Taylor Lautner reprises his role as Jacob Black in the fourth installment of the Twilight saga, “Breaking Dawn, Part I.” Jacob, who is quickly reaching adulthood, must face breaking away from Bella and the love triangle between her, Edward and himself. Lautner has some of the most emotionally powerful scenes of the movie as he goes from a wolf that doesn’t understand his place in the group, to its alpha male, to imprinting mode. He takes his character to a whole new level, while still keeping his unique sense of humor and distaste for all things vampire.
MoviesOnline sat down with Lautner at a press conference this weekend to talk about how his character has evolved over the past four films. He told us what it was like working with director Bill Condon, described the challenges he faced filming the sequences where he goes alpha and imprints on Renesmee, and explained why he was bummed that Edward got the hot vampire and all he got was the baby. He also discussed how Jacob will remain with him long after playing the character, why it was emotional filming the final scene between Jacob and Bella, and what inspired his upcoming project with director Gus Van Sant.
MoviesOnline: Taylor, the music is so important to these films. I want to know what’s on your iPod? Are there any particular tracks on your playlist right now?
Taylor Lautner: This question is so difficult for me. This one actually stresses me out because I am so all over the place with my music taste. It’s ridiculous. It is. I find myself listening to weird things like hard core techno music and then I’ll be listening to mainstream hip hop. But it’s like I am so crazy with my music taste and I’m so …. I mean, I’ll listen to a song. I’ll become obsessed with it and then I’m on to the next one. It’s just very inconsistent.
MoviesOnline: You’re considerably more focused and carry a lot more emotional weight in this film than previously. What was your approach to being Jacob this time around?
Taylor Lautner: I was really excited about this one because Jacob becomes a man in this one and he has to make a lot of decisions. He’s being torn between his two families so it was really tough. It was by far the most challenging one for me. But I didn’t know what to think going into it. As soon as the three of us sat down with Bill (Condon), we just dove right into it. We talked about the characters. I really can say that I couldn’t have done it without Bill’s help. He was absolutely amazing and talking to us all the time. I trusted him completely. It was really special though. I’ve now seen the movie and I’m really happy. Jacob starts here and he ends here. It’s just very exciting to see him in a completely different light than ever before.
MoviesOnline: What about the imprint scene?
Taylor Lautner: Oooh, you had to go there. That was tough because what is imprinting? What do you look like when you imprint? Those were all the questions going through my head. Luckily we had Stephenie (Meyers) on set the entire time, and trust me, I asked her a million times “Okay, explain me one more time what imprinting is on something. And, did you ever envision what Jacob looked like? What is he doing when he’s imprinting?” It was very, very confusing. There was a lot of conversation about that and then it didn’t help that when we actually filmed it, they put an X on a wall and said “This is Renesmee. You’re going to walk in the room. You’re going to look at the X and you’re going to imprint.” And I’m like “Are you kidding me?” It was tough. It really was. But now, after seeing the final version, I’m really happy with it. It’s emotional. They did a really good job with bringing back cool flashbacks and tying in a voiceover. It really is a very special moment, but on the day it was a leap of faith.
MoviesOnline: Were you bummed that after going after Bella all this time, Edward gets a hot vampire bride and you get the baby?
Taylor Lautner: I get the baby? Yeah. I’ve gotten over that by now but originally I remember the first time reading the fourth book. The fourth book came out and I’m like alright, what’s gonna happen? What’s gonna happen? Is Edward going to end up with Bella? Is Jacob going to end up with Bella? I was so confused. It was like wait, he’s trying to get Bella the whole time and he strikes out, so he goes with her child. It really took a second. You have to tread lightly because it’s a very special thing and it’s not romantic at all. We definitely had to film it in a certain way and I think that Bill did an incredible job with that.
MoviesOnline: With all the great things that Twilight has brought you, what’s the thing that you are ready to put behind you and not have to experience anymore?
Taylor Lautner: Not wearing clothes and maybe the climate of where we filmed, and those two together don’t go very well. I love Vancouver but we always have to film when it’s cold and rainy and gross, and when the sun comes out, we’ve got to stop filming. Honestly, I can’t even think of complaints or anything that I wouldn’t want to do because of everything it’s given me. It’s just absolutely unreal and I didn’t see it coming at all. None of us did. My mind doesn’t even go there. I’m just crazy thankful for what this has given us and all the opportunities it’s given us as actors.
MoviesOnline: You guys have become practically a family of your own at this point. Who’s the most unlikely person that you’ve become really close with as a result of Twilight?
Taylor Lautner: That’s a good question. I can definitely say that we all are very, very close. One person that I’m really close with and I’m happy and it could be unexpected because he’s not even in the franchise anymore because I killed him was Edi Gathegi who plays Laurent. He’s an incredible guy. We’re very close. Maybe that’s unexpected because I haven’t filmed a movie with him in a few years and the last time I did I took him out of the franchise and I bit his head off so I apologized to him for that. He’s a great guy but at the same time we have all grown so close. It’s really unbelievable how much we’ve gotten along. I can’t imagine filming this franchise if we didn’t. It would be a complete nightmare.
MoviesOnline: What’s been your craziest fan encounter?
Taylor Lautner: Craziest fan encounter? That is so tough to choose one. I don’t like using the word crazy. I like using the word “passionate.” Kristen and I had a very interesting Brazil experience that I’ve talked about numerous times that just was out of control, but amazing, and there was a lot of passion there. I’ve had a few girls that tattoo a picture of you or your signature to their arm. That blows my mind. Something new happens every single day. It continues to blow my mind. You’d think we’d all get used to it and expect it, but every time something happens, we’re like “Are you kidding me?” We wouldn’t be here today promoting a fourth movie if it wasn’t for that amount of passion. That’s absolutely unreal to me.
MoviesOnline: Can you tell us what you’ve got coming up next?
Next? I don’t know. To be honest, I’ve been promoting two back to back movies and now I’ll have a little break which I’m excited for. It will give me time to catch up on sleep a little bit and also start to think about what will be next.
MoviesOnline: What about Gus Van Sant?
Taylor Lautner: What about him?
MoviesOnline: Wasn’t it announced just this week that you’re going to do a movie with him?
Taylor Lautner: He’s a very, very talented director who I’ve always looked up to and I’ve always wanted to work with. It’s very premature so I really don’t have much to say now other than the fact that I really respect him and would love the opportunity to work with him.
MoviesOnline: Is it true it’s based on a New Yorker article?
Taylor Lautner: There is a project like that floating around somewhere on this planet.
MoviesOnline: Now that you’ve finished playing Jacob, is this the kind of character that will stick with you?
Taylor Lautner: Yeah, absolutely. After playing the same character for five movies, and for years we’ve grown so close to him, you start putting yourself into Jacob and then you start putting Jacob into you. I love Jacob. There are many things that I look up to Jacob for. Jacob’s one of the most loyal people, one of the most persistent people. He has amazing qualities to him that I hope I can learn from him and input into my own life which is kind of cool.
MoviesOnline: How important is it to you, now that you’re so identified with a hugely successful franchise, to find something different? Or, is it just a matter of finding something that keeps your face out there?
Taylor Lautner: No, it’s definitely not a matter of just finding something that keeps your face out there. I want everything to feel special to me and I’m very specific about that. In a way, and we’ve all said this to each other because we all deal with it, it would almost be a compliment to be typecast. That’s our jobs. Our jobs are to make the fans believe that we are these characters. So, in the one sense, we’re trying to do that to ourselves because that’s the goal with these fans. But, at the same time, of course, as actors we want to be able to go off and do different things and challenge ourselves to many different roles. It is very exciting in one sense that it’s coming to an end and we get to go off as actors and experience different things and continue to challenge ourselves and grow. But, at the same time, it’s a bummer because it’s been such a huge part of our lives.
MoviesOnline: One of your most pivotal scenes is when you fight back as a wolf and go alpha and it plays out in the heads of the wolves. Did that frustrate you that you couldn’t put your own physicality to that and how did you rehearse that?
Taylor Lautner: It was weird and awkward because we were standing in an empty room. They actually filmed us. We did a version of that scene and they filmed us just because we said all of the lines. That was the voice that’s used in the movie. At the same time, when we’re filming that scene, if my face does something, they would implement that into the wolves. It’s very, very cool the amount of detail that they pay attention to. So, in a way, I’m bummed because the wolves got a very cool scene that we didn’t, but I’m kind of used to that by now. In a sense, we were able to do the scene. They were able to use specific things that we did with our bodies, with our faces, with our voice, with everything and just implemented them into the wolf.
MoviesOnline: Are you comfortable enough this late in the franchise to say “No, no, Jacob wouldn’t do that” or “He wouldn’t have done it this way”? Did you get into any situations like that where you were arguing for your take on it?
Taylor Lautner: Thankfully no. We are so open with each other that I’m sure any of us would have spoken up and said that, but with Bill, he just made us feel so comfortable to begin with, because again it could’ve been a challenge playing the same character for five movies. We have a different director each time, and then when the new director comes on board, sometimes it can take a second to adjust and get on the same page with them. But Bill was so amazing. He really just made us feel comfortable and open, and yeah, a version of those did happen where it wasn’t an argument, but we would say “I think he would do this” or “I think he would say this” or “I don’t think he would do that.” Bill was very open about everything and then Bill would say the same stuff to us. I’ve respected Bill for a very long time even before I’ve had the opportunity to work with him or found out I was going to be able to work with him so I was able to completely trust him. All of us were, which was very important as well.
MoviesOnline: Do you understand why Jacob would not let go of Bella? Also, can you talk about your very last scene you filmed with Kristen?
Taylor Lautner: I go back and forth with Jacob’s persistence. Most of the time, I can understand it because there’s been things in my life that I have wanted so much, and when you’re told no, you gotta keep going. You gotta go for it. If you’re told no and you just say “Oh, okay” and give up, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. It requires a lot of hard work and a lot of persistence. If you believe in something, if you love something, you gotta go for it no matter what. Most of the time I could relate, but there are moments where I’m just like “Dude, you’ve got to get over it. She’s married now. This is her honeymoon. It’s about time to move on.” So yeah, there are a few of those moments. And then, our last scene was tough, because I knew filming the last scene was going to be tough but it was more emotional for all of us than we expected. And it didn’t help that my very last scene was with Kristen. It was with Rob as well, but he comes in at the end and breaks it up. It’s really the last dance between Bella and Jacob towards the end of the wedding. It’s really Jacob saying goodbye to Bella. She’s off to her honeymoon and he’s realizing that it’s over. Everything I’ve been working for is over and it’s really time for him to move on and realize that. It’s an emotional scene. We’re saying goodbye to each other pretty much and that was the very last scene we filmed together so it didn’t help the situation. I remember when we finished, Kristen and I looked at each other and I don’t think we really had anything to say because the emotion from the scene was overwhelming us and then the emotion of the situation on top of that. It was tough but it was a very special moment, and now when I watch that scene, I have a lot of great memories.
“Breaking Dawn – Part I” opens in theaters on November 18th.