24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Abduction

Twilight's Taylor Lautner: I'm not as confident as I seem

September 20, 2011 |  7:06 pm

Taylor Lautner says Breaking Dawn Part 1 was his most challenging film to date

With a toothy grin permanently planted on his face, Taylor Lautner comes across as one of young Hollywood’s most confident actors. His expression can also look forced, as though he's trying hard to prove how gracious he is.

But Lautner insists he’s not nearly as stiff as he can sometimes seem.

"I probably do a good job of hiding it -- but I’m definitely pretty sensitive," he told 24 Frames. "I’m not a huge crier. I can’t think of the last time I cried. But I definitely am very sensitive. Like, I don’t like disappointing or hurting other people. And watching movies -- I can’t say I didn’t cry during ‘The Notebook.’"

On Friday, Lautner will seek to show a more vulnerable side when he opens the action movie "Abduction." It's no Nicholas Sparks tearjerker, but there is a more dramatic storyline about a young man seeking a connection with his father.

It's the actor's first major role in a film outside of Stephenie Meyer's teen series, and it features Lautner in nearly every frame. The 19-year-old plays Nathan, a high school student forced to go on the run after realizing his true identity has been concealed from him since he was a baby.

The role required Lautner to put in some intense physical preparation, but he says it also stretched his acting ability.

"I definitely felt more comfortable and confident as an actor after 'Abduction,' because this movie took me to places that I'd never been as an actor before," he said in a recent interview. "Like, this character shows a lot of emotion. More emotion than Jacob has shown yet."

Lautner was referring, of course, to his character in the "Twilight" films, Jacob Black, the teenager-turned-werewolf involved in a love triangle with a vampire. He and costars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson have already wrapped filming on the final two movies: the first installment, "Breaking Dawn -- Part 1," hits theaters in November, and "Part 2" will be released a year later.

In the upcoming installment, Jacob must come to terms with the marriage between his love interest, Bella Swan, and the vampire Edward Cullen. Lautner said that the emotional turn was the most challenging he's had thus far on the big-screen -- though the work he had done on "Abduction" helped.

"For 'Abduction,' it was the first time I was ever able to cry and let loose emotionally. And then I did 'Breaking Dawn 1' after that, so it was really a great transition," he recalled. "When we filmed 'Breaking Dawn,' I was like, 'All right, I can do this. I'm just gonna go there.' And I did. I'm really proud of it."

Lautner still has another year of press to do for the "Twilight" films, but admits that when that comes to a close, it'll likely "be very strange. It already is."

Lautner can seem like the most self-assured of the "Twilight" bunch -- smiling and waving to fans on the promotional circuit -- while co-stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart can appear more uncomfortable in the limelight.

"Everybody handles it in a different way," he said of the attention. Plus, he insists, he's not always the laid-back one. In 2010, when he and Stewart presented an Oscar at that year's Academy Awards, it was his costar who had to calm a jittery Lautner down.

"For Kristen, when she gets nervous, she gets shy and quiet -- and I find it very cute. And then I think I over-exaggerate with smiling and laughing," he said. "The only thing I can remember about presenting at the Oscars is we were up on the stage, and I could literally feel my pulse, like, through my neck. And Kristen was just like, 'It's gonna be OK, just breathe.'

"I think it was just the fact that I was up there on this stage, talking to people that I've looked up to my entire life. I'm talking and presenting something and then, out of the corner of my eye, there's Leo [DiCaprio] and then there's George Clooney. It was tough for me to handle the situation."

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'Abduction': Taylor Lautner gets a leading-man premiere [Video]

-- Amy Kaufman

twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Taylor Lautner will be seen in "Abduction" and "Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" this fall. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times


John Singleton: 'Abduction' will 'definitely' have a sequel

September 16, 2011 | 11:05 am

John Singleton will likely direct a sequel to Abduction
"Abduction" -- the film that marks Taylor Lautner's official bid to become an action star -- doesn't hit theaters until next Friday, Sept. 23. But director John Singleton says that no matter how the movie fares at the box office in the coming weeks, a sequel to the action flick is already a done deal.

When asked if there would be another installment of "Abduction," Singleton replied enthusiastically: "Definitely."

"We've been talking about it while we're making the movie. Of course, I'm gonna direct it," he grinned, speaking from the premiere of the film in Hollywood Thursday night. (You can check out a video interview with Singleton from the event below.)

And if the movie tanks at the multiplex? "I don't think we have to worry about that," he said. "It's happening."

"Abduction," in which Lautner stars as a high schooler who discovers his identity is different than his parents led him to believe, is the first film Singleton has directed in six years. The filmmaker, whose biggest successes include "Boyz N the Hood" and "Shaft," said he's spent his time off "sailing and raising kids." 

He was lured back into the spotlight by "Abduction," he said, because he was intrigued by the possibility of how he could help shape an emerging star like Lautner. (His daughters, avid fans of the "Twilight" series, also told him they'd kill him if he passed on the opportunity.)

 "I’m a competitive guy. I’ve worked with a lot of new talent, and I wanted to show what I could do with Taylor,” Singleton told us in an interview for a profile of Lautner, which appears in Sunday’s L.A. Times. “I wanted to show there’s a certain edge to him. It’s not just about how he looks. It’s about him being able to convey emotions in a character and be funny and be very physical in the action scenes. That’s what truly makes a star.”

RELATED:

A new dawn for Taylor Lautner

2011 Movie Preview: 'Abduction'

20 years later, 'Boyz N the Hood' still powerful

--Amy Kaufman

twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Taylor Lautner, left, with director John Singleton at the premiere of "Abduction." Credit: Christopher Polk / Getty Images


Eye popper du jour: John Singleton will be Taylor Lautner's next director

March 25, 2010 | 12:43 pm

Boys
We reported in early March that John Singleton was the lead candidate to direct "Abduction," the Taylor Lautner movie from Lionsgate about a teenager who realizes his parents may not actually be his parents -- and then gets caught up in a web of government agents, espionage and other intrigue.

Now it's official. The director of the iconic "Boyz n the Hood" and producer on edgy urban movies such as "Hustle & Flow" will be the man who next directs the teen pinup. Sources confirmed the hire; Lionsgate could not immediately be reached for comment.

Lionsgate aims to shoot "Abduction" this summer, ahead of Lautner's fall responsibilities for "Breaking Dawn." Based on an original script from Shawn Christensen, the film has a thriller conceit, which is not necessarily what one thinks of when one thinks of John Singleton. But hey, directors need to work. And many filmmakers these days seem to be taking on some pretty unlikely material. If Stephen Daldry and Gus Van Sant could be considered for a "Twilight" movie, anything is possible.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: "Boyz n the Hood." Credit: Columbia Pictures


On 'Abduction,' Taylor Lautner could be a boy in the hood

March 9, 2010 |  6:35 pm

EXCLUSIVE: How much clout does Taylor Lautner have right now? So much clout that even the filmmaker behind the urban classic "Boyz 'n the Hood" may end up working with him.

Laut Sources say that John Singleton, the Oscar-nominated writer and director behind that 1991 hit, is in the lead position to grab the director job on "Abduction," a story about a teen disconnected from his parents that evolves into a "Bourne"-like man-on-the-run thriller. Singleton, also a producer on "Hustle & Flow," could bring -- how to put this? -- an edgy flair that one wouldn't necessarily expect from a Lautner vehicle.

Singleton tops a list that also includes Gary Fleder, the director of the cult hit "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead" and most recently the filmmaker behind the race-tinged sports drama "The Express." There's also a veteran (and, frankly, not always critically well-regarded) Hollywood hand in the mix; he's further back in the race, so we'll refrain from mentioning him unless he picks up steam.

"Abduction" was recently bought for nearly $1 million by Lionsgate in a rare sale of a spec script (i.e. a script that was written without any upfront studio commitment or commission) from newcomer Shawn Christensen. The story, say people familiar with the project, involves a teenager who comes across his baby picture in a missing-persons database and sets out on a quest to find the truth; government agents, shadowy figures and other thriller staples are involved.

Lautner, who's lately booked more gigs than the Rolling Stones, has a rare ability to get a studio to pay attention -- any project with his name on it moves forward a lot faster than it otherwise would. He's got momentum for "Stretch Armstrong" at Universal, with a director race heating up on that movie (Rob Letterman is in the lead spot), and "Abduction" could shoot as early as this summer.

--Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart in "New Moon." Credit: Summit Entertainment


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