Taylor Lautner almost didn’t make it out of Twilight. It’s hard to recall him not being a part of the Stephenie Meyer world as we see the last of Jacob in Breaking Dawn Part 2. But, that is exactly what happened when Twilight faded and plans began for New Moon. Seems producers weren’t sure he could bulk up enough to play the older, wolf-fueled teenager Jacob Black that would be an enormous part of the remainder of the series.
“I had a lot of support, from the fans, from director Chris Weitz and from Kristen Stewart. I owe a lot to them, but it required a lot of me,” Lautner told Movie Fanatic. He famously hit the gym, became the subject of swooning of legions of Twilight fans and years later, he is saying goodbye to the franchise that made him a star. And he answers whether we’ll get more Jacob in the future!
Lautner sits down and talks about the end that has arrived thanks to Breaking Dawn Part 2, what it was like to have Kristen Stewart toss him around like a rag doll and how to walk that line between caring and creepy when it comes to his onscreen affections for Renesmee, Bella and Edward’s supernatural offspring.
Movie Fanatic: One of the best scenes in Breaking Dawn Part 2 is when Bella (Kristen Stewart) kicks your butt when she learns you imprinted on Renesmee…
Taylor Lautner: That scene is probably my favorite in the movie too [laughs]. To see Kristen that way was incredible. That scene is hysterical. It’s a completely different side of Jacob than we’d ever seen before, and it’s the first time we’ve seen Bella like that. The visual of Kristen chucking me around… I love that scene!
Movie Fanatic: Speaking of Renesmee, there is a razor thin line between what the story demands of you looking after her, and it being weird. Was that difficult to maneuver?
Taylor Lautner: Yeah, it’s a fine line and I was worried about it. We were very lucky to have Stephenie Meyer on set with us. She basically told me, “Stop over-complicating it. Think here and now. That’s all you really have to focus on. It’s simple.” She said that it’s a lifelong bond between two people, and that’s it. At this point, it’s more of a brother-sister protective thing. That’s really all it is.
Movie Fanatic: Another fun scene for you to shoot is where you turn into a wolf in front of Bella’s dad (Billy Burke). After all you two had been through since the first Twilight in 2008… how was that?
Taylor Lautner: I love Billy Burke to death, and he’s one of the coolest people alive, so it was a little uncomfortable for me. It’s always uncomfortable when I have to take my shirt off because I’m always the only one doing it. With the weather conditions we film in, everybody’s bundled up in seven layers and I’m the only one in jean shorts.
Movie Fanatic: You had to lose your pants in that one also…
Taylor Lautner: The pants did come off in that one, too [laughs]! I was so nervous to film it because it was written so hilariously and I wanted it to come across that way, and I hope it does. It was a blast to shoot.
Movie Fanatic: It’s hard to believe now, but there was a time where you were almost shut out of playing Jacob. How do you look back on that time between Twilight and New Moon?
Taylor Lautner: During that whole time, I couldn’t let my mind go there. I was so focused. I just had my eye on one goal, and there were a lot of things I had to do in order to get there. I think back to every day in that gym, every burger patty shoved down my throat, every protein shake and all that stuff, and it was worth it.
Movie Fanatic: Above everything that has happened to you since Twilight premiered in 2008, what will you take away most from the experience now that Breaking Dawn Part 2 is hitting theaters?
Taylor Lautner: The biggest thing I’ll take from this is those relationships. We’re so close now. They’re some of my best friends. It’ll be more difficult because we won’t have the excuse of having months and months, day after day together, but our friendships will go on forever. I find it so amazing that this cast meshed so well and got along so well. I really think that’s a miracle.
Movie Fanatic: What do you think you learned most about yourself through this entire Twilight Saga?
Taylor Lautner: I’ve grown up a ton. I started this when I was 15 years old, so that was bound to happen, but this was at an accelerated rate. I love the fact that we had different directors for each movie. It was amazing to play the same character, but have different input each time. That’s an actor’s dream. When you do a normal film, you play the character for three months and you say goodbye to him. With this, we had four more movies to play with. I love Jacob! I really respect him. He has so many qualities to him that I’d love to bring with me, like his loyalty and his persistence. He’s going to be a tough character to say goodbye to, for sure.
Movie Fanatic: Are you saying goodbye to him? Will there be more? There are rumors Jacob will get a spin-off...
Taylor Lautner: I’m re-teaming with the producers of Twilight, whom I love and who I have an amazing relationship with. But, it’ll be something different for me. I love challenging myself, doing different things and exploring different areas that I haven’t been to or gone to before.