From the first frame of David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis, it's clear that Robert Pattinson had effectively shed his Twilight image. As Eric Packer, a 28-year-old billionaire, the tween heartthrob demonstrates considerable acting chops. The film, which premiered at the Cannes Film festival, follows Eric's odyssey through New York City during a presidential visit and a rap star's funeral. The formerly poor wunderkind is determined to get a haircut in his old neighborhood. It isn't clear why until later in the film.

Pattinson convincingly portrays Eric's vexation with his daily life. Decked in chic attire, he is languid and unaffectionate. Hiding behind dark sunglasses, he retreats into his high-tech limo and attempts to shut out the world around him. Despite recently marrying a socialite, Eric engages in sexual trysts with other women and shows no remorse. What's most shocking is how he deals with being unfulfilled. In his quest for newfound experiences he begs one of his conquests to shoot him with a stun gun.

Pattinson wasn't sure he'd be able to pull off such a challenging role. At a Cannes press conference on Friday he reflected on his state of mind just before shooting the film. He revealed: I kind of spent two weeks in my hotel room worrying and confusing myself.

With Cronenberg's guidance, Pattinson was able to tackle the complex script with less apprehension. He explained:

I think it's impossible to approach it like you would a normal character. What I liked about the script initially was the lyricism and the rhythm of it. Pattinson said. Normally, when you do a movie you can play around with the lines and make it your own but with this I didn't want to change a single word or even punctuation. It was like a song.

Though the film deals with desperation and the effects of financial crisis there are elements of optimism.

I think it's actually a really hopeful movie, Pattinson said. When I look at the world, maybe I'm just a depressive, I think sometimes the world does need to be washed and cleansed. That's the hope of it.