Apparently if you are a Hollywood executive looking jumpstart a franchise based on a toy line, Twilight hunk Taylor Lautner is your go-to guy. After the immense success of New Moon ($704 million worldwide), Lautner has capitalized on the exposure by signing on to a number of high profile projects including Paramount’s Max Steel, based on the Mattel action figure. Now Universal has announced (via press release) that Lautner will represent malleable plaything Stretch Armstrong on the big screen.
More after the jump:
As you may have surmised from his moniker, Stretch Armstrong is famous for his flexibility. According to the slogan “He bends! He stretches! He even ties in knots, but always returns to his original shape!” If you have to make a Stretch Armstrong movie, Lautner seems like as good a fit as any; after all, his abs do look like they were sculpted in a laboratory. Universal Picture Co-Chairman Donna Langley remarked, “[Lautner] brings the perfect balance of energy and athleticism to the role of an unlikely super hero with a fantastic super power. We couldn’t be more pleased that he has agreed to be our Stretch.” Although his Twilight saga work requires a certain moodiness, Lautner proved he has enthusiasm to spare in his guest spot as SNL host last year.
In addition to this and Max Steele, Lautner is reportedly attached to Northern Lights, in which he’ll play a (presumably shirtless) hotshot pilot with daddy issues, and Cancun, in which he’ll play a (presumably shirtless) teenager who must save his kidnapped friends with martial arts. It all sounds kind of silly when placed in the context of but a few paragraphs, but when you consider the fact that millions of dollars are passing hands, it must be amazing to be Taylor Lautner right now.
Next up, who do you think Universal should recruit to play the villanous Stretch Monster (see video below)? Ron Perlman?
Strech Armstrong currently has a March, 2012 release date.
Here’s what Universal sent over:
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., Feb. 5 /PRNewswire/ — Universal Pictures announced breaking news about two of its upcoming event films based on popular Hasbro brands, Stretch Armstrong and Battleship. The announcements were made today by Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson and Co-Chairman Donna Langley.
Taylor Lautner (the Twilight saga) will play the title character in the upcoming 3-D superhero adventure Stretch Armstrong, to be released in 2012.
“Universal has put all the elements in place to successfully launch two of our classic Hasbro brands on the big screen,” said Brian Goldner, President and CEO of Hasbro, Inc. “The addition of Taylor Lautner and the 3-D twist to Stretch Armstrong, in addition to giving Pete Berg and the filmmakers the extra time and resources to make Battleship an even bigger summer blockbuster, is sure to pay dividends when the film is released in 2012.”
Peter Berg (Hancock, The Kingdom) came aboard in Fall 2009 to produce and direct Battleship, which will unfold as a massive Naval adventure across the seas, in the skies and over land as our planet fights for survival against a superior force. Originally slated for release in July 2011, the film was moved to give it the time and resources to thoroughly realize its huge-scale ambitions and position it for Memorial Day weekend in 2012. Scott Stuber (The Wolfman, Couples Retreat) is producing Battleship through his Universal-based Stuber Pictures, and Sarah Aubrey (The Kingdom, upcoming Dune) is producing with Berg for Film 44. Brian Goldner and Bennet Schneir are producing for Hasbro.
“We believe in Pete Berg and the incredible vision that he and the Battleship team have for this film,” said Fogelson. “We’re honored that Hasbro is partnering with us to turn one of its landmark properties into a huge summer box-office hit.”
Stretch Armstrong is moving to 2012 to allot time to shape the project into a 3-D superhero adventure and to accommodate Lautner’s existing commitments.
“In the past two years, Taylor has emerged as a real star at the global box office. He brings the perfect balance of energy and athleticism to the role of an unlikely super hero with a fantastic super power,” said Langley. “We couldn’t be more pleased that he has agreed to be our Stretch.”
Stretch Armstrong is based on the iconic action figure made popular around the world beginning in the 1970s and re-launched in the 1990s. Academy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind, 8 Mile, American Gangster) will team with Hasbro to bring Stretch Armstrong to life. Steve Oedekerk (Bruce Almighty) has written the screenplay, and Hasbro’s Goldner and Schneir also produce.