About a week ago I attended the big Los Angeles press junket for Summit Entertainment’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1. While I already posted the press conferences with Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, author Stephenie Meyer, screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg & producer Wyck Godfrey, we’ve still got a number of exclusive and group interviews to post over the next few days. And up next, Taylor Lautner.
During the press conference, Lautner talked about making Breaking Dawn, the imprint scene, crazy fan encounters, what will stick with him about playing Jacob, his thoughts on why Jacob can’t let Bella go, future projects, and if he’s bummed that after gunning after Bella for all this time, Edward gets a hot vampire bride and he gets a baby. Hit the jump for both the video and transcript.
Finally, while most studios do a press conference with the entire cast and that makes it next to impossible to get a good interview with anyone, a big thank you to Summit for breaking up the pairings. And if you missed it, here’s 10 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage from the making of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. Look for more interviews very soon and the full transcript is below the video.
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 mean, I find myself listening to weird things like hardcore techno music and then I’ll be listening to mainstream hip-hop music. But it’s like I am so crazy with my music taste. I’ll listen to a song, I’ll become obsessed with it, and then I’m on to the next one. So it’s just very inconsistent. (laughs) I love your dog, by the way.
How did you feel about your approach to this particular part of the film, this particular one. You seem to have a lot more emotional weight. What was your approach to being Jacob this time around?
Lautner: I was really excited about this one because Jacob becomes a man in this one and he has to make a lot decisions. He’s being torn between his two families. 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 we sat down — the three of us sat down with Bill — we just dove right into it and 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, and it was really special. And now seeing the movie, I’m really happy Jacob starts here and he ends here, and it’s just very exciting to see him in a completely different light than ever before.
What about the imprint scene?
Lautner: You had to go there. That was… tough. Because what is imprinting? What do you look like when you imprint? I mean, those were all the questions going through my head. Luckily we had Stephanie on set the entire time, and trust me I asked her a million times, “OK, explain to me one more time what imprinting is exactly?” and “Did you ever envision what Jacob looks like… what is he doing when he’s imprinting?” It was very, very confusing. So there was a lot of conversation about that. And then it didn’t help that when we filmed it, they put an X on a wall and said, “This is Renesme. 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. So it really is a special moment, but on the day it was a leap of faith.
Lautner: I get a baby? Yeah, yeah. I have gotten over that by now, but originally… I mean, I remember the first time reading the book, the fourth book. The fourth book came out, and I was like, “All right, what’s going to happen? What’s going to happen? Is Edward going to end up with Bella? Is Jacob going to end up with Bella?” And I was so confused. I 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. But no, it is very… you have to tread lightly because it’s a very special thing, and it’s not romantic at all. So we definitely had to film in a certain way, and I think that Bill did an incredible job with that.
With all of the great things that Twilight has brought you, what’s the thing you are ready to put behind you and not have to experience anymore as a result?
Lautner: Not wearing clothes. I mean, maybe the climate of where we filmed, those two together don’t go very well. So I mean yeah, I love Vancouver, but we have to film when it’s cold and rainy and gross, and the sun comes out and we’ve got to stop filming. But I honestly 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 didn’t see it coming at all — none of us did. I mean, my mind doesn’t even go there. I’m just crazy thankful for what this has given all of us and the opportunities it’s given us as actors.
Lautner: That’s a good question, because 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, and we’re very close. So 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 apologize to him for that every single day. No, but he’s a great guy. At the same time, we have all grown so close, and it’s really unbelievable how much we’ve gotten along, and I can’t imagine filming this franchise if we didn’t. It would be a complete nightmare.
Since Twilight fans are so rabid, what’s your craziest fan encounter? And please tell us what you’ve got in mind next.
Lautner: Craziest fan encounter… That is so tough to choose one. And 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 was just out of control but amazing, and there was a lot of passion there. And then I’ve had a few girls that tattoo a picture of you or your signature to their arm. That blows my mind. I mean, something new happens every day and it continues to blow my mind. You think we would all get used to it and expect it, but every time something happens it’s just 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. And then 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. And it will give me time to catch up on sleep a little bit and also think about what will be next.
What about Gus Van Sant?
Lautner: What about him?
Lautner: He is 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 so say now other than the fact that I really, really respect and would love the opportunity to work with him.
Is it true that it’s based on a New Yorker article?
Lautner: Um… there is a project like that floating around somewhere on this planet.
Now that you’ve finished playing Jacob, is there any part of the character that will stick with you?
Lautner: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, after playing the same character for five movies and for years, you grow so close to him. I mean, you start putting yourself into Jacob and you start putting Jacob into you. I love Jacob. I mean, there’s many things that I look up to Jacob for, so I mean… 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 implement into my own life, which is kind of cool.
Not that there’s anything wrong with being part of a hugely successful franchise, but being so identified with Jacob and this particular story, how important is it for you to find something different? Or is it just a matter of finding something that keeps your face out there?
Lautner: No, it’s definitely not a matter of just finding something that keeps your face out there. I mean, I want everything to feel special to me, and I’m very specific about that. But in a way, it would almost — and we’ve all said this to each other because we all deal with it — it would almost be a compliment to be typecast because that’s our jobs. Our jobs are to make the fans believe that we are these characters. So in 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. So yeah, it’s 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.
A pivotal scene is done in the heads of the wolves. Did that frustrate you, that you couldn’t put your own physicality to that? Or did you rehearse it as people standing there at some point in an empty room?
Lautner: It was kind of weird and awkward because we were standing in an empty room. And they actually filmed us, so we actually did a version of that scene. They filmed us just because we said all of the lines, and that was the voice that’s used in the movie. But at the same time, when we’re filming that scene, if my face does something, they would implement that into the wolves. So it’s very, very cool, the amount of detail that they pay attention to. So in a way, yeah I’m bummed because the wolves got a very good scene that we didn’t, but I’m kind of used to that by now. But in a sense we were able to do the scene and they were actually able to use specific things that we did with our bodies, with our faces, with everything and just implemented them into the wolf.
Are you comfortable enough this late in the franchise or feel that you own the role enough to say to Bill or whoever, “No no no, Jacob wouldn’t have done it that way, he would’ve done it this way.” Did you get into any situations where you were arguing for your take on things?
Lautner: Thankfully no. I mean, we are so open with each other that I’m sure any one of us would have spoken up and said that, but with Bill he just made us feel so comfortable to begin with. Because it could’ve been a challenge, playing the same character for five movies and you have a different director each time, and then when the new director comes onboard sometimes it can take a second to adjust and get on the same page with him. But Bill was so amazing, and he really just made us feel comfortable and open. And yeah, a version of those did happen. 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.” And 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 work with him. So I was able to completely trust him. All of us were, which was very important as well.
Lautner: I go back and forth with Jacob’s persistence. I mean, most of the time yeah, 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’ve just got to keep going. You’ve got to go for it. Because if you’re told no and you just say, “Oh, OK” and give up, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. And it requires a lot of hard work and a lot of persistence, and if you believe in something, if you love something, you’ve got to go for it no matter what, so most of the time I could relate, but yeah, there’s moments where I’m just like, “Dude, you’ve got to get over it. She’s married now. She’s on 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, but it’s really a last dance between Bella and Jacob toward the end of their wedding. And it’s really Jacob is saying goodbye to Bella, she’s off to her honeymoon and he’s kind of 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. So it’s an emotional scene, and we’re like saying goodbye to each other pretty much. And that was the very last scene we filmed together. So it didn’t help the situation, and I remember when we finished and Kristen and I just looked at each other, and I don’t think we really had anything to say. I mean, because the emotion from the scene was overwhelming us and then the emotion from the situation on top of that — it was tough, but it was a very special moment. Now when I watch that scene, I have a lot of great memories.