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article imageTaylor Lautner buffs up for New Moon Special

By Earl Dittman     Nov 19, 2009 in Entertainment
Instead of losing his role of Jacob in New Moon to another actor, Lautner focused on adding bulk to his physique and clawing inside his own werewolf psyche. Additionally, he addresses rumors about his romantic relationship with the other Taylor...Swift.
Twelve months ago, shortly after Twilight, the cinematic adaptation of novelist Stephanie Meyer’s bestselling series about the romantic triangle between Bella (Kristen Stewart), a lovelorn female mortal, Edward (Robert Pattinson), a century-old vampire and her close, American-Indian childhood friend, Jacob (Taylor Lautner), became a box office blockbuster (raking in $385 million), the greenlight was given by the film's studio to start work on a sequel based on the second book of the series, New Moon. Although Twilight had turned the three lead actors into instant household names and international overnight sensations, rumors begin circulating around Hollywood that Taylor Lautner might not be asked back to continue on with his key role of Jacob.
In the New Moon novel, retitled The Twilight Saga: New Moon for the big screen, it is revealed that Jacob is becoming a werewolf as he begins his journey into manhood. While it was obvious Lautner possessed the acting chops needed to bring the emotional intensity necessary for Jacob’s transformation into a massive, muscular lycan in New Moon (his early acting gigs ranged from lead roles in Shark Boy and Lava Girl to a recurring part in the short-lived Christian Slater series My Own Worst Enemy), producers where apparently worried the lanky, good-looking Lautner wouldn’t be able to physically bulk-up in time to play the über-buff Jacob. Lautner's chances to play Jacob began looking even more dim when director Hardwicke (who allegedly promised Taylor he had the role) was replaced with filmmaker Chris Weitz (Golden Compass).
But, after only a few weeks in the gym, working -out night after night, Lautner began to pack on the muscles and bulk at a rapid pace, convincing New Moon producers he would be hunky enough by the time the cameras started rolling. “I knew if I put my mind to it, I could make it happen,” 17-year-old Lautner explains. “It took work, but I loved the role and I couldn’t see anyone else playing Jacob.”
Taylor Lautner in The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stweart in 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon'
For all intents and purposes, the groundbreaking and epic New Moon is Lautner and Stewart’s movie. It focuses on Bella and Jacob’s burgeoning romance while Edward has left Bella behind in order to keep her safe from Victoria and Laurent, the revenge-seeking vampires out to destroy Edward and his family, the Cullens. Shirtless a great deal of the time — when he is not turning into a werewolf or running with members of The Wolf Pack — Lautner explains how he was able to get into shape and maintain his muscular physique. Speaking during a Los Angeles press outing, Lautner also talks about the already filmed third Twilight film, Eclipse, and his romantic role in Valentine’s Day, his upcoming movie with pop star Taylor Swift. With tabloid headlines claiming Lautner is seriously dating Swift, Lautner laughs when asked if Swift has written a song for him, explains why he wanted to do the star-studded Valentine's Day and leaves it up to members of the media to decide if he and Swift are really in a romantic relationship.
Did it ever feel like you were really in danger of not getting the role of Jacob in New Moon, and were you on steroids for those thirty pounds you gained? “Definitely not, on your second question. (laughs) And honestly, I knew where my character went in New Moon and that’s all I tried to stay focused on. I couldn’t control things outside. I couldn’t control the media. But I could control what I was doing to portray Jacob Black correctly. So that’s what I stayed focused on the whole entire time.”
Did that mean heading to the gym immediately and quickly gaining thirty pounds? “Absolutely. Jacob transforms a lot in New Moon, not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well. So it was a matter of getting to the gym and eating the right food and a lot of it. But also reading and studying the book and the character over and over and over again so I could have his character down as well because he changes in many, many different ways.”
Taylor & Kristen Stewart in New Moon
Taylor & Kristen Stewart in New Moon
What were some of those changes? “When he transforms, basically my job was to continue what I started in Twilight, which was this extremely happy, friendly, outgoing guy, best friends with Bella. I had to continue that for the first half of the film, but as soon as I transform, I snap and I become a completely different person. I’m dealing with my issues and it’s really hard for me.”
You have a lot of opportunities in New Moon to show off your new buff physique. Everyone’s favorite scene seems to be when you take your tee shirt off… “And wipe her (Bella’s) blood?” (laughs)
Can you talk a little about that scene and any others like it? (Laughs) “I start laughing so hard every time I see that scene. ‘You’re bleeding? OK, let me fix it.’ It’s so embarrassing. Yeah. I mean, here’s the thing — there’s a reason that he’s not wearing clothes all the time. One, when he transforms, all his clothes get shredded. He can’t help it. And when he goes into the woods to get something to put on so he’s not naked, it’s just a ripped pair of jean shorts. He’s also hot. He’s 108 degrees. So that’s another reason. The thing is, I love this character, I love this story, and putting on the weight and not wearing much clothing was required by the role. A year from now, if I love a story and I love a character that requires me to lose forty pounds, I’m ready to do it.”
Taylor Lautner in The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Taylor Lautner in The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Specifically, to gain the muscle and weight, what did you eat and how did you exercise? What was the rundown of a typical work-out day for you? “Oh boy. You’re putting the pressure on me now. (laughs) I was in the gym about five days a week, because it’s important to get your recovery time and not overworking yourself, because if you’re overworking yourself — I was trying to put on weight, and if I was in the gym too much, I’d be burning the calories I’m trying to take in. The most important thing was the eating side. Everybody thinks it was the actual getting in the gym. That was easy — I was motivated. So getting in the gym was easy for me. But the eating was pretty hard. It was just eating a lot. I found out that I had to consume at least 3,200 calories a day just to maintain. And I’m not trying to maintain, I’m trying to gain. So I had to eat more than that, and putting something in your mouth every two hours. And I’m busy. I’m downtown L.A., I’m from meeting to meeting. There’s not time for me to be eating. So I literally would have to carry a little baggie of beef patties, raw almonds, sweet potatoes — so it’s not like every two hours I’m eating ice cream. It was difficult.”
Did you have a personal trainer? “I do. I definitely had one that helped me out.”
What is the strangest thing that has ever been written about you? “Honestly, I try to stay away from what has been written about me because if you let that stuff get to you and it’s not true, it can drive you crazy. One thing that I have heard recently, which is not true, I definitely didn’t say it, I was quoted as saying I will never take my shirt off for a movie again. I didn’t say that. If I have to, if the character requires it, I will. Who knows, in ten years, I might do that. And like I said earlier, if a character requires me to lose forty pounds, I’ll do it. It’s just what the character requires. So that was interesting to see.”
The Wolf Pack in New Moon
The Wolf Pack in New Moon
Your costars in The Wolf Pack were talking about getting the Wolf Pack tattoo, are you in? “I don’t know? I’ll have to think about that. I’ll have to discuss it with my pack.”
You’re filming Valantine’s Day with Taylor Swift. Has she written a song about you? Do you want her to write one for you? (Laughs) “That’s a scary thing. I don’t know if she has. I have no idea. That movie was a lot of fun and it comes out pretty soon after New Moon does. It’s going to be fun. There were a lot of fantastic actors in it. I got to work with legendary director Gary Marshall and Taylor was great as well so I’m excited for everyone to see that.”
Was it hard to squeeze it into your schedule? “It was hard, yeah. We had a very short break between New Moon and Eclipse, and I knew that I wanted to be part of this film somehow, just to work with Gary and the entire cast so I was able to squeeze a short thing in, quickly.”
What about you and Taylor Swift?“What about us?”
Is the reported romance between the two of you a publicity stunt because Valentine’s Day is coming out or are you really dating? “The very funny thing is that all of you in the media have seen every single move I make, so I guess I can leave it up to you to decide.”
When would it help in your real life to turn into a werewolf? “Oh boy. I don’t know? I guess when you’re younger and you’re in school and you’re being picked on by some bullies, get in a fight with your little sister -- I don’t know, that’s a good question. I don’t think that it would be a good situation. It could get very, very ugly.”
The Twilight Saga: New Moon opens nationwide on Friday, November 20, 2009.
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