For the fourth installment of the Twilight franchise, Taylor Lautner knew he was going to be in for some pretty bizarre stuff — even for a franchise about vampires, werewolves and moody teens.
His character, the werewolf Jacob, finds himself in the awkward position of “imprinting” on Renesmee, the newborn daughter of Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson).
“That was... tough,” Lautner admits. “Because what is imprinting? What do you look like when you imprint? I mean, those were all the questions going through my head.”
For the uninitiated, imprinting is what happens when a werewolf finds his soulmate, at least in author Stephenie Meyer’s world.
“Luckily we had Stephenie on set the entire time, and trust me I asked her a million times, ‘OK, explain to me one more time what imprinting is exactly?’ and ‘What is he doing when he’s imprinting?’ It was very, very confusing,” Lautner says.
And filming the sequence didn’t necessarily make it any clearer, unfortunately, thanks to the mechanics of the special effects. “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,’” Lautner remembers.
“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 really is a special moment, but on the day it was a leap of faith.”
The business with the baby was something he’d been anticipating, of course, and he admits that while he gets the overall romance of the story, it does seem like an odd consolation prize. “I get a baby? Yeah, yeah. I have gotten over that by now,” he says. “I remember the first time reading the book, I was so confused. I was like, ‘Wait. He’s trying to get Bella the whole time, and he strikes out so he goes with her child?’ It really took a second.”
With the franchise — and its central love triangle — coming to some sort of resolution across the two Breaking Dawn films (part two hits theatres a year from now), Lautner has a chance to look at his character’s reluctance to let Bella go, even as she’s marrying her beloved vampire.
“I go back and forth with Jacob’s persistence,” Lautner admits. “I mean, most of the time, yeah, 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 just got to keep going. 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.’”
Since Lautner shared a dinner with director Gus Van Sant and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black recently, Hollywood insiders have been speculating about some sort of team-up.
All that came to a head when, earlier this month, it was reported that Lautner would be starring in a movie directed by the Milk filmmaker, based on an unidentified article published in the New Yorker. Lautner is cryptic when pressed on the issue.
“He is a very, very talented director who I’ve always looked up to and I’ve always wanted to work with,” he says.
“It’s very premature, so I really don’t have much so say now other than the fact that I really, really respect and would love the opportunity to work with him.”
As for the report that it’s based on a New Yorker article? “Um... there is a project like that floating around somewhere on this planet,” Lautner says, grinning.