David Michod admits he didn't know what Robert Pattinson was "capable of" before directing him.

The filmmaker helms the British actor in upcoming crime drama The Rover, in which Robert plays Rey, the brother of a thief who steals a car from a loner called Eric (Guy Pearce).

Talking about the process of bringing Robert into the role and working with him on his performance, David remembers how blown away he was by the 28-year-old star's acting abilities.

"In a way, the answer to both questions is that Robert came in and tested for me and his tests were just extraordinary. I, like everyone else, didn't know what he was capable of. Certainly his previous work didn't give you a clear indicator," David explained to twitchfilm.com.

"I met him before I even knew I was going to make The Rover, and there was something about him that I really liked. He's obviously intelligent and really wonderfully emotionally available. When [Robert] came in to audition for me, he came in with a really beautifully defined and sophisticated reading of the character that seemed from the outset to avoid all of those possible moments of caricature that that character could so easily slip into."

While David was unaware of Robert's skills beforehand, he was confident that Guy would bring something remarkable to the feature. The director has an appreciation for the projects in which the 46-year-old actor chooses in his career.

"He's just been doing it for a long time and it's a cliché to call an actor transformative but he truly is. There's just a general sense that Guy's capable of anything," David added. "And I think there's a great respect also for the kinds of decisions that he makes and the career that he's forged for himself. He doesn't seem to be burning with an ambition to be some kind of gigantic tentpole movie star, he just wants to do good movies."