Taylor Lautner, best known as werewolf Jacob Black in the Twilight film series, breaks away from the teen franchise to headline his own film, the thriller Abduction, which he also produces.
Due in theaters on Friday, Abduction sees Lautner in the role of a teenager who goes on the run when he discovers his parents aren't really who he thought they were and his entire life as been a lie. While being pursued by the FBI and killer assassins, Nathan must put together the truth of his life.
Lautner, 19, sat down with Reuters to talk about the film, his abs, and why he doesn't have any Twilight memorabilia.
Q: Why you choose Abduction to launch your solo career?
A: I knew it would be physically challenging because of all the stunts. But I knew it was going to be difficult to dive into this character's shoes and relate to the emotions he's feeling during this journey. As soon as Nathan figures out his entire life is a lie, it's tough to relate to.
Q: How so?
A: If I found out my entire life was a lie, if my parents weren't who they said they were, where would I go? Where would I start looking for answers? Who would I trust? The truth is, I have no idea what I would do. Nathan's on the run, trying to stay alive and piece together pieces of the puzzle. It was tough.
Q: What was the key challenge in nailing the character?
A: The biggest thing was just dropping Jacob Black, who I've played for the past three or four years and living in Nathan's shoes for three months.
Q: You produced Abduction through your company Quick Six. What did that entail for you?
A: I attached myself and my production company to the script. There were other producers as well. We sold it to Lions Gate and the development process began. That's when we started talking about the character and the journey we thought he should go on and rewriting the script.
Q: How important was being part of the producing process?
A: It was really fortunate because by the time you start filming, you feel like you already know the character inside and out because you've had a hand in creating him. I had five months before filming to create this character every single day.
Q: Having worked through producing, did it feel different working on 'Breaking Dawn' and being just an actor-for-hire?
A: It made me more familiar with the moviemaking environment and made me respect producers and the director and everybody else much more. But the biggest thing was filming 'Abduction' right before 'Breaking Dawn' because it stretched me a lot as an actor.
Q: In what way?
A: It really challenged me emotionally way more than I've ever been challenged. In 'Breaking Dawn Part One,' Jacob goes to a whole new place. He's very emotional. It was great to do 'Abduction' right before because it got me in that mode, expanding my horizons, getting ready for that performance in Breaking Dawn.'
Q: In the Twilight films, you spend much of your time without a shirt on. In Abduction you have that moment as well. At what point do you say 'no more' to shirtless scenes?
A: In the original script for 'Abduction,' there may have been four or five of those moments. And I cut it down for the only moment that would make sense. It can't be nonsense like, 'Oh it's hot outside so I'm going to take my shirt off.' Or like in 'New Moon,' when Bella gets cut and I'm like, 'Here, let me take my shirt off and help you with that.'
Q: You've wrapped filming the The Twilight Saga series. Breaking Dawn Part One comes out in November. Part Two next year. Were there tears when you finished shooting for good?
A: There were a few, yeah. I would be lying if I said there were none shed by me. And there were definitely others who were shedding as well (laughs).
Q: Did you keep any memorabilia from the Twilight films?
A: I wish. The one thing I would want is my motorcycle from the movie, but I don't know if I'd be able to get it. They did offer me my wig when we wrapped 'New Moon.' I turned it down because I hated that thing. (laughs) I should have taken it because I probably would appreciate it down the road.