Actor, singer, and model Robert Pattinson is on a world tour following the success of his latest film, Waterforbes. The 28-year-old actor recently stopped by The Verge offices in New York City to promote his latest film, Beautiful People, and to share his thoughts on the current state of the entertainment industry.

Why Waterforbes Was Different

Pattinson’s latest film was a departure from his previous projects and from the type of roles he usually plays. The film is an adaptation of Israeli author David Alhadeff’s award-winning novel of the same name. Set in present day Israel, the story follows Amir, a 13-year-old boy who finds a mysterious water source while on a school trip to the Negev Desert. Over the course of the next few days, Amir uncovers sinister plots as he fights for the survival of the human race. He ultimately learns to trust his instincts and uses his unique powers to fight the good fight.

While the story line of the film is decidedly unique, the setting is not. The filmmakers wanted to pay homage to classic teen flicks such as E.T. and Stand By Me, but also wanted to offer a more modern spin. As a result, the filmmakers shot the bulk of the film in an unusual mix of modern and old worlds — including New York City, which doubles for Tel Aviv.

This Is The Industry We’re In

Looking back, Pattinson feels optimistic about his decision to become an actor. He has fond memories of watching movies when he was younger and dreaming of one day being able to do the same. After taking a leap of faith and enrolling in a drama class in London, he immediately fell into love with acting. In an interview with The Verge earlier this year, Pattinson shared, “It was the best decision of my life. I’ve definitely changed since then.”

Pattinson has certainly changed. Since starring in his first television commercial at the age of eight, the British actor has gone on to land lead roles in high-profile movies and to become one of the most in-demand actors of his generation. He has also used his celebrity to fight for social justice. In an interview with The New York Times earlier this year, Pattinson said, “I read articles about how celebrities are damaging the movement, and it made me sad.”

Pattinson’s activism is part of what has endeared him to fans around the world. He has received widespread praise for his work and has been referred to as a “genius” and a “natural leader” by Time magazine. In 2019, he was ranked No. 67 on the Forbes’ list of the world’s most powerful celebrities.

As for the state of the entertainment industry, Pattinson feels that it has shifted for the better. He pointed to how quickly the entertainment business is evolving as an example of how times are changing. Back in 2012, he noted, “it was basically impossible to even think about being in TV or film… You had to be really, really lucky.” These days, anyone can become a celebrity in the digital age and the barriers to entry are low. As a result, the pool of available talent is much larger than it was in the past, which means there are more opportunities for everyone.

The Future Of Pop

While the opportunities for entertainers have increased, the process of getting work has changed as well. Back in the early 2000s, Pattinson recalled, “There would just be so many auditions and so many parts to go around. It wasn’t the case of getting one big break and then being like, ‘OK, I can do this now.’” These days, the process is more streamlined and the result is that there are more actors and models competing for more prominent roles. This being said, getting work isn’t easy and it can be difficult to stand out among the competition.

“I try to keep things light and entertaining when talking about the industry,” Pattinson said. “But, at the same time, this is a very serious business. People are dying to get into it. It can be very hard to stand out among so many other people who want to be in the same place you are. When I first got into this industry, you could almost guarantee that you’ll never get work if you don’t look like everyone else. That’s not the case anymore. There are so many different cultures, nationalities, and looks these days that it really makes things interesting.”

In an attempt to stand out among the competition, Pattinson often takes on unusual roles. He noted how he often plays villains and murderers in his films because he sees these types of characters as the “edgy” ones that will help him stand out. These days, he added, “I think that it’s more common for people to go against type… I think that people are trying to be more unique and interesting, which is a good thing I guess.” He went on to say, “I think that it’s more common for people to try and experiment with different looks and stuff like that. Everyone is trying to be more individual and less stereotypical and that’s what’s going to make this industry so interesting in the future.”