We’ve been eagerly anticipating the premiere of Bel Ami since it was first announced that the great Robert Pattinson would be stepping into the shoes of Marat Filippov. The year is 1875, and Marat (Pattinson) is an adventurer who has impulsively decided to throw his lot in with the French Revolution. He renames himself “Bel Ami” – “my friend the Frenchman” – and embarks on a spree of debauchery that will put a smile on the face of even the most hardened libertine. The story of his adventures and misadventures is a comic page-turner, and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

But while we wait for Bel Ami to hit the big-screen, we can feast our eyes on the wonderful Robert Pattinson in the making. The 26-year-old British actor has been steadily building an impressive body of work over the years, culminating in the title role of Bel Ami. We’ve compiled a list of five ways in which Pattinson’s transformation is mind-boggling.

From Unbearable to Unbelievable

It’s fair to say that Robert Pattinson didn’t always look like the hottie we know and love today. Back in 2002, when he made his acting debut, Pattinson was virtually unrecognizable. Playing the lead in Roman Polanski’s Frantic, he sported a gingery moustache and an unkempt beard. Thespian talent scouts, on the other hand, saw promise in his mug and signed him up for a role in the psychological thriller The Salisbury Review. Pattinson showed amazing promise in this low-budget indie, which was released in 2003. It was here that the 26-year-old actor first sported an extremely slick haircut and began experimenting with makeup and costume, transforming himself into a more mature, handsome man. It was also where he first demonstrated his magnetic personality, charming the cast and crew with his laidback charm, boyish good looks, and disarming humor.

One of the things that makes Robert Pattinson such an appealing actor is his versatility. It doesn’t hurt that he can play several completely different characters with equal aplomb. He demonstrated this quality again in the 2012 psychological thriller The Twilight Saga: Meyerland. As a con man named Nick Copernicus, he seduces both the ladies (sorry, couldn’t help myself) and the men of the film into believing that he is some sort of philosopher or psychologist. In reality, he is just a hustler looking for an easy mark, but the audience doesn’t seem to mind. Copernicus is one of the most complex characters Pattinson has ever played, and it’s easy to see why he was hailed as a “man of many talents.”

From Beard to Bear

This year also marks the 25th anniversary of Robert Pattinson’s acting career, and the bearded British hunk is looking back on his life and times with much pride. He has never been one to shy away from a good beard, and as his career has progressed, so has his personal style. When he first began acting, all he sported was a small, neatly-trimmed goatee. Over the years, he has grown his facial hair, and now he has a full, bushy beard to match. He is often seen with either a full mug or a carefully trimmed one; one that suits his face perfectly.

But it’s not just beards that have been gaining popularity as part of Pattinson’s transformation. Audiences have come to expect a certain roughness from the English actor, and he has embraced it, often sporting tousled hair, torn shirts, and ill-fitting pants. It wasn’t always easy for Pattinson to shed his comfort zone and explore new styles, as he told Vanity Fair in 2015:

“I’ve always been comfortable in my own company, pretty much my whole life. I’ve had a very solitary existence, with only my dog for company. When I was younger, I used to imagine that every boy my age was competing to be the most handsome man in the world. So I guess I just wanted to be the boy that they all wanted to date. I never felt like I lacked confidence or felt like I needed to prove myself to anyone. I’ve always just felt like I could talk to anyone and be myself.”

With his unique combination of good looks and personality, it’s no wonder that Robert Pattinson has been able to carve out a niche for himself in Hollywood. The self-confident, yet humble actor has never been one to blow his own horn, but now that he has been placed in the spotlight, we’ll likely see a side of him that we’ve never seen before.