For a while, there were rumours the Twilight character of Jacob Black would be recast for New Moon, but actor Taylor Lautner is back in the role. It’s a juicier one this time, with more for the actor to get his teeth into. Not only does his relationship with Bella — played by Kristen Stewart — develop, but Lautner also went through an impressive physical transformation.
Q. How is it back on set?
A. It’s good. I’m really excited to be back with the whole team again and our new director, Chris Weitz. It’s been a lot of fun so far and the movie’s looking great, so I couldn’t ask for more.
Q. And you have a huge role this time…
A. It’s a little bit bigger, yeah! It’s exciting because I’m excited to bring alive the new Jacob Black for the fans.
Q. You look like an '80s rock star with your long hair!
A. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize myself. It’s an actual wig. It’s glued to my head in the front and it gets itchy sometimes. You can see the lace if you look close, but it doesn’t come across on camera. It gives me a totally different look. I don’t even look like myself. But it’s fun.
Q. The biggest change is in your body though. You gained 30 pounds of muscle for this role, is that right?
A. I did, yeah. When I was filming Twilight, I knew where my character was going in the rest of the series, so obviously I knew I had some work ahead of me! So as soon as I stopped filming Twilight, I got back home, hit the gym and worked very, very hard, and here I am filming New Moon, 30 pounds heavier.
Q. And doing your own stunts.
A. So far. Let’s not jinx it, but basically you get an evaluation at the beginning of filming. They took me to a gymnasium to see what I could do. They put me on some dirt bikes to see how well I can do. I think they’re just figuring out how much they’re actually going to allow me to do. So far, I’ve been able to do everything, so I’m hoping that doesn’t change too much, 'cause the stunts are a lot of fun.
Q. Did you have a trainer?
A. Yes, I did have a trainer that I used the whole time and I owe him a lot of thanks!
Q. How is it working with Chris Weitz?
A. Chris is amazing. He’s extremely talented and he’s done a lot of amazing work. Everything is looking fantastic so far for this and I know it’s gong to continue to. But at the same time, the set is so calm and relaxed and we’re just having a really great time. Sometimes you wonder, “How is he doing this? How is he creating this beautiful work and we’re just all having a blast doing it?” Chris has definitely taken control and he’s a blast to be around.
Q. What is the biggest challenge this time around?
A. It’s actually the same biggest challenge we had for the first one and it’s the weather. It’s really funny because I think the Twilight saga is the only movies where we have to stop filming when the sun comes out. So whenever it’s sunny, we have to either go to an interior shot or just stop filming.
Q. Let’s get to your character, Jacob. He is actually in love with Bella…
A. Jacob’s love for Bella is really intense. He will always be there for Bella, no matter what. Even if she’s with another guy… or a vampire!
Q. How did you prepare for your role?
A. I did a lot of study for the first film. Before I even started filming Twilight, I studied up on all of the Quileute tribes and legends and myths and everything about them. And when got up to Portland, Ore. to film, I was able to meet with about ten Quileute tribal members. I got to talk to them and what I really learned is that they’re not much different than me, and that was very unexpected.
Q. Do you ever discuss Jacob with Stephenie Meyer?
A. It’s really cool because she comes up here every once in a while for her favourite scenes. At the beginning of filming, she gives a list of her favourite scenes that she wants to be up here for. You've got the best person in the world to ask for advice. So if you have a question, you can just walk on over and ask her.
Q. What’s your most exciting scene in New Moon?
A. It’s so hard to choose. Like I said, I really enjoy the stunts so I had a lot of fun doing the dirt bike sequences. I got to hop on the bike and go really fast and come to a skidding stop. It’s really cool. And I also like a lot of the more serious scenes, the pivotal scenes in the movie, like Jacob and Bella’s breakup scene, which is the first time Bella sees Jacob after he has transformed into a wolf. And it’s really emotional. I felt bad for Jacob just reading the books, but now that I’m actually living this character, I feel so bad for the guy! It’s really sad.
Q. Is Jacob an outsider like Edward?
A. Yeah, I’d say a little bit. Jacob is a really interesting character because he definitely feels like an outsider because he doesn’t go to the same school as everybody else, he’s on the reservation. But Bella brings him out of that. Also, Jacob brings Bella out of this huge depression she’s in. She wants to kill herself, she’s so sad. Jacob is her sun. He brings her alive, out of this deep h***.
Q. Jacob likes Bella. Who kind of girl does Taylor like?
A. Somebody who can be themselves. Somebody who can just open up and be free and not try to be somebody different.
Q. Have you, Kristen and Rob become close?
A. Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. We all get along really well and I think definitely our chemistry offscreen is going to be transferred onscreen.
Q. What is a typical day on the set for you?
A. I have very early wake-up calls. I’m usually waking up at 4:30 or 5, and we don’t usually finish until about 5 or 6 at night. But we usually go out after, just explore the restaurants in town. It’s been a lot of fun so far.
Q. What do you do when you’re not on set?
A. Well, I’ve been so busy with the Twilight saga within the past year. It’s been crazy, but it’s been a lot of fun. We did tons of publicity. I got to travel to so many places in the world. I got to go to Australia, Tokyo… I got to go all over the place. So it’s been a lot of fun. It’s definitely keeping me busy though.
Q. Are you ready to change your life and not be able to walk in the street incognito?
A. I think so! I’m not sure yet!
Q. What would you be doing if you weren’t an actor?
A. I’d probably still be playing sports. I did football and baseball my whole life. I definitely like writing too and maybe I’d be trying to be getting in the directing field, but I’m glad that I’m an actor.
Q. Who are your favourite actors?
A. I really like Denzel Washington, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.
Q. What about actresses?
A. It changed a lot. It used to be Jessica Alba for the longest time, and I’m kind of transferring to Megan Fox.
Q. All the hot babes!
A. Yeah, yeah, yeah! (Laughs)
Q. What kind of movies do you watch?
A. I’ll see a wide variety, but usually my favourites are action movies. I really like action drama movies. I like The Dark Knight, Iron Man, I like the Bourne series.
Q. Are you eventually looking for a role in an action movie?
A. Yeah, some day. I’d love to.
Q. Aren’t you involved in some sort of hip-hop performance art show?
A. No! That’s on some of my biographies. I need to get that off because I did it when I was 10 years old and I did it for about six months and I was done with it. And I can’t dance at all, so I need to clear that up!
More New Moon
Pick up tomorrow’s issue of Metro or check this website again tomorrow (Wednesday) for an interview with New Moon director Chris Weitz.