Today at Comic-Con, most of the talk was about a little film called Breaking Dawn. While we were here, we took the opportunity to chat with Taylor Lautner about his other upcoming film, Abduction. Not only is this action thriller his first starring role, it’s also the debut release from his production company, Tailor Made.
IMDb: There is talk that perhaps you may be the youngest action star. Do you know if that’s true?
Taylor Lautner: (laughing) I don’t know, am I considered an action star? That’s great to hear. I really look up to actors like Matt Damon and Tom Cruise and they definitely had their go at the action realm. But what I love most about them is they are known as the action guys, but they aren’t just the action guys. They have challenged themselves to so much. Even in their action movies, there were incredible characters. I think Abduction is similar to that and I can’t wait for people to see it.
IMDb: So you were considering a few other projects such as Northern Lights and Stretch Armstrong, what made you pick this project?
Lautner: It’s a funny story. I had a general meeting with one of the producers two years ago. He pitched me a lot of ideas from scripts and at the very end of the meeting he said, ‘I have one other project but it’s literally just a pitch.’ He told me two lines of what it was about and I said ‘that is the best idea I have heard yet. Let me know when you get a script.’ A year went by and I didn’t hear anything on it. Then, randomly, I was at the Super Bowl and I got a call from my agent and he asked if remembered the project Abduction. He sent the script overnight to Miami and I read it all in one night. The next morning I called everyone and said this has to be my next project.
IMDb: So did they end up writing the script specifically with you in mind?
Lautner: Well, yes I think after that original meeting when I showed him I was interested enough, a script was written but that was just the first draft. Then I came on board and my production company did as well. There was a lot of development and several more rounds of scripts. But it turned out great.
IMDb: Is this your first producing credit?
Lautner: Yes, Abduction is my production company’s [Tailor Made] first movie. I have always been interested in the development process. It’s great to be able to build the movie from the ground up, and work the characters and be along for the journey. It’s been a lot of fun.
IMDb: As a first-time producer, were you surprised by the process and everything that goes into making the film?
Lautner: I think that producing makes you realize how much work goes into a project before the cameras roll. It took a year to get the script and several months to re-tweak it. Plus casting, getting the whole team together, and then, that’s when the cameras start rolling. And, once they stop rolling, then there’s post-production. It never stops! It’s a very long process and a lot of hard work but it’s definitely worth it in the end when you watch the movie and you can remember everything that went into it.
IMDb: As an actor, were you able to take off your producer hat and trust that everything was getting done?
Lautner: Absolutely. A major help with that was our director John Singleton.
IMDb: How did he get involved with the project?
Lautner: He was just the right guy for it. He was super passionate about the film from the beginning. He really took me under his wing and we went through a film school together. He made me watch a lot of movies–
IMDb: Which movies?
Lautner: We studied some of my favorite actors in roles similar to [my character] Nathan in Abduction. We watched Tom Cruise in Minority Report. We watched Harrison Ford in The Fugitive. It was great because I was able to study them in ways they went about taking on those roles and tried to bring some of that to Abduction.
IMDb: This was a very physical role and you’ve been doing karate since you were very young. What other types of training did you do to prepare for the role?
Lautner: There was a lot of physical training. Three months before we started filming, I started taking boxing. So I boxed, motorcycle training, wrestling, and my martial arts helped a little bit with the fight training. It was extremely physically challenging which was a lot of fun.
IMDb: What was your favorite part of the filmmaking process?
Lautner: It would probably be working with everyone I had the opportunity to work with. I had an incredible cast: Sigourney Weaver, Alfred Molina, Lily Collins, Maria Bello, and Jason Isaacs. I was so fortunate and I couldn’t have done it without all of them.
IMDb: So you are here at Comic-Con for the second time for that other movie you have coming out. Over the last three years, so much has changed with the whole Twilight craze. Now that this chapter is about to end, what is it you want to take with you?
Lautner: I am incredibly thankful for this franchise. It has given all of us the opportunity to go off and do what we love and things we are passionate about. I wouldn’t have been able to make Abduction if it wasn’t for the Twilight Saga. I am thankful for that and the relationships we took from the series. We’ve made lifelong friendships and that’s super important to me.