After Eclipse, one would think that Taylor Lautner had his time in the spotlight. But, Lautner’s Jacob Black is front and center in the action in Breaking Dawn and key to Bella’s (Kristen Stewart) survival against an all-out attack. Lautner sat down with Movie Fanatic to dish working with a new director in Bill Condon, what he looks for next post-Twilight and how Jacob is so central to the Breaking Dawn storyline.
Movie Fanatic: Jacob’s really grown up in Breaking Dawn. Did you see a big change in this character you’ve played for years?
Taylor Lautner: I was really excited about this one because Jacob becomes a man in this one and he has to make a lot decisions. He’s being torn between his two families. It was really tough, it was by far the most challenging one for me, but I didn’t know what to think going into it. As soon as we sat down — the three of us sat down with Bill — we just dove right into it and we talked about the characters. I really can say that I couldn’t have done it without Bill’s help. He was absolutely amazing and talking to us all the time. I trusted him completely, and it was really special. And now seeing the movie, I’m really happy Jacob starts here and he ends here, and it’s just very exciting to see him in a completely different light than ever before.
Movie Fanatic: What will you not miss about the Twilight series?
Taylor Lautner: Not wearing clothes [laughs]. I mean, maybe the climate of where we filmed, those two together don’t go very well. I love Vancouver, but we have to film when it’s cold and rainy and gross. The sun comes out and we’ve got to stop filming. But I honestly can’t even think of complaints or anything that I wouldn’t want to do because of everything it’s given me. It’s just absolutely unreal, and didn’t see it coming at all — none of us did. My mind doesn’t even go there. I’m just crazy thankful for what this has given all of us and the opportunities it’s given us as actors.
Movie Fanatic: Did you feel, as a series veteran, that you could offer your two cents to your new director? Or, did you think it should be played differently?
Taylor Lautner: Thankfully no. I mean, we are so open with each other that I’m sure any one of us would have spoken up. But, Bill he just made us feel so comfortable to begin with. Because it could’ve been a challenge, playing the same character for five movies and you have a different director each time. Then when the new director comes on board, sometimes it can take a second to adjust and get on the same page with him. But Bill was so amazing. I’ve respected Bill for a very long time — even before I had the opportunity to work with him or found out I was going to work with him. So I was able to completely trust him — all of us were — which was very important as well.
Movie Fanatic: After being Jacob for so long in the Twilight series, are you looking forward to your next chapter? Like breaking away with films such as Abduction?
Taylor Lautner: I want everything to feel special to me, and I’m very specific about that. It would almost be a compliment to be typecast because that’s our jobs. Our jobs are to make the fans believe that we are these characters. So in one sense, we’re trying to do that to ourselves because that’s the goal with these fans. But at the same time, of course as actors we want to be able to go off and do different things and challenge ourselves to many different roles. So yeah, it’s very exciting in one sense that it’s coming to an end and we get to go off as actors and experience different things and continue to challenge ourselves and grow, but at the same time it’s a bummer because it’s been such a huge part of our lives.
Movie Fanatic: Who would surprise us that you have become close friends with thanks to the Twilight series?
Taylor Lautner: That’s a good question, because I can definitely say that we all are very, very close. One person that I’m really close with — and I’m happy and it could be unexpected because he’s not even in the franchise anymore because I killed him — was Edi Gathegi, who plays Laurent. He’s an incredible guy, and we’re very close. So maybe that’s unexpected because I haven’t filmed a movie with him in a few years, and the last time I did I took him out of the franchise and I bit his head off. I apologize to him for that every single day [laughs]. No, but he’s a great guy. At the same time, we have all grown so close, and it’s really unbelievable how much we’ve gotten along, and I can’t imagine filming this franchise if we didn’t. It would be a complete nightmare.
Movie Fanatic: So, after yearning for Bella for three movies, you imprint on a baby?
Taylor Lautner: I get a baby? Yeah, yeah [laughs]. I have gotten over that by now. I remember the first time reading the book. The fourth book came out, and I was like, “All right, what’s going to happen? What’s going to happen? Is Edward going to end up with Bella? Is Jacob going to end up with Bella?” And I was so confused. I was like, “Wait. He’s trying to get Bella the whole time, and he strikes out so he goes with her child?” It really took a second. You have to tread lightly because it’s a very special thing, and it’s not romantic at all. So we definitely had to film in a certain way, and I think that Bill did an incredible job with that.
Movie Fanatic: Was that difficult to wrap your head around and film as a scene?
Taylor Lautner: Ooof. You had to go there [laughs]. That was tough. Because what is imprinting? What do you look like when you imprint? I mean, those were all the questions going through my head. Luckily we had Stephanie Meyer on set the entire time, and trust me I asked her a million times, “OK, explain to me one more time what imprinting is exactly?” and “Did you ever envision what Jacob looks like? What is he doing when he’s imprinting?” It was very, very confusing. So there was a lot of conversation about that. And then it didn’t help that when we filmed it, they put an X on a wall and said, “This is Renesme. You’re going to walk in the room, you’re going to look at the X and you’re going to imprint.” And I’m like, “Are you kidding me?” It was tough, it really was. But now after seeing the final version, I’m really happy with it. It’s emotional. They did a really good job with bringing back cool flashbacks and tying in a voice-over. So it really is a special moment, but on the day it was a leap of faith.
Movie Fanatic: Since the Twilight series is such a phenomenon, have you had a craziest fan encounter?
Taylor Lautner: Craziest fan encounter… That is so tough to choose one. And I don’t like using the word crazy. I like using the word passionate. Kristen and I had a very interesting Brazil experience that I’ve talked about numerous times that was just out of control but amazing, and there was a lot of passion there. And then I’ve had a few girls that tattoo a picture of you or your signature to their arm. That blows my mind. I mean, something new happens every day and it continues to blow my mind. You think we would all get used to it and expect it, but every time something happens it’s just like, “Are you kidding me?” We wouldn’t be here today promoting a fourth movie if it wasn’t for that amount of passion. That’s absolutely unreal to me. And then next, I don’t know, to be honest. I’ve been promoting two back-to-back movies, and now I’ll have a little break, which I’m excited for. And it will give me time to catch up on sleep a little bit and also think about what will be next.
Movie Fanatic: Lastly, you working with Gus Van Zant next?
Taylor Lautner: He is a very, very talented director who I’ve always looked up to and I’ve always wanted to work with. It’s very premature, so I really don’t have much so say now other than the fact that I really, really respect and would love the opportunity to work with him. Um… there is a project like that floating around somewhere on this planet.