He’s everybody’s favorite teen wolf, emphasis on the word teen.
Even though he’s in the biggest franchise of fall, “The Twilight Saga,” Taylor Lautner still likes to have a quiet little date on a Friday night with “Abduction” co-star and reported girlfriend Lily Collins.
The 19-year-old Lautner knows he won’t strike out.
“A great Friday night is going to the bowling alley with my friends,” he says. “As much as the fans like to follow me, it’s the last place anyone thinks they will find me.”
Finding himself actually is the theme of his new movie.
Lautner stars in the thriller “Abduction” (opening Friday), where he plays a young man who discovers his entire life is a sham after finding his younger picture on a missing persons website. The film, directed by John Singleton, also stars Alfred Molina, Jason Isaacs, Sigourney Weaver and Maria Bello.
Lautner says the topic of a grown missing child intrigued him.
“It’s an interesting topic,” he says. “The film is loosely based on a real high school teen who did find a picture of himself as a missing child. These cases do happen.
“It was tough for me to relate to this character. If I found out today my entire life was a lie and my parents weren’t my real parents, I would be devastated. Who would I trust? Where would I go for answers?”
He had to go into training for the film.
“About three months before we shot in Pittsburgh, I went into boxing training, motorcycle training and wrestling,” he says. “I needed to show up looking like I knew what to do.”
He adds, “The boxing was tough. I had to drop everything I know about martial arts. It’s stiff and strong and looser. I loved the boxing.”
The motorcycle riding was familiar, he says. “I’ve ridden dirt bikes, but this was a real legitimate street racing bike.”
Lautner says doing a thriller was part of his master career plan, noting, “As an actor, my dream is to challenge myself in as many ways as possible. I love to challenge myself physically, mentally and emotionally.”
He also likes going to places he has been time and time again. To that end, Lautner stars in November in the much-awaited next film in the vampire franchise, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1.”
Ask him: Do you think the film might make a few bucks at the box office? “Hopefully,” he says with a laugh. “We’re crossing our fingers.”
In the next part of the saga, his lone werewolf Jacob must deal with the fact that his beloved Bella (Kristen Stewart) is marrying her vampire boyfriend, Edward (Robert Pattinson), and will soon be the mother of his vampire baby. Where does that leave Jacob?
“He’s a little frustrated with the marriage. He’s not exactly buying crystal for the couple,” Lautner says.
Will he stop pursuing Bella now?
“The greatest thing about Jacob is that he’s extremely persistent. He won’t give up. He has a goal when he finds out about the marriage,” Lautner says. “You could also say he’s not supportive of this marriage.”
With just one last film after this fall’s release, Lautner says it’s hard to say goodbye to the Twi-world.
“It’s already over in a way.. We’re done filming both movies, and that leaves me with a weird feeling.
“We still have a good year of publicity,” he says. “It will be difficult when it’s all over for good. Said and done. I’m already missing being on that set being Jacob.”
Lautner never expected this success. He grew up with his parents and his younger sister, Makena, in Grand Rapids, Mich. He spent his childhood studying karate, training with a seven-time world champion, and at age 8 represented the United States in the World Karate Association, where he won three gold medals.
His martial arts teacher convinced him to attend a few acting auditions.
“He told me, ‘What do you have to lose? All you can be told is no thanks,’” Lautner says.
He got rejected for a Burger King commercial, but Lautner refused to quit. Instead, he asked his family to go up and back with him, between Michigan and Los Angeles, for auditions.
It worked. He was cast for guest parts on “The Bernie Mac Show,” “My Wife and Kids” and “What’s New, Scooby-Doo?” Film roles followed in “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D” (2005), “Cheaper By the Dozen 2” (2005) and “Valentine’s Day” (2010).
“It’s important for me to try something different and change it up,” he says of choosing scripts. “This was an amazing thriller and nothing like what I had done in the past.”
Lautner is known for his body and his body of work. Fans always want to know the training schedule that helps him look so buff during his shirtless scenes.
“Trust me, it’s just as hard to maintain muscle as it is to put it on,” he offers. “I spend a lot of time in the gym and I have to eat, but the right stuff. There are days when I just really want a little ice cream, and I might treat myself if I’m not shooting.”
Even though he’s stalked by the paparazzi, Lautner is the last one to moan about fame.
“I’m young. I’m making movies. Why would I complain?” he says. “I’m someone who wanted this life. I went on auditions and was told ‘no’ as a kid. I hoped that I could act in films. I knew I could deal with everything that went with that life.”
Lautner is keeping it all in perspective.
“It’s important for me to maintain some kind of sane life,” he says with a laugh. “I know I can do it. Of course, this life comes with adjustments.
“But I won’t give up bowling. It’s a great night.”
Source: Chicago Sun-Times