Robert Pattinson’s new film, Honey, is out now in theaters. We’ve got the scoop on the romantic comedy—and it has something to do with… well, you’ll have to watch the film to find out what! We also chatted with the English actor about being a leading man in Hollywood, his film’s biggest takeaway message, and more.

On Becoming A Leading Man In Hollywood

Over the years, we’ve seen numerous A-list actresses make the jump from television to film. But it’s been a while since we’ve seen a prominent male actor make the transition. Honey marks the first time since Tom Hanks took on the role of Joe Simpson in The Terminal that an Englishman has taken the helm of a major Hollywood movie.

The film follows the humorous exploits of Tim (played by Robert Pattinson), an aspiring English actor living in Los Angeles. After impressing upon audition that he’s actually from London, Tim is sent to Hollywood to try his luck as a leading man. But what exactly is a leading man? We sat down with the actor to get the scoop.

What Is a Leading Man?

In Hollywood, a leading man is simply the male actor who’s in the most prominent and iconic roles — whether he’s the star of the show or just a co-star. The term originates from the golden era of Hollywood, when the star system was in full effect and there were only a few prominent female actors. So, yeah, it used to be kind of like a man’s world.

These days, there are still men who dominate the Hollywood scene. But the roles aren’t exactly what they used to be. The leading men of today are often times the comedic relief in films or just a quirky character actor who steals the show with one scene or line. It really depends on what era you’re looking at. The Hollywood of today is definitely not the same as the Hollywood of yesteryear. But the roles are still pretty much the same. People just assume that men don’t show emotion as much as women do.

Tim’s Transition To Hollywood Is Fun, But Is It Real?

While exploring Tim’s transition to Hollywood, we’re introduced to the concept of “keeping it real.” Throughout the film, Tim repeatedly refers to the hardships of being an actor in a world dominated by men, and his desire to stay true to himself and not lose his masculinity.

“There are so many funny things that happen to me on set that make it really worth it,” says Robert in regards to acting in front of the camera. “Sometimes, I’ll show up at the restaurant early just to get a table near the front, which is where the bathrooms are. So, literally, I have to go number one and then go back to filming. It’s like being paid to go to the bathroom! I love that about acting.”

But being an actor in Hollywood isn’t all glam and high-profile roles. Behind the scenes, the work can be exhausting, and many actors lament the lack of opportunities for them to showcase their talents. Director Marc Forster, who worked with Robert on Finding Neverland, had this to say about the experience. “It would be a dream come true to be able to cast Robert in a leading role in a major motion picture. He is tremendously intelligent, ambitious and hard-working. However, Hollywood rarely works that way, and when it does, it usually ends in tears. When you are given a role, you usually end up with an understudy.”

Why Do You Think Hollywood Is Dominated By Men?

In today’s Hollywood, men still dominate the field. In 2018, only 9 out of 100 top box office stars were women, according to Box Office Mojo. And that doesn’t even include the many notable women who starred in prestige television series or miniseries in 2018.

There are multiple reasons why this might be. For starters, there aren’t that many prominent roles for women in Hollywood. In 2018, women only starred in 56 out of 400 top Grossing films, according to Box Office Mojo. In addition, many prominent film studios are owned by men, so it’s not like there’s an equal opportunity for everyone. It doesn’t help that many women in Hollywood don’t want to act, because the roles don’t exactly fit their image of what a woman should be like. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle that keeps men dominating Hollywood.

Women Aren’t Designed To Be Submissive

One of the themes that runs throughout Honey is the idea that women aren’t meant to be submissive. Men are the ones who are expected to be strong and independent, and women are there to give them comfort and support.

“I think it’s quite funny, because in so many of the scenes with Anna [Wetteland, who plays Tim’s feminist nemesis], she keeps telling me that I’m not allowed to be vulnerable or show any signs of weakness. And I keep telling her that she’s wrong. She’s definitely wrong,” says Robert. “I mean, she’s a strong woman, and she definitely deserves to be in charge and make the decisions, and not have anyone telling her that she can’t be strong or independent. So it’s kind of like she’s contradicting herself.”

It’s not just about the strong female characters in Honey. Even the film’s most innocuous characters (like the ones playing the restaurant patrons) exhibit a great deal of masculinity. When Tim offers his two cents on why women can’t be dominant, he puts it simply. “They don’t get fat and they don’t cry.”

Where Do You See Yourself In 10 Years?

If you asked most people who’ve worked with or known Robert Pattinson where he sees himself in 10 years, they might not have an exact answer. The same could be said for anyone asked this question. Honey isn’t a typical installment in the Robert Pattinson filmography, as it’s the actor’s first attempt at a romantic comedy. But it does offer a glimpse at what his future may look like. Not only does the film feature appearances from some of Hollywood’s most recognizable stars, but it also marks the first time that Robert’s had a comedic role in a major motion picture.

It seems fitting then that the actor’s first foray into romantic comedy should end up being one of his most personal and touching films. In addition to being the project that officially launches his acting career, Honey also marks the first time that Robert’s addressed the media about his sexuality since the start of his career. In March 2019, the actor came out as gay, and the move wasn’t simply to come out to the public as someone who happens to be gay; it was to reveal that he has always been this way.

These days, Robert seems quite happy and comfortable in his sexuality. In April 2019, he wrote on Twitter, “It would be great to have a family. I’m really loving being a dad. I’ve always wanted to be a dad, and it’s amazing to finally be able to experience this with Juliet [his daughter with partner Evan Rachel Wood].”

As for where the actor sees himself in 10 years, he tells Parade, “I’d like to be able to do both [films and theatre]. I love doing theatre, and in films, it’s always nice to have something to fall back on when the going gets tough. It builds a bit of a cushion, so when those roles don’t come in, you haven’t wasted your time. You can always fall back on a stage.”

For now, we’ll have to settle for watching and enjoying Honey in theaters. And who knows? Maybe in 10 years, we’ll see another leading man take the mantle from Hanks.