The 26-year-old Briton is banking on a soul-tempering pilgrimage to the world’s most arid desert regions – first the Australian Outback then the Middle East – to free him from Edward Cullen’s immortal curse.
After five films shot in Twilight’s netherworld, the softly spoken Pattinson is keen to immerse himself in material that is a little, well, earthier.
Futuristic thriller The Rover, which starts shooting in South Australia in January, and Mission: Blacklist, based on the true story of US Army interrogator Eric Maddox, would appear to fit the bill.
In Sydney for a fan-oriented event to promote Breaking Dawn – Part 2, Pattinson identified the limitations of playing the same character over and over as the thing he will miss least about the phenomenally successful vampire franchise that catapulted him to stardom.
“Because (Edward) is kind of in stasis, it’s difficult to play after a while,” Pattinson says.
“You do five movies where your whole motivation is this relationship and it’s never, ever going to change.
“You don’t die. And you don’t get hurt. And you don’t age. So you are kind of stuck.
“It’s nerve-racking when you go into the fifth movie. You’re thinking, ‘I don’t know what else to do’. You have nowhere to go!”
Thankfully, the introduction of Bella and Edward’s child, Renesmee, in Part 2 gave him something to work with.
“That was fun. And also a bit odd. Edward is supposed to be 110 years old, so you are not really playing a young dad. You are already a grandfather or something,” Pattinson says.
The actor enjoyed working with Mackenzie Foy, almost 12, who plays his fast-maturing vampire child. But it was the anarchy of the infant performers that added some fresh blood.
“Because all the vampires are very stylised in their performance, as soon as you get a baby involved, it shakes everybody up.”
Pattinson also experienced a bit of dramatic fatherhood in Water For Elephants. But he says the real thing is not on his horizon.
In fact, the idea hadn’t even occurred to him until recently, when “a bunch” of his friends started having children.
“I guess 26 isn’t that young … I’ve always thought I am still a child.”
That’s the closest the conversation comes to the pachyderm in the room – Pattinson’s split and subsequent reunion with Kristen Stewart in the wake of her affair with Snow White and The Huntsman director Rupert Sanders.
This can be partly explained by good manners – Pattinson’s. Since the actor gives the impression of being a well brought-up young man, somewhat embarrassed by the hype that surrounds his every move, puncturing his British reserve with such an intrusive line of questioning would seem unforgivably brash.
Of course, the influence of a number of hovering minders – who have promised to shut down the interview should it veer anywhere near relationship territory – isn’t to be underestimated.
In response to internet chatter about the possibility of a Twilight spin-off, Pattinson hedges his bets.
“Who knows? I keep hearing things – from the studio as well.”
So he doesn’t rule out revisiting Edward Cullen?
“I don’t say ‘definitely not’ to anything – just in case.”
Still, one senses his comments come more from a desire to be diplomatic than any real inclination to milk the franchise further.
When asked what he will miss most when he leaves the Twilight world behind, he says: “I’m not sure yet. It feels very familiar now. Even promoting them and stuff, having all the girls screaming. It’s like being part of a boy band and going solo afterwards.”
Pattinson has already set about repositioning himself as a versatile leading man in films such as Water For Elephants and Bel Ami.
But it was the reviews for David Cronenberg’s weird urban odyssey Cosmopolis that finally lent him some serious, arthouse credibility.
Post Breaking Dawn – Part 2, Pattinson has a slate of films lined up to consolidate on the work he has put into proving he is no one-character wonder. In fact, he is juggling seven features.
“I don’t understand how it’s going to happen. I am shuffling them around as we speak.”
Already in the starting gates is The Rover, director David Michod’s hotly anticipated follow-up to Animal Kingdom, in which Pattinson appears alongside Guy Pearce.
Filming on Mission: Blacklist, has been delayed by director Jean-St aacphane Sauvaire’s decision to travel to Iraq to cast real prisoners.
Pattinson insists he has no grand plan for his future.
“I got lucky this year with a bunch of stuff that is all over the place.”
But luck is only part of the equation.
Michod put him through a rigorous audition process for The Rover, something for which Pattinson is grateful.
“I hate it when you are just given a part. I am constantly second-guessing myself afterwards: ‘Are they doing this for the financing?'”
Pattinson did two separate auditions, both more than three hours in duration.
“I was thinking I must have got it. Then I met a bunch of other actors and they were like, ‘Oh, that Michod, he keeps you at his house for hours’. That made me lose all my confidence. So I was really shocked when I got it.”
Pattinson might still have a long way to go to escape the long reach of Cullen’s shadow, but at least he can be fairly confident he is heading in the right direction.