By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Robert Pattinson has set young hearts aflutter as the teen vampire Edward Cullen in the "Twilight Saga" films, but as the sun sets on the franchise that launched his career, the actor is looking for more grown-up and "dangerous" roles.
"Breaking Dawn - Part 2," released this week, is the fifth and final in the series, and Edward's character shifts from brooding, tormented lover to a contented husband and father who must protect his family from an ancient vampire clan.
But Pattinson, 26, still has those rakish good looks that drew a screaming fan base and made him a tabloid fixture. While the avid fan excitement around the "Twilight" series overwhelms him, the British actor hopes his audience will follow him as he moves on.
"It's all about control. Now, I don't feel like I have any control whatsoever," he told Reuters with a laugh.
"They're a very ardent fan base, so to figure out a way to harness that vehement audience, it's definitely an important thing."
Pattinson became a pinup as the angst-ridden Edward, but said he wasn't worried he might be typecast as the perpetual brooding hero. "I'm not particularly brooding in my real life," he said.
The actor has already been laying the ground for a career beyond "Twilight." He played a 19th century French gigolo in "Bel Ami" and a billionaire with an existential crisis in David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis," although both films fared poorly at the box office earlier this year.
Next up is a drama, "Map to the Stars," again with Cronenberg, and "The Rover," a Western-style action movie set in the Australian desert.
"Everything I've signed up for now is very physical, because I feel like I've done quite a few things where I'm quite still. I'm trying to find people that are doing things that feel dangerous," Pattinson said.
ROMANCE ON AND OFF SCREEN
Away from the series with its apple motif, symbolizing forbidden love, Pattinson's fame has also been fueled by his off-screen romance with "Twilight" co-star Kristen Stewart, 22, who plays Bella Swan.
Their relationship was thrust into the spotlight in the summer when Stewart publicly admitted she had an affair with her married "Snow White and the Huntsman" director, Rupert Sanders.
The actress apologized in a rare, heartfelt public statement but the affair shocked "Twilight" fans. Pattinson and Stewart have since reconciled, and the paparazzi have spotted them together, but they have stayed mum on their relationship.
"I just try and avoid it," Pattinson said when asked about the scrutiny of his personal life.
"I don't think it's good in terms of a career as an actor. I think being in gossip magazines - I don't like the whole industry, I think it's a lazy industry, and it's a weird media consumer culture," the actor said.
"(Success) is so much based on luck as an actor. No one knew that the audience would connect to the 'Twilight' series the way that they did ... it's just luck, you've got to do the things that interest you."
For now, Pattinson is coming to terms with saying goodbye to the franchise.
"It sounds cheesy, but it's been such a life-changing experience where you share a bond with people, it's weird. I remember hearing about 'Lord of the Rings,' they all got tattoos ... that'd be so funny, maybe we could get a little apple, a 'tramp stamp' with an apple," the actor mused, laughing.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy, Editing by Jill Serjeant, Gary Hill)