June 14, 2010 -- Anyone familiar with the "Twilight" film series has most certainly heard of its smoldering male lead, actor Robert Pattinson. The last few years, audiences have witnessed the transformation of Pattinson from little-known British actor into an A-list teen heartthrob and emerging force to be reckoned with in Hollywood.
"I mean, it's crazy. It's not what people tell you when people warn you of being an actor," he said recently in an interview with "Nightline." "If and when I have children, [and] they ask if they want to be actors, I'm like 'Yeah, it's great. You don't have to do anything. Everything goes right.'"
That would appear to be true for the 24-year-old Pattinson, who has catapulted to Hollywood fame thanks to his lead role in the "Twilight" film series, based on the popular books by Stephenie Meyer. Pattinson plays vampire Edward Cullen, who is eternally devoted to mere mortal and high schooler Bella, played by actress Kristen Stewart.
The major difference in the series' third film, "Eclipse," which hits theaters at the end of the month, was his interaction with a lot of different characters, Pattinson said.
Whereas the series' first two films, "Twilight" and "New Moon," used the relationship between Pattinson's and Stewart's characters to show the sensitive side of the undead ("They were just me and Bella kind of bonding basically," he said), Eclipse affords Pattinson's character the chance to combine his wooing with a little whoop-ass.
"There are a lot of fight scenes, and the love triangle between me, Bella -- Kristen's character -- and Jacob kind of comes to a head," he said.
Despite the more physical nature of the third film, Pattinson's and Stewart's characters mostly refrain from getting physical themselves. Although Bella pines for release, old-fashioned Edward insists on marriage before he's willing to go all the way.
Robert Pattinson: 'Twilight' Success Lies in Being Sexy Without a Lot of Sex
"If there was a hard and fast decision by both of them saying, 'Yeah, we're going to remain virgins our entire lives, it's never going to happen,' I don't think it would be as popular a series," Pattinson said.
He added that the success of the "Twilight" series seemed to lie in its ability to be sexy, without being all about sex.
"[Fans] like that moment before ... the kind of tipping point before it goes over," he said. "I mean, everybody likes that. That's the best part, for a relationship."
Pattinson appears to have a good idea what appeals to the largely female fanbase dubbed "Twi-hards." They appear at premieres and "Twilight" conventions screaming their undying devotion for the cast. It's a reaction that, for Pattinson and Stewart, took some getting used to. In the past, both stars had commented that the high-pitched outpouring of devotion was upsetting to them.
"I guess me and Kristen sort of panicked," he said. "If you're getting applauded for something then you should be giving something back."
But Pattinson said he is adjusting to the attention, trying to be more accommodating to his fans.
"If you sort of let a little window open into your reality, that always seems to go down well, I think," he said.
He joked that it was helpful to look as if he was enjoying himself, "rather than looking like it's freaking you out and you want to leave."
Clearly, there's no need. Pattinson's career is white-hot -- his interest helped to get the romance "Remember Me" made. He's currently shooting "Water for Elephants" with Oscar winners Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz from "Inglourious Basterds."
Robert Pattinson 'Started Panicking' Before 'Twilight' Audition
With a resume such as his, it's hard to believe that just a few years ago, the actor was terror-stricken in the hours leading up to his "Twilight" audition.
"I knew it was going be a long audition because I was doing a screen test for it, and it was at the director's house," he recalled. "And 20 minutes before I had to leave, I just suddenly started panicking."
Desperate, he swiped a few Valium from the friend with whom he'd been staying, and it did the trick.
"Um, probably one of the best decisions I've ever made," he joked. "I remember thinking that even when I was in the cab on the way over there, I was thinking, 'I want to get a prescription for these.'"
From nervous wreck to Hollywood's next It Guy, Pattinson said his new status might be a bit overrated.
"I don't like people doing things for me, really, and that's the only thing that really changes," he said. "You get a lot of people offering to do things."
Pattinson added that his celebrity status makes it difficult to blend in with the crowd.
"I used to spend a lot of time walking in cities by myself, and I can't really do that without being, um, a little paranoid," he said, though he added that he is starting to get used to it.
"You get better at hiding and you get better at choosing which areas are the right areas to go to," he said. "And you also get better at interacting with strangers."
However, his fame hasn't gone to his head -- every time he gets a script, old insecurities come bubbling to the surface. Pattinson said the first thing he does when he's handed a script is read the first and last lines.
"For some reason that's become my little habit with 'Twilight' films," he said. "Generally, after that point, [I] start worrying about -- thinking that, 'oh God, I'm not a real actor. I can't -- I don't know how to do it,' and freak out until we start shooting."
The actor talked about his fame and the pressure that came with it.
"When something becomes big, you just think expectations are higher," he said. "It's a weird sort of dichotomy: it's become big because people obviously like something that you're doing, and as it becomes bigger, you get more fearful of what you're actually doing."
Robert Pattinson: 'Twilight' Series 'Bigger Than We Ever Thought It Would Be'
Currently, his style involves a lot of note-taking. He will often be seen scribbling in the margins of his scripts. When asked what types of notes he's writing to himself, Pattinson replied, "Act better."
Although he may lack confidence in his own ability, audiences don't seem to have a problem with his performance. "Eclipse" is expected to match the success of its predecessors, and moviegoers are poised to make the film one of the year's top-grossing flicks.
"It's nice now -- now that it's become something much bigger than we ever thought it would be -- that everyone sort of sticks together and supports each other," he said.
Pattinson said he appreciated the relationship he shares with his castmates, "especially because everyone's so young still and no one's really going around stabbing each other in the back yet."
But, he added, with a laugh, "There are still two more movies."
Yet his film career seems to be doing just fine, ever since he made his major-role film debut in another book-based series. He played young wizard Cedric Diggory in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." The role launched a career in which Pattinson says he's been blessed with good fortune.
But even good fortune seems to make him nervous: Pattinson said in a past interview that he hoped all his luck didn't come at the same time.
"I guess I just thought if too many good things happen, then you're going to die at 30," he said. "I didn't want that to happen."
And yet the good things continue to keep happening.
"Yeah, so probably, I'm going to die at 30," he said. "Actually, it's God saying, 'Hey, you shouldn't have asked for too much.'"