With Abduction, Taylor Lautner learned immensely. Not only does Lautner star in the film about a teenager who discovers his entire life is a lie, he serves as the film’s producer. When I spoke with Lautner for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Lautner was all about Abduction. “I’m even more excited now,” Lautner told Movie Fanatic at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills this past week.
In Abduction, Lautner’s Nathan discovers his face on a missing person’s website, sending his entire life into a whirlwind of harrowing escapes, CIA intrigue and full throttle action that found the star doing some of his own stunts -- to his utter delight.
Lautner sits down with Movie Fanatic for an Abduction chat that finds the star a picture of exhilaration for his first headlining role minus that Robert Pattinson fellow and Kristen Stewart starlet.
Movie Fanatic: At the Eclipse junket, you were about to start shooting Abduction and you were beyond filled with anticipation. How are you feeling now?
Taylor Lautner: I was excited then. But while filming I was getting more excited about it and then seeing the final product. And now I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for people to see this movie and it’s finally here. So, I’ve never been more excited than I am now. I just can’t wait for people to see it.
Movie Fanatic: Going from Twilight to Abduction it’s sort of like graduation. Do you feel like you’ve grown?
Taylor Lautner: Quite a bit. This movie was very different than anything I’d done before. It was challenging. I knew it would challenge me and that’s why I was attracted to do it. But it was a lot of fun. Breaking Dawn right after that was even more challenging. My character goes through so much in the first installment of the last two movies. So I’m definitely growing and I couldn’t have done it alone.
Movie Fanatic: John Singleton, the director, said that you actually picked him. What did you see in him that you wanted him to helm Abduction?
Taylor Lautner: I wouldn’t say that I picked him. It was a team effort. I attached myself to the project when it was just a script. The biggest thing that we all saw in John was his passion. That’s all we wanted in this movie. I was so passionate about this movie from the very first time I heard the idea that we just wanted people that loved it as much as we did. We all saw that passion in John and I think that’s when we knew he was the right guy for this.
Movie Fanatic: How fun were the stunts you did with the cars?
Taylor Lautner: Oh, they were a lot of fun [laughs]. I definitely made a few people nervous on set but it was worth it.
Movie Fanatic: Were you nervous at all?
Taylor Lautner: No, I wasn’t. There were really no stunts that scared me and that’s probably a scary thought [laughs]. The ones I was most excited about were at the beginning of the movie when I’m riding on the hood of the truck. That was one where they said, “You are absolutely not doing that. There’s no way you’re getting on the hood of that truck.” Somehow I was able to convince them I could do it. They were like, “Okay, fine you can do it but we’re only allowing you to go up to 20 miles per hour.” I’m like, “Are you kidding me? I need to feel the adrenaline.” So, we actually ended up going 50, or 55. It still wasn’t like the 80 on the speedometer but it was fast.
Movie Fanatic: What was it like working with Lily Collins, shifting gears between the love scenes versus the action?
Taylor Lautner: That’s what I love about this movie is it really has everything in it. It has the action, the romance, the thriller and the drama. But Lily was great. She’s so talented. And everyone knew she was the right person for this role. Her role is so important. She’s with Nathan the entire time. She’s on this journey with him and she did such an incredible job. I can’t wait for people to see her in it.
Movie Fanatic: What kind of training did you have from the director, the esteemed John Singleton?
Taylor Lautner: A lot. There was physical training and then there was emotional training. Physically, I started boxing training about three months before we went to film. I did that same thing for wrestling and motorcycle riding. It was important for me. I wanted to show up to set actually looking like I knew what I was doing. Then emotionally, it was helpful to be involved from the project from the ground up, during the script writing and during the creation of this character. So then when you show up to set you already feel like you know the character because you’ve been creating him for the past three, four, five months. So that was really helpful. Emotionally, the biggest thing for me while I was filming was to be able to take a step back and ask myself the simple question: “If I was in this character’s shoes and I found out that my entire life was a lie, what would I do? Where would I go? Where would I start looking for answers? Who would I trust?” The truth is, I could never answer that question. I have no idea. And that’s exactly what this character deals with. He’s on the run just trying to stay alive and also trying to take this all in and think about who he can trust. This movie is really all about trust. I don’t blame Nathan for not really trusting anyone because when you’ve been lied to by your parents, or the people you think are your parents, your entire life, I wouldn’t trust anybody. It’s interesting to see him go through that journey.
Movie Fanatic: Compared to the Twilight films where you have three main characters, was it difficult to be the main character and in practically every scene?
Taylor Lautner: It was different. It was a lot of work definitely. But I enjoyed it. I couldn’t have done it alone. I was surrounded by a ridiculously amazing cast. I definitely couldn’t have done it by myself but it was a lot of work for sure.
Movie Fanatic: What’s your favorite scene?
Taylor Lautner: I have such a hard time choosing this -- I’m not going to be able to give you just one. I love the scene with me and Maria Bello in my bedroom where she comes in and tells me she’s not my real mother. It was very emotional and it was so great to be able to do a scene like that opposite of Maria. I love the boxing scene. I’m a huge fan of Jason (Isaacs). I think he’s amazing, he’s hilarious. I think that scene is just brilliant. Sorry, but I love the romantic scene in the train, I do. Those are my three.
Movie Fanatic: Did you get hurt at all during the boxing scene?
Taylor Lautner: No. We probably got wacked in the face a couple times with a glove but nothing too serious.
Movie Fanatic: What was it like to work with legends like Maria Bello, Sigourney Weaver and Alfred Molina? What did you take away?
Taylor Lautner: I just remember during the development process, “We got Sigourney! We got Alfred!” It just kept getting better and better and I was freaking out. The biggest thing for me was to be able to be on set with them, acting opposite them, just being able to watch and observe them. That was fine for me. It was less of being able to observe that Sigourney Weaver can act because I knew that. The most important thing for me was seeing how they were as people on set. Not only is everyone in this movie extremely talented but they’re amazing people. You just watch them walking around on set and Sigourney is one of the most caring, affectionate people you’ll every meet. Jason is hilarious. Everybody is super hard-working. To see that kind of hard work still in these people’s careers after 20 to 30 years, it’s absolutely amazing.
Movie Fanatic: What’s next for you as an actor?
Taylor Lautner: My goal is to continue to challenge myself as much as possible as an actor, do a wide variety of roles and genres. There’s a few things that are new that I’m very excited about that are a little too early to tell. But I should be making my mind up soon about what is next and I can guarantee it will be different and it will be challenging for me.