Taylor Lautner: So long, Jacob Black. Hello, Mr. Cruise
If you ever find yourself searching for the room where you’re scheduled to interview Taylor Lautner, look for the one with the duo of hulking security guards suspiciously eyeing every room service attendant or housekeeper who walks down the hall. That’s the place. It makes sense that Lautner would need to take certain precautions given that he’s been an international megastar since the age of 16, thanks to a little something called “Twilight.”
Now at the ripe old age of 19, with his time as werewolf Jacob Black wrapped on the final installment of the series and set to come to an end in November 2012, Lautner is looking to grow from teen idol to leading man with his first solo project, “Abduction,” an action adventure helmed by John Singleton.
As grateful as Lautner is for the success of the “Twilight” franchise, one has to wonder if he isn’t more than a little excited to escape certain byproducts of the series’ success, like the hysterical screaming teens that swarm him wherever he goes. Asked if he ever grows weary of hearing shrieks, he shakes his head. “I love that noise,” he smiles. “We feed off of their energy. When we walk into a room, an auditorium or a red carpet and there’s thousands of fans screaming, it really gets us pumped. I remember the first time we ever heard it was at Comic Con for ‘Twilight’ and we were like, ‘Whoa! What is going on?’ But now we’re kind of used to it. We love it.”
Leaving the “Twilight” series behind and embarking on more mature roles, Lautner has been hailed as “the next Tom Cruise,” a distinction he embraces with a “Gee, shucks, me?” attitude. “Tom Cruise has been my idol my entire life. I love his career path, his choices, so to have a tenth of the career Tom Cruise has had would be a dream for me,” he offers shyly.
One thing Cruise and Lautner have in common is a love of performing their own stunts. As an accomplished martial artist, Lautner is extremely physically capable and was thrilled to tackle the action sequences of “Abduction,” which included riding on the hood of a car and sliding down the sheer glass face of an escalator overhang.
“Selfishly, [the stunts] sound fun, but our goal with this movie was to make it seem as real and grounded as possible and it always helps when the real actors are doing the stunts,” Lautner beams.