24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Taylor Lautner

'Breaking Dawn': Twihards gather to watch Bella and Edward wed

November 18, 2011 | 11:34 am

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in 'Breaking Dawn - Part 1'

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1” grossed $30.3 million from midnight showings early Friday morning according to an estimate from distributor Summit Entertainment, and it appears to be on pace to have the biggest opening yet for any movie in the vampire franchise adapted from author Stephenie Meyer's bestselling novels.

24 Frames checked in with some fans who came out for the movie’s first screenings at the Rave Motion Pictures 18, which showed the vampire flick on five screens at 12:01 a.m., with one additional showing at 12:45 a.m. Many people at the theater were continuing a tradition of seeing each installment at midnight that dated back to the 2009 debut of the second "Twilight" movie, “New Moon.”

“We’ve been doing it for two or three years. You wait all year to watch it, so you might as well come and see it at midnight,” said Alejandra Toribio, 21, of Long Beach.

“I feel like the movie’s always better when you see it before it’s really out,” said Liz Hook, 14, of Westchester, who came to the movie in her pajamas with her twin sister and a friend.

The audience was by far mostly female, but there were a few men on hand to support their friends and some fathers bringing young daughters to watch Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) marry her undead beau Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), despite the protestations of her best friend, werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner).

“I’m not a fan. I’m just here to support my friends. I’m just dragged along,” said Jay Rice, 24, of Gardena.

His friend Yontique McHenry, 21, of Harbor City said to him, “People are gonna see this [article], and they’re gonna beat you up because you’re a fake fan. And you have a seat!”

“Go 'Twilight,' ” he responded, flashing a thumbs-up.

There were the occasional guys who considered themselves true fans, though, including 25-year-old Alexander Solis of South Gate, who donned a “Twilight” sweatshirt and T-shirt for the event. So what’s his answer to the great “Twilight” debate?

“Team Edward. Because he will be marrying Bella!” said Solis, who bought his ticket for the movie a month ago.

Favorite characters varied from Jacob (“I don’t find Edward attractive. He’s too pale,” said Rosario Carrera, 31, of Orange County) to Jasper, a vampire played by Jackson Rathbone.

“I’m Team Jasper. I think he’s funny-looking. In the film he’s all crazy-eyed,” Hook said.

Melissa Nelson, 31, of Torrance, said she was eager to see how the movie depicted Bella's surprise pregnancy -- in the film, she and Edward conceive a child on their honeymoon, though carrying the baby to term threatens Bella's life -- because of how she was introduced to the series. Nelson said she watched the first movie on a portable DVD player while her cousin was in labor.

“I was her birthing partner… While we were waiting for the baby to come, we were like, ‘Might as well watch a movie,’ ” Nelson said. “I’m really interested to see the transformation of [Bella’s] body when she’s pregnant.”

Nelson came to see the movie with other adult friends, but on Saturday she plans to bring young cousins and her 4-year-old son –- who’s Team Jacob and “can recite the movies for you” she said -– after she makes “sure it’s child appropriate” at the midnight screening. “He asked today, ‘Well, when am I going to see ‘Twilight’? Cause you know the new one is out today and we have to go see it,’ ” Nelson explained.

She said her husband scoffs at the series. “He says they’re fake vampires. He’s like, ‘How do they walk around in the daylight?’ ”

As for the franchise's enduring popularity, most fans chalked it up to the sweeping romance of the supernatural tale.

“It’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ for now,” said Dawn Fagenson, 45, of Brentwood, who owns a cardboard cutout of Lautner as Jacob and has traveled to Forks, Wash., where the series takes place.

“It’s a very classic story,” said Jennifer Daskevich, 43, of Westchester. “They’ve done really well with marketing to younger people. We don’t really fit into that category, but they’ve done a really good job of casting young, dynamic people. It’s a great love story.”

A number of moviegoers cited their awe for the “great love story," but there were a few who were more cynical. Liz Hook’s sister, Joans, discovered the series when she was in fifth grade and “was really into them” upon the first read.

“And then after I read them, I was like, ‘Why did I read these? These are really stupid,’ ” she said. “Bella’s so desperate. She needs a man in her life, otherwise she cannot function. So I really hate the point of it, but it’s just fun to go [to the movies] with your friends.”


Honeymoon with 'Twilight' director Bill Condon

'Breaking Dawn': Stewart, Pattinson, Lautner at a crossroads

Movie Projector: 'Breaking Dawn' to suck life out of 'Happy Feet'

–- Emily Rome

Photo: Robert Pattinson, left, and Kristen Stewart in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1." Credit: Andrew Cooper / Summit Entertainment

Is Taylor Lautner doomed not to go beyond 'Twilight'?

September 30, 2011 |  5:59 pm

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart's big-budget ambitions are debatable, but there's little doubt that the third leg in the "Twilight" tripod, Taylor Lautner, harbors them in a big way. He's been saying as much all over town, dropping Tom Cruise missiles to anyone who'll listen.  Meanwhile, John Singleton, the director of Lautner's new film, "Abduction," says that the "goal" of their collaboration is to show "that Taylor can actually carry a picture — that he's truly a star."

But the box-office performance of "Abduction," the 19-year-old's first role of any substance outside his trademark vampire franchise, suggests otherwise. In the week since it opened, the action-thriller has tallied only about $13.5 million -- far from picture-carrying numbers.

How do those figures stack up to Lautner's on-screen counterpoint? Pattinson's "Remember Me" took in nearly $11 million over the same number of days ... and was regarded as proof that hunger for the actor in non-vampiric parts runs about as deep as a Cullen's appetite in a vegan market.

What's more, in Lautner's case, he was neither going smaller nor more dramatic, as Pattinson was in "Remember Me," robbing him of what would have been a good explanation for the underwhelming box office. In fact, Lautner was doing In "Abduction" pretty much what he's been doing as Jacob Black in "Twilight": playing a teenager with mostly good impulses trying to vanquish bad guys.  If he can't carry this film, what can he carry?

To be fair to the young actor, plenty of his more established elders have the same trouble these days. Watch Johnny Depp struggle outside "Pirates of the Caribbean," or Lautner's idol, Tom Cruise, in a movie not named "Mission: Impossible."

Somehow this feels different, though. When Cruise was an up-and-comer, he was able to turn otherwise solid but nondescript films into sensations.  (Picture "Top Gun" without him.) That's not exactly the case here. "Twilight" is a movie that very well would have been a hit without Lautner; in fact, it arguably helped him as much as he helped it, providing him with ample star power. He's yet to demonstrate he can do much with it.


Taylor Lautner, post-'Twilight,' stars in 'Abduction'

'Moneyball' is a hit, but Lion is box-office king

Taylor Lautner's acting template: Tom Cruise?

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Taylor Lautner in "Abduction." Credit: Lionsgate

Box office: 'Lion King' No. 1 again, tops Pitt, Lautner [video]

September 26, 2011 |  2:32 pm

Brad Pitt's new film Moneyball was No 2 at the box office this weekend

Hollywood was surprised when a 3-D version of "The Lion King" took the top spot at the box office last weekend. But few distribution executives predicted the movie would be No. 1 again this weekend with $22.1 million, beating out four new and diverse movies that debuted in theaters.

The 17-year-old animated classic beat out "Moneyball," a critical darling that still got off to a decent start with around $20 million. The baseball drama starring Brad Pitt has earned the actor some of the best reviews of his career, and Sony -- the studio behind the film -- is confident that positive word of mouth will make it successful in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Taylor Lautner had his debut as an action star in "Abduction," which grossed only a so-so $11 million. What does this say about his future as a leading man on the big screen? Check out this week's box-office video report for thoughts on the teen hunk and Hollywood's most recent hits and flops.


'Moneyball' is a hit, but 'Lion' is box-office king

'Lion King': Is moviegoing changing before our eyes?

Box office: 'Lion King' rules, Sarah Jessica Parker flops [Video]

--Amy Kaufman


Photo: Brad Pitt stars in "Moneyball." Credit: Sony

The week in film: 'Moneyball,' Oscars and Taylor Lautner [video]

September 23, 2011 |  3:01 pm


Whether it's all the heavy lifting Brad Pitt has been required to do in his efforts to promote the inside-baseball movie "Moneyball" or Taylor Lautner stepping out as a leading man in the actioner "Abduction," actors have been on the hook this week. And so has the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The organization is trying yet again to curtail the excesses of Oscar campaigning on the dawn of a new season.

In their first Hollywood week in review video, Los Angeles Times reporters Nicole Sperling and Steven Zeitchik explore the latest machinations of the movie business.


Academy tightens reins on Oscar race

Sony pitches Brad Pitt in "Moneyball" marketing campaign

Taylor Lautner, post "Twilight," stars in "Abduction" for John Singleton

— Nicole Sperling

Photo: Brad Pitt arrives at the Oakland premiere of "Moneyball." Credit: Ben Margot / Associated Press.

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."


A new dawn for Taylor Lautner

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

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

-- Amy Kaufman


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.”


A new dawn for Taylor Lautner

2011 Movie Preview: 'Abduction'

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

--Amy Kaufman


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

'Twilight' stars grow up, show skin in 'Breaking Dawn' trailer

September 13, 2011 |  5:57 pm

A new trailer for the first Breaking Dawn film was released Tuesday

When sultry photos from the upcoming "Twilight" film leaked onto the Internet earlier this year, fans of the franchise flew into a tizzy. There were Bella and Edward, lying in bed topless in what appeared to be a post-coital embrace.

Any Twihard who was tantalized by said images -- more of which were officially released by Summit Entertainment last month -- might want to take a deep breath. Because on Tuesday, a new trailer for November's "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" hit the Web, and it's a little racy.

Fans of Stephenie Meyer's beloved book series, of course, know that the characters played by Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson wed in "Breaking Dawn" and quickly consummate the marriage during their honeymoon. That leads to trouble for Bella, who becomes pregnant with Edward's baby -- a sort of vampire-human hybrid that threatens its mother's health.

In an interview with The Times last year just before production of the film began, Stewart warned filmgoers that the prosthetic belly she wears in the first part of "Breaking Dawn" is "immense." "It gets so massive at some point that it actually looks inhuman. Like it’s hurting her. There are striations of bruises," the actress said.

In the trailer, posted below, we finally get a glimpse of pregnant Bella -- and indeed, she looks unwell. As her stomach morphs and swells, Bella grows gradually more pallid until she lets out a guttural scream during a labor scene, where the preview ends.

But the trailer doesn't skimp on the skin. Edward is seen bedding Bella and the pair later kiss under a waterfall; Taylor Lautner, who plays Jacob, is -- not surprisingly --  distraught and once again shirtless.

Lautner, meanwhile, is busy readying himself for the release of his first major non-"Twilight" film, the action flick "Abduction." The film, out Sept. 23, marks the young star's hopeful transition to a more grown-up acting career.

Judging by the new "Breaking Dawn" trailer, it appears the "Twilight" stars are already tackling progressively more adult subject matter just fine.


Photos: 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn'

Kristen Stewart: Motherhood confounds me

'Breaking Dawn’ photos begin a Twihard countdown

 -- Amy Kaufman


Photo: Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart star in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1." Credit: Summit Entertainment

Celebs, but no Gervais, at Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. luncheon

August 4, 2011 |  3:34 pm

HFPA Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Jessica Chastain, Lea Michele, Jim Sturgess, Elisabeth Moss and Taylor Lautner were among the actors and actresses who turned up Thursday for the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.'s annual luncheon, where the group that gives out the Golden Globes installs new officers and hands out grants to charity.

The HFPA awarded $1.5 million in grants to groups including the American Cinematheque, the American Film Institute, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Chapman University, UCLA, the Film Foundation and the Ghetto Film School. The funds come from the proceeds the HFPA earns from the Globes telecast.

DiCaprio said that among the projects funded by this year's grants will be the restoration of three films, including "Death of a Salesman."

Hfpa-luncheon-gallery-2011 Various celebrities came to the stage as the awards were announced. At one point, Wahlberg, 40, and  DiCaprio, 36, remarked a bit wistfully that the 19-year-old Lautner, who was seated at their table, was better looking and in better shape than they were.

Well, Wahlberg quipped, eliciting laughs from the audience: " 'Boogie Nights' and 'Titanic' were a long time ago."

The one person who wasn't invited was Ricky Gervais, who hosted the past two Golden Globe telecasts. Gervais' performance this year may have roiled the HFPA -- he made acerbic comments about the integrity of the organization, as well as Scientology and other sensitive topics -- but he was nominated for an Emmy for his performance nonetheless. Members of the HFPA are apparently still miffed at Gervais; at Thursday's lunch, several members refused to even discuss him.


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-- Susan King

Photo: Leonardo DiCaprio speaks at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's (HFPA) Annual Installation Luncheon in Beverly Hills. Credit: Fred Prouser / Reuters

Taylor Lautner's acting template: Tom Cruise?

January 3, 2011 |  6:49 pm

Taylor Lautner is currently shooting the final two films in the franchise that made him the most famous teen werewolf since Michael J. Fox put on a basketball uniform.

But despite no shortage of jokes about Lautner's abs and his lines as Jacob Black, the "Twilight" star has a more ambitious career, one filled with meaty and dramatic roles, on his mind.

To achieve that, he's looking at someone else who made the jump from teen pin-up to serious actor: Tom Cruise.

In 2011, Lautner will appear in his first major lead role with "Abduction," a film that, though a commercial thriller, gave the 18-year-old a chance to work with an auteur director, John Singleton of "Boyz N the Hood" fame.

Lautner already had admired Cruise, and Singleton coached him on how to follow in the A-lister's path (professionally). "I told him to watch the transition from 'Top Gun' to 'Rain Man' to 'Born on the Fourth of July,' "  Singleton told 24 Frames of his sessions with Lautner. "To think about what he did as a young man and what he did later on. And then think about what you want to do."

Hollywood is rife with fresh faces who never become anything more. That's the far more common route, in fact. Can Lautner take the other path?

" 'Twilight' is a great stepping stone for his career. It's like, 'Wow, he's an icon already,' " Singleton said. "But now that you have this stature, it's a question of what you do with it. And that's what he's been working hard on." (Singleton is no stranger to developing performers famous for less actorly pursuits, having done that for Tupac Shakur in 1993's "Poetic Justice.")

For "Abduction,"  Singleton had Lautner watch "Minority Report" (as well as "The Fugitive") to show the actor the ways one can bring nuance to a traditional man-on-the-run part. Even though "Abduction" is a commercial thriller (premise: a teenager goes on the lam when he finds out the people he thought were his parents are something else entirely), that doesn't mean that Lautner didn't or couldn't flash chops, Singleton said.

"I think when people see this film they'll see a more mature Taylor," Singleton said of the movie he recently finished shooting that's set for release next fall. "He's doing this [thing] he's never done before. He's funny and charismatic. He has room to breathe that he's never had before."

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Taylor Lautner at GQ's Men of the Year party. Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP


Seven movie storylines to watch in 2011

LAFF 2010: Dispatches from the land of Rob Pattinson and the 'Twilight: Eclipse' premiere

June 24, 2010 | 10:45 pm

Downtown Los Angeles saw some of the same fan pandemonium tonight as it did last Thursday -- only there wasn't a Lakers player in sight. (Well, except for Ron Artest.)

He and hundreds of screaming fans turned out to see the world premiere of "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" and greet the cast of the film, the fans shouting an uncomplicated "Rob! Rob! Rob!" as they waited for Rob Pattinson -- Edward Cullen, of course, in the franchise -- to make his way to the theater.

Indeed, all of the vamps and werewolves (including Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Kellan Lutz, Ashley Greene and almost everyone else from the cast) walked the red carpet as the electric (read: camping-out-for-days) fans stood by at the premiere that's playing as part of -- or is it adjacent to? -- the Los Angeles Film Festival. The fans wore their hearts on their sleeves, as well as on their shirts, caps and posters (sample messages: "I want to play 'Pat the Pattinson,' " "My heart goes nutz for Lutz" and the cut-to-the-chase "Taylor take off your shirt now!"). Meanwhile, a host of celebs walked the red carpet, including Artest, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Love Hewitt and various "Dancing With the Stars" alumni.

It wasn't exactly the kind of fanfare typical of the films screened at the festival (which is sponsored by the Los Angeles Times). The very fact of the premiere, indeed, has raised some questions. Though the screening of the Summit film brings in scores of celebrities and press attention, it also runs the risk of alienating the festival's core clientele of indie-film fans.

The Twi-hards at the premiere, however, weren't paying much mind to that -- they were too busy juggling markers, books and cameras. And as Pattinson made his way down the carpet in a sleek maroon suit, they jumped and screamed with excitement -- something that Pattinson acknowledged makes him a bit anxious.

"It's still such a struggle in the car on the way here," Pattinson confessed to us on the red carpet. "I'm like, 'I can't breathe. I can't breathe.' "

-- Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in the "Twilight" franchise. Credit: Summit Entertainment [For the Record: An earlier version of this caption incorrectly identified Robert Pattinson as Taylor Lautner.]


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