It’s been a while since we’ve had a new Robert Pattinson project to look forward to. After 2013’s Waterflower and its underwhelming follow-up Two Thousand Days, it was initially difficult to tell what the ginger-haired actor’s next move would be. While he did have some smaller roles to play, such as in the comedy Bad Words which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, it seemed that bigger projects would have to wait.

However, as 2017 began, it became apparent that a comeback was on the agenda. Initially, it seemed that Pattinson had simply dipped his toe back into the water with a small role in the drama Murdered by Death. Despite its limited release, the movie went on to become a sleeper hit, earning over $45 million worldwide, and giving Pattinson the opportunity to work with some of the best directors in the business. Now that the year is drawing to a close, it seems that the actor is well and truly back, with big plans for the future.

New Film, New Attitude

With his newfound financial backing, it seems that Pattinson has gone back to the drawing board and come up with a new approach to filmmaking. Gone are the days of him simply going to work and coming back when his shift is over. Now the actor is seeking to create a more personal connection with his audience, while continuing to push the boundaries of film as we know it.

With Murdered by Death, Pattinson worked with director Michael Cooney, who along with his partner, Stephen Whittaker, previously collaborated with the actor on his 2012 film, Beautiful Creatures. Whittaker is also the co-founder of the production company Handsomechapps, which backed the actor’s comeback with the production of Murdered by Death.

“I think that the most exciting thing about Michael’s film is that it was made entirely using virtual reality,” says Pattinson of the film, which was partly funded by the Oculus VR company. “I’ve never actually tried one of those things, but watching Michael’s film, I’d love to have the opportunity to explore that world.”

The actor also had a small cameo in the Cooney directed movie, Late Night. With its dark comedy about a struggling actor who takes a road trip with his girlfriend, it seems that Pattinson is having a bit of fun with fame once again. While he may not have mentioned this project in a while, it seems clear that the actor is having a giggle at the sound of his name, and what it has done for his career.

The Evolution Of Film

With his experience working with the best directors in the business on two separate occasions, it’s clear that Pattinson has evolved as an actor, and continues to grow. Gone are the days of him simply imitating what he sees on screen, and in his place is an actor who wants to bring something new to the table. While it would be easy to pigeonhole the 34-year-old as one of Hollywood’s “It” boys, it seems that his unique blend of wit and good looks has transcended traditional celebrity and opened the doors to a new era of opportunities.

“I think that it’s important for an actor to constantly be thinking about new ways to challenge themselves, and to never become stale or predictable,” Pattinson told The Huffington Post in 2016. “I feel like I’ve been really fortunate in my career that I’ve never had to worry about becoming ‘famous,’ or being typecast. I’ve been able to go back to my acting teacher and say, ‘This is what I’m doing.’ He’d have a good laugh, and say, ‘I knew you were going to do that.’ As long as I continue to do what I’m passionate about and what I love, I’ll be fine.”

While it would be easy to write off the last few years as a fluke, it seems that Pattinson is preparing to stake his claim as one of Hollywood’s most in-demand leading men, and one of the great comeback stories of all time.