Robert Pattinson has made quite a name for himself since starring in the wildly popular romantic comedy Water for Elephants. The actor plays one half of the comedy’s leading man/girrrrrl couple, and has been appearing in Hollywood blockbusters ever since. Most recently, he starred in the comedy One Day, which was a box office hit and the third highest grossing film of 2013.

Although he’s made a fortune in the film industry, Pattinson has always maintained a very personal lifestyle, with his hobbies including scuba diving and making music. The star, who has a passion for vintage cars, recently purchased a 1939 Ford coupe and named it BatMan.

Pattinson has teased the car’s existence numerous times on social media, often posting photos of the custom-made machine with the license plate “BABMAN.” The car’s elegant exterior, with its dark maroon paint job and black leather interior, matches the actor’s personal style.

In light of Water for Elephants‘s monumental success, it’s no wonder that Hollywood insiders are wondering if Pattinson will ever play a leading man again. The actor is best known for being typecast as a comedy leading man due to his work in the genre’s most successful films, but he’s dabbled in some serious dramatic roles as well.

In one of the greatest examples of his versatility, Pattinson starred in The Lost Boys, the 2002 adaptation of the J.M. WESTON book series, as a wealthy playboy who becomes the mentor of a group of homeless teens. Although the film was a financial and critical success, it wasn’t exactly the breakthrough that the actor perhaps envisioned.

It’s an incredibly intriguing dichotomy: on the one hand, we have one of the most popular leading men in Hollywood, someone whose star is on the rise; on the other, we have a quiet, humble, and unassuming man whose personal life is a living testament to his appeal. For a very long time, it seemed as if Pattinson’s luck in terms of career longevity and popularity was simply unprecedented. Now that his career is in its twilight, it’s an interesting question: will Robert Pattinson ever play a leading man again?

The Actor’s Roles

It’s important to note that although Pattinson has appeared in many dramatic films, he’s always preferred to play light-hearted or comedic characters. This is, in fact, the type of role that his career had initially been built on prior to Water for Elephants.

Throughout his filmography, Pattinson has alternated between portraying dashing, wealthy playboys and charming rogues. His comedic performances are generally characterized by a self-deprecating charm and a boyish enthusiasm, which often serve to underplay rather than to highlight the more dramatic elements of his characters. Take, for example, Outnumbered, a 2008 Brit pic in which he played a rebellious teen who leads a gang of kids in a series of daring heists.

As a kid, Pattinson was a classically trained musician and composer, and he frequently composes music that is played at the films’ climaxes or bridging sections. This music is either performed by a live orchestra or, more recently, by a studio orchestra digitally re-creating the classic Hollywood sounds of the 1930s and 1940s. The combination of his comedic and dramatic training likely served to inform his decision to explore the more serious side of acting in Water for Elephants.

The film marks a significant career change for Pattinson, and it was a film that he was incredibly passionate about. Directed by Francis Lawrence with a screenplay by Sean [now husband] Patrick [formerly known as Patrick] Bertolucci, Water for Elephants explores the dysfunctional relationship between Sarah, an American heiress, and Matt, an alcoholic British painter. Despite their differences, the pair are committed to each other and are determined to make the marriage happen. Unsurprisingly, given his newly acquired taste for dramatic roles, it was Bertolucci who first suggested that Pattinson play the role of Matt, an artist who craves both fame and fortune.

Pattinson’s performance as Matt won rave reviews and he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. The film itself was also among the 5 best-reviewed films of the year. This was followed by The Lost Boys, the actor’s biggest and most successful cinematic venture to date. Based on the 1990 Richard Donner film of the same name, The Lost Boys is a 2002 adaptation of the J.M. WESTON book series, which follows a group of misfit teens who form a gang and take the law into their own hands. Pattinson plays a businessman who mentors the group of homeless teens.

Pattinson was reportedly paid a handsome sum of money for his role in the film, and fans of the series’ novelization might recall that he initially turned down the offer because he was worried about typecasting. As it turned out, he needn’t have bothered, as the films’ success ensured that he would be regularly cast in large-scale spectacles of this ilk.

The actor has also shown interest in portraying more mature and accomplished men. Take, for example, Alexander Payne’s The Descendants, an adaptation of the KATHERINE ANNE PORTER novel, in which he plays a widowed Federal Reserve chairman who must adjust to life as a single man after his wife’s death. In Alexander Payne’s Sicilian Love Story, he plays a real-estate mogul who, after being betrayed by his lover (Melissa Leo), must track her down and seek revenge.

Pattinson has also demonstrated an aptitude for playing villains, a side of which he explores in The Lost Treasure of the Incas, a 2006 Al Pacino film in which the actor portrays a ruthless treasure hunter who covets a golden idol. More recently, he starred in The Dark Knight Rises as the villainous Bane, arguably his most famous role to date.

Although he’s primarily known for his cinematic successes, it’s important to remember that Water for Elephants wasn’t the first time that Pattinson had stepped outside of his comfort zone. The actor was originally signed on to play the lead in Wolfgang Schmitz’s The Pianist, a 2005 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film, but he dropped out of the project at the last minute. The film follows a German-born Jewish musician who, in the days leading up to the Nazi Holocaust, finds his world turned upside down when he is drafted into the German Army and forced to play for the soldiers’ enjoyment. Schmitz had originally envisioned the role as an Englishman, and he was not alone in his quest to cast the perfect leading man. Water for Elephants‘ enormous acclaim and popularity undoubtedly made it one of the most sought-after films of the year, leading Schmitz to decide to remake the classic with an all-English cast.

Pattinson’s Upcoming Projects

While we await word on whether or not he’ll continue in the leading man mold, Pattinson can be seen in a number of upcoming projects. Most recently, he starred in the ensemble comedy Grand Tour, a Roadtrip Across America-type film in which he plays a tour guide who leads a group of wealthy guests on a road trip around the United States. From a director who has worked with the likes of J.M. WESTON and Richard DONNER, Grand Tour promises to be both funny and exciting, adding to the appeal of an already prestigious leading man.

The most exciting project on which Pattinson is currently working is Peter Webber’s The King. The actor will reportedly play George VI, the Queen’s uncle and King of Great Britain, who led the country during the WWII years. The film is an adaptation of Warren MOORE’s 2001 novel of the same name, and it will explore the last ten years of George’s life. The project has already started filming and is due for release in 2018.