, moviemakers and their projects.

Hollywood’s Most Handsome Man Is More Than Just Looks

Anyone who’s ever been exposed to modern culture knows that appearances can be deceiving, and that’s certainly true when it comes to celebrity. With a screen presence that’s as intoxicating as it is unique, Pattinson rose to fame for his brooding, enigmatic character, Tom Hardy, in the film adaptation of Dame Anne Bennett’s 1996 novel The Ode to Orange Blossom. The 25-year-old actor was dubbed the “Sexy Tom Hardy” due to his perfectly sculpted cheekbones, piercing blue eyes and brooding demeanor.

Hardy was one of several notable films and television shows that Pattinson turned down in 2018. He passed on playing Sherlock Holmes in Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes, Danny Ocean in the sequel to The Rush (known as The Door peoples’ Danny Ocean), as well as a role in the science-fiction series Space X 3. Instead, he starred in small independent films such as The Gentlemen, The Lighthouse and the horror flick The Eve of Adam, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. While most Hollywood stars would kill for those roles, they went to men much older than Pattinson, who is currently dating Mia Wasikowska, a 28-year-old actress and model.

A film director and producer, Pattinson also collaborated with singer-songwriter Kat Curtis on a song for the soundtrack of The Eve of Adam, which was produced by Greg Kurstin (Album Artist). The track, titled “Waves,” was inspired by Curtis’s experience surfing and is an ode to the crashing waves that swept away the couple’s innocence as teenagers. A self-professed surfer-baby-turned-pop-star, Curtis is known for her powerful pipes and emotional, raw music, which has won her fans, headlined tours and led to collaborations with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Will Iams, Kenny Rogers and Pattinson.

Pattinson’s Film Company Scores With The Help Of A Surprising Partner

While working on The Eve of Adam, Pattinson met Curtis while filming the Gregg Kurstin-directed documentary Red Carpet Rebellion, which follows celebrities as they walk the red carpet before, during and after the Golden Globes awards ceremony. With Curtis looking on as his co-star, he chatted about the making of the film with Sharon Basaraba, the director of photography for The Weinstein Company, who exclaimed, “This is the best-looking film I’ve ever seen!”

Pattinson’s relationship with The Weinstein Company (TWC) is noteworthy, as it was the producer’s insistence that the young actor star in what’s arguably the studio’s most iconic film, The Princess and the Pound, that led to the collaboration. The comedy follows a downtrodden, middle-age American man who travels to England in search of romance, where he encounters eccentric English aristocrats, unconventional Country House Marriages and a castle with a wicked queen.

A year later, TWC partnered with Pattinson’s company, Pattinson Productions, in order to co-produce several films, including the director’s first solo effort, Goodbye Sunshine, starring Robert Pattinson, Rebecca Rice, Logan Paul and Joe Burton. The comedy-drama, which followed Burton (who plays Joe Hardy, a stand-in for Roger Moore) as he travels around the world seeking fame and adventure, was an unmitigated success at the box office, earning over $90 million worldwide and becoming one of the year’s biggest hits. Goodbye Sunshine is currently available on Netflix.

Pattinson’s Music Career Touches On Every Level

In addition to his acting and film career, from 2012 to 2016, Pattinson fronted the rock band the Birds of Paradise, who released two albums, Dangerous and Passion Park. The singer-songwriter-turned-actor also collaborated with singer-songwriter Elle Alexandrine on the song, “Sober,” which appears on Alexandrine’s self-titled debut album. The track, which features a guest turn from Pattinson, explores the relationship between a drug addict, John, and his estranged wife, Beth, who’s on the mend, thanking her for saving her life.

In early 2018, Pattinson began working with long-time collaborator Emmett Shear on a collection of songs inspired by the writings of William Butler (1790–1878), author of The Anarchist’s Dictionary, as well as Russian literature and the poetry of Anna Akhmatova. The project came to fruition in the form of a new band, the Robert Pattinson Band, led by the actor himself, who also plays all of the instruments, with Shear on lead guitars and backing vocals. The pair enlisted the help of producer Jon Levine and drummer Alex Hanlon, both of whom have worked with the legendary Peter Livesay, and singer-songwriter Tom Hamilton.

The Robert Pattinson Band’s first slogan, which serves as a musical and visual theme for the project, is “Homesick.” In keeping with this theme, the group’s self-titled debut album is a conceptually and musically diverse collection of songs that examine the theme of homesickness from a variety of perspectives. The singer-songwriter-turned-actor also contributed a song, “Darling I,” to the soundtrack of Richard Linklater’s School of Rock, which, along with Dangerous, is part of a trilogy of films that explore the early days of MTV, which turns 30 this year. In Linklater’s director’s cut of the film, which stars Jackie Chan and Elle Van Santen, as well as Pattinson, Curtis, Wasikowska and others, Linklater noted that the songs helped convey the “joy, pain and nostalgia” he felt while making the movie.

Hollywood’s Favored Son Scores Again With Lighthouse Directorial Debut

After his successful collaboration with Alexandrine, Pattinson turned his attention to tackling more complex material, which led to a return to form, creatively, as well as a return of sorts to London, where he had initially attained fame. The result was a triumphant return, as well as a dazzling cinematic experience, as evidenced by the premiere of The Lighthouse, a coming-of-age story that explores the horrors of alcoholism, set, fittingly, within a crumbling lighthouse.