Though he’ll soon don the cape and cowl of The Batman, Robert Pattinson has spent the better part of the decade putting his franchise days behind him with surprising roles in some fantastic independent cinema. His latest—The Lighthouse— is a doozy, capturing him in stark black-and-white photography, and covering him in sea brine, kerosene, and every bodily fluid imaginable. As A.A. Dowd puts it, it’s a “primo showcase” for Pattinson and his costar, Willem Dafoe, and one that further cements the former “Cedric Diggory” as a true talent. Amid the frenzy of the film’s opening weekend, we spoke with Pattinson about the the intense, primal relationship that forms between his and Dafoe’s characters, and how the film’s sexual subtext was actually right there in the text of the script. He also shared his appreciation of director Robert Eggers’ previous film, The Witch, and his relief over the fact that audiences seem to think The Lighthouse is just as funny as he does.