He has been on high alert, so to speak, for the last three years, since the release of the first “Twilight” film propelled him and costars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson into the center of a pop culture firestorm. Adapted from the bestselling supernatural teen romance novels by Stephenie Meyer, the first three films in the franchise have grossed more than $1.8-billion worth of tickets worldwide. As a result, Lautner — along with his famously chiseled abdominal muscles — has become a staple on the bedroom wall of teenage girls.
His days as the werewolf are waning, though, with the first of the saga’s two-part finale, “Breaking Dawn,” opening Nov. 18 and the second installment hitting theaters next year. Now Lautner is looking to life post-”Twilight” and is heading into that future with a specific plan: He wants to be an action star, like Tom Cruise or “Bourne’s” Matt Damon. It’s a career path that, should he manage it, would unquestionably keep Lautner in the bright eye of the spotlight for years. And the success or failure of “Abduction” will be the first indication of whether he can achieve his goal.As Singleton put it: “The whole goal of the movie was all about showing that Taylor can actually carry a picture — that he’s truly a star.”
——— Bill Condon, who directed the final two installments of the “Twilight” series, said he’s noticed that Lautner has a heightened awareness of his public persona. “I recently invited him over to see a cut of the new movie at the place where we were editing, and suddenly it was all, ‘Well, who’s going to be around?’” Condon recounted. “So he gets there, and … out of nowhere, on this studio back lot, there are suddenly, like, six girls. I got a taste of what he was on about. But it does feel like he’s very aware of that all the time — always thinking about how to avoid being mobbed.”Lautner has yet to announce what his next project will be, though he said he’s eager to work with a handful of filmmakers, including Hollywood heavyweight Steven Spielberg and critics’ darling Nicolas Winding Refn, who directed the violent, moody genre piece “Drive.” Lautner is optimistic that his “Twilight” audience will follow him as he embarks on this new path.
“I’m just hoping that the fans can support me doing completely different things outside of the franchise,” he said. “And yeah, I mean, there probably is a lot at stake. It definitely crosses my mind, and I would be lying if I said I feel no pressure. But whenever that thought does come in my mind, I try to push it out as quickly as possible. I try and just stay focused on things that I can control.”
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