Taylor Lautner Really Takes a Bite out of Twilight!
Kidzworld talks to Taylor about his more meaty role in Breaking Dawn and much more!
Team Jacob will be stoked to see their hero take charge of his own wolf pack, become a man and re-gear his attention and affections to Bella’s extraordinary daughter in the Breaking Dawn segment of the film series. We’re in Beverly Hills to get the latest from the friendly hunk on his joy at playing Jake in this part of the story and his future plans. And yes, team “J”, Taylor is shirtless in the first minute of the movie!
Kidzworld: Jacob has a very emotional group of transitions in this film. He’s more mature. How did you approach that as an actor?
- Taylor: Yeah, I was really excited about this one, because Jacob becomes a man in this one and he has to make a lot of 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 the three of us sat down with Bill (Condon, director), we just dove right into it and we talked about the characters and I really can say that I couldn’t have done it without Bill’s help. He was absolutely amazing in talking to us all the time and I trusted him completely.
Kidzworld: How do you feel about your performance now that you’ve seen it?
- Taylor: It was really special and now seeing the movie, I’m really happy. Jacob starts here and he ends here (going from one hand to the other, showing growth), and it’s just very exciting to see him in a completely different light than ever before.
Kidzwrld: Jacob imprints on Bella’s daughter Renesmee who is a baby. How weird was that scene for you?
- Taylor: Oh, you had to go there. That was tough because what is imprinting? What do you look like when you imprint? Those were all the questions going through my head. Luckily we had Stephenie on set the entire time, and trust me, I asked her a million times, ‘Okay, explain to me one more time what imprinting is exactly. And did you ever envision what Jacob would look 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 Renesmee, 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 it in in a way so it works, so it really is a very special moment, but on the day, it was a leap of faith.
Kidzworld: Were you at all bummed that after going after Bella all this time Edward gets a hot vampire bride and you get a baby?
- Taylor: Yeah, I’ve gotten over that by now, but I remember the first time reading the book when it came out and I’m like, ‘Alright, what’s going to happen? Is Edward gonna end up with Bella? Is Jacob gonna end up with Bella?’ I was so confused, I was like, ‘Wait, he’s trying to get Bella the whole time and he strikes out so goes with her child?’ 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 it in a certain way and I think Bill did an incredible job with that.
Kidzworld: With all the great things that the Twilight films have brought you, what’s the thing that you are ready to put behind you and not have to experience anymore?
- Taylor: Not wearing clothes. I mean, maybe the climate of where we film [cold Canada] and those two together don’t go very well. I love Vancouver, but we always have to film when it’s cold and rainy and gross and 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 I didn’t see it coming at all. None of us did, so my mind doesn’t even go there. I am just like crazy thankful for what this has given all of us and the opportunities as actors.
Kidzworld: You guys have become practically a family of your own at this point. At first who was the most unlikely person that you’ve become really close with as a result of Twilight?
- Taylor: I can definitely say that we all are very, very close. One person that I’m really close with and it could be unexpected because he’s not even in the franchise anymore because I killed him, was Edi Gathegi who played Laurent. He’s an incredible guy, so we’re very close. 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. So I apologized to him for that every single day. He’s a great guy, but 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.
Kidzworld: Since Twilight fans are so intense, what’s been your craziest fan encounter?
- Taylor: That is so tough to choose one. And I don’t like using the word crazy, I like using the word passionate [he laughs]. Kristen and I had a very interesting Brazil experience that I’ve talked about numerous times that just was out of control, but amazing and there was a lot of passion there. I’ve had a few girls that tattoo a picture of you or your signature to their arm. That blows my mind. Something new happens every single 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 we’re like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ We wouldn’t be here today promoting a fourth movie if it wasn’t for that amount of passion. So that’s absolutely unreal to me.
Kidzworld: Now that you’ve finished playing Jacob, is there any part of the character that will stick with you?
- Taylor: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, after playing the same character for five movies and for years you grow so close to him and you start putting yourself into Jacob and you start putting Jacob into you. I love Jacob. There’s many things that I look up to Jacob for. Jacob’s one of the most loyal people, one of the most persistent people. He has amazing qualities to him that I hope I can learn from him and implement into my own life, which is kind of cool.
Kidzworld: The music is so important to these films. What’s on your iPod? Any particular tracks on your playlist right now?
- Taylor: I am so all over the place with my music taste it’s ridiculous. I find myself listening to weird things like hardcore techno music and then I’ll be listening to mainstream hip-hop. I’ll listen to a song, I’ll become obsessed with it, and then I’m on to the next one, so it’s just very inconsistent.
Kidzworld: One of your most pivotal scenes is when you fight back as a wolf and go alpha vs. Sam and the pack. In this film, this is done in a voice/over and you are wolves. Did that kind of frustrate you that you couldn’t put your own physicality to that or did you guys rehearse it as people standing in a room at some point?
- Taylor: Yeah, it was kind of weird and awkward, because we were standing in an empty room and they actually filmed us. We actually did a version of that scene and we said all of the lines. That was the voice [track] that’s used in the movie. If my face did something, they would implement that into the wolves. So it’s very, very cool the amount of detail that they pay attention to.
- So in a way, yeah, I’m bummed because the wolves got a very cool scene that we didn’t, but I’m kind of used to that by now. In a sense, we were able to do the scene and they actually were able to use specific things that we did with our bodies or with our faces, with our voice and just implemented them into the wolves.
Kidzworld: Are you comfortable enough this late in the franchise that you own the role enough to say to your director, ‘No, Jacob wouldn’t have done it that way, he would have done it this way.’ Did you get into any situations where you were arguing for your take on it?
- Taylor: Thankfully no. We are so open with each other that I’m sure any of us would have spoken up and said that, but with Bill he just made us feel so comfortable. When the new director comes on board sometimes it can take a second to adjust and get on the same page with them. But Bill really just made us feel comfortable and open, and yeah, we would say, ‘I think he would do this,’ or, ‘I think he would say this,’ or, ‘I don’t think he would do that.’ And Bill was very open about everything and then Bill would say the same stuff to us. I’ve respected Bill for a very long time, even before I had the opportunity to work with him.
Kidzworld: Can you understand why Jacob will just not let go of Bella? Some guys would just be like, ‘Okay, fine, you’re married now.’ And also, could you talk about your very last scene that you ever filmed as Jacob?
- Taylor: Yeah, I go back and forth with Jacob’s persistence. I mean, most of the time, I can understand it, because there’s been things in my life that I have wanted so much and when you’re told ‘no’ you’ve gotta to keep going, you’ve gotta go for it, because if you just say, ‘Oh, okay,’ and you give up [you don’t get anywhere]. I wouldn’t be sitting here today. It requires a lot of hard work and a lot of persistence.
- If you believe in something, if you love something you’ve gotta go for it no matter what. So most of the time I could relate, but yeah, there’s moments where I’m just like, ‘Dude, you’ve got to get over it. She’s married now. She’s on her honeymoon, it’s about time to move on.’ So yeah, there are a few of those moments.
- I knew filming the last scene was going to be tough but it was actually more emotional for all of us than we expected and it didn’t help that my very last scene was with Kristen and Rob comes in at the end and breaks it up, but it’s really the last dance between Bella and Jacob towards the end of their wedding. And it’s really Jacob saying goodbye to Bella. She’s off to her honeymoon and he’s kind of realizing that it’s over, everything I’ve been working for is over, and it’s really time for him to move on and realize that.
- So it’s an emotional scene and we’re like saying goodbye to each other pretty much, and that was the very last scene we filmed together. So it didn’t help the situation, and I remember when we finished and Kris and I just looked at each other, and I don’t think we really had anything to say because the emotion from the scene was overwhelming us, and then the emotion of the situation on top of that, it was tough, but it was a very special moment and now, when I watch that scene, I have a lot of great memories.
Kidzworld: What are you doing next? Are you working with director Gus Van Sant on a project based on a magazine article? Also, are you going to try to find something very different from the Jacob role?
- Taylor: No, it’s definitely not a matter of just finding something that keeps your face out there. I want everything to feel special to me, and I’m very specific about that. But, 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. 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 with many different roles.
- 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. It will give me time to catch up on sleep a little bit and also start to think what will be next. Gus Van Sant is a 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 to say now, other than the fact that I really, really respect him and would love the opportunity to work with him.
By: Lynn Barker