Taylor Lautner: “I would rather battle vampires!”
We’re in Beverly Hills getting the latest from Taylor who is looking all lumberjack hot in a cool blue plaid flannel shirt and jeans, spikey hair and sporting a manly shadow beard.
In his actioner Abduction, cute Taylor plays a high school senior who learns that he has a very dangerous past and his parents aren’t really his folks. This discovery sends him and his crush next door (played by pretty Lily Collins) on the road running for their lives.. when Taylor’s character isn’t stopping to kick some butt that is!
Let’s get to the romance, the stunts, the retro-Twilight thoughts and Taylor’s pride in his first real leading man role as a romantic action hero like his idols Matt Damon and Harrison Ford.
Kidzworld: Why did you want to be involved in this film and what was the most dangerous thing you did in it?
- Taylor: Originally, just the story and the journey that this character goes on, excited me. I thought “That is gonna be an exciting movie to make and an exciting movie to watch”. As soon as I read the script and started focusing on it I knew that it would challenge me in many different ways; physically, obviously with all the stunt work but more importantly, it would challenge me emotionally; being able to dive into this character’s shoes.
Kidzworld: Could you relate to anything about your character Nathan?
- Taylor: I could probably relate more to the early side of Nathan in this film when he’s just a normal teenager out with his friends. What I appreciate about Nathan is he has a goal and will do anything and everything to get to that goal. He’s determined and persistent and I strive for that.
Kidzworld: What’s the difference between battling European bad guys and vampires?
- Taylor: (laughs) I would rather battle vampires because these guys (in Abduction) were nasty. They were bad. Vampires will just take you out but this fight scene I have with this guy on the train is brutal! But, it was fun.
Kidzworld: Any injuries?
- Taylor: Nothing too terrible. The worst thing that happened was a few bruises or red marks either in the boxing scene or the train fight scene but nothing too serious.
Kidzworld: You do a ton of stunts in the film. What was the scariest?
- Taylor: Probably the scariest thing was that I was not scared at all. I was scaring some other people. Insurance wasn’t too excited about me doing some of those stunts. But, I was just excited to do them.
Kidzworld: Are you just fearless?
- Taylor: (laughs) I guess so.
Kidzworld: Were you concerned that kids will try to do a tuck and roll off the hood of a car like they see you doing?
- Taylor: (laughs) No, because I don’t think it looks too fun. It looks painful but for me, weirdly, it was fun. For that specific thing, I knew that (director) John (Singleton) would throw a fit if I told him I was gonna do that so, the very first time, I just did it. The car was just supposed to come to a stop and I was supposed to get off but, for some reason, I was feeling crazy so I just went for it and they were scared and worried but John cares about what’s on the screen so he was like “That looks pretty cool so, if you’re fine, let’s do a few more takes. Just be careful” so I was making a few people sweat.
Kidzworld: What training did you do for those fight scenes?
- Taylor: I started boxing training three months before I left to film in Pittsburgh. I found a trainer here in L.A. Then, I did the same thing with motorcycle training and wrestling training. By the time I showed up in Pittsburgh, I wanted to know what I was doing. There was a lot of physical preparation. The emotional preparation was important too. It was great to be there from the ground up because I was there for the development of the script and the character. By the time I showed up to film, I knew everything about this character.
Kidzworld: When you shot at the high school were “Team Jacob” fans all over the place and were the extras respectful?
- Taylor: There were a lot of fans but they were respectful. I think the toughest thing was we filmed one day at the (Pittsburgh Pirates) baseball stadium during a live game and there were literally tens of thousands of fans there trying to watch the baseball game and we were there trying to film a movie during it. So there are huge cameras and actors everywhere and these fans are trying to enjoy the game.
- They’d turn around and stare at the cameras and we can’t have that in the movie so we’d hold up these huge signs that said “Please do not look at the cameras” which, of course, makes them look at the cameras that much more. If you watch the movie a couple of times you’ll see random people staring at the cameras.
Kidzworld: Tell us your on the street moment when a fan first recognized you.
- Taylor: The very first time I was ever recognized was after Shark Boy and Lava Girl. I was filming Cheaper By the Dozen Two in Toronto and was walking down the street and this old man stopped me and said “Scuze me. Are you Shark Boy?” (we laugh) “Yeah, I am”. That was the first.
- The first big moment where we (the Twilight cast) experienced this screaming and passion was at the very first Comic Con for Twilight. We’d never experienced any fandom before and we showed up and had no idea what to expect. We were back stage and we saw, on the screen, the word “Twilight” go up and we hear this roar of thousands of fans. We were freaking out. “What are they screaming at? What’s wrong?” That was a big surreal moment. That was before the first movie came out.
Kidzworld: How does all the fandom and girls throwing themselves at you change you?
- Taylor: I hope it doesn’t. That’s my goal. Thankfully, I have this new life where I do what I love. I get to film movies and travel the world promoting them and see the fans and talk to the press and exciting stuff but I also have the same life I had before. I go home to my family, see my friends, play football, all the same things I’ve done all my life. I think maintaining that life is what keeps you grounded. I bounce back and forth between the two worlds.
Kidzworld: What have the martial arts taught you emotionally that you can use for your acting?
- Taylor: I think the biggest thing martial arts have taught me is just hard work. It taught me that nothing comes without hard work. You don’t just wake up one morning and everything has fallen in place for you. I’ve gotten lucky and had people help me get to where I am today but it’s taken a lot of hard work and sacrifices. It’s been worth it.
Kidzworld: What is your daily routine for staying in shape?
- Taylor: It’s different now. For the Twilight franchise it was about staying bulked up and physically looking like Jacob Black. Now and for Abduction, it was less about lifting weights and worrying about how I look and more about physically be able to do things; how to box and ride a motorcycle and how to wrestle and do the fight scenes. That was a fun change-up.
Kidzworld: So do you want to do a comedy next?
- Taylor: I am always looking to challenge myself to a wide variety of things and yeah, comedy is on my list. I’ve done a few things comedy-related “SNL” and the opening to the MTV Movie Awards. I just did a funnyordie.com. I have a lot of fun with that being myself.
Kidzworld: What is the best part of being you right now? What did people tell you when you first got started?
- Taylor: I was told that this is the most competitive business there is and I heard “No” quite a bit. It took a while to hear the first “Yes”. The best part is being able to work with the people I’m working with today, the actors, directors. I have been so fortunate to be surrounded by amazing talent in from of and behind the camera.
Kidzworld: When did you start dreaming about being an actor?
- Taylor: I was about eight years old and my karate instructor at the time said, “Hey, I think you should give the entertainment industry a shot”. He kept pushing. He believed in me so much. Finally, my family listened to him and we packed up and came out here for one month. Let’s just see if I like it and, of course, I fall in love with it; going on auditions and getting a few callbacks and seeing a little progress. I fell in love with playing different characters and doing things I’d never be able to do myself.
Kidzworld: Sigourney Weaver is a big fanboy fave because of the Aliens movies and Avatar. Were you intimidated a bit to meet her?
- Taylor: I was definitely a little intimidated. The first time I met her was literally on set 30 minutes before we filmed our first scene in the therapy office (Sigourney plays Nathan’s shrink and a lot more!). I was so excited when I heard that we got her for that role. I was a little starstruck. She’s a legend.
Kidzworld: Talk about working with Denzel Whitaker and Lily Collins? Was there a lot of fun on set?
- Taylor: We had a great time. A lot of the fun stuff came at the beginning when we got to do the party scenes and go crazy. Denzel and I had a great time doing that. All the stuff with Lily was amazing. We had the opportunity to be on the run together. She pretty much is doing all the physical stuff that I’m doing which is absolutely amazing and then all the emotional stuff there. She had to be there the entire time. I can’t wait for people to see her in it.
Kidzworld: There are rumors that you are dating Lilly. Why do actors on a movie often end up together?
- Taylor: (big smile) Well, obviously, you spend a lot of time together. I think it just makes you respect them as people and actors.
Kidzworld: You get to kiss her a lot so which was more difficult for you as an actor, the romantic kissing scenes or the fight scenes?
- Taylor: Probably the fight scenes. I just let loose and go for it in the (romantic scene) in the train. We had a lot of fun and we just went for it. You can’t think about it too much or it will be awkward and all weird.
Kidzworld: How do you feel after a little distance and time since ending the Twilight saga?
- Taylor: After playing these characters for so long, it’s such a weird feeling. It’s so hard to soak it in that it’s done. We’ll be promoting the movies for the next year and a half but just the fact that we won’t be going back to live those characters anymore is a weird and emotional feeling.
By: Lynn Barker