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Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight novels were a wild phenomenon, and the movie franchise starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson only helped the series soar further. Following the original Twilight movie just turning 15, let’s look back on the story behind Taylor Lautner’s iconic role as Jacob Black almost being passed on to another actor for New Moon. Here’s how the actor was able to take back the role and play the werewolf for all five movies.
Following the end of the franchise, Taylor Lautner left Hollywood for a few years. Recently, the actor has been back in the public eye hosting a wellness podcast called The Squeeze with his wife, who is also now named Taylor Lautner. He also made a surprise appearance in Taylor Swift’s “I Can See You” music video over the summer. Let’s go back in time and talk through the full story behind Lautner’s Twilight casting… and recasting.
How Taylor Lautner Was Cast In Twilight
Taylor Lautner got started in Hollywood at the age of 9, appearing in television roles and voiceover opportunities on animated shows like Danny Phantom, Duck Dodgers and What’s New, Scooby Doo? The actor scored his first big movie role in 2005 when he starred in Robert Rodriguez’s The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3D before also finding a role in Cheaper By The Dozen 2, starring Steve Martin.
While speaking on The Squeeze earlier this year, Lautner shared that between the ages of 13 and 16, he “couldn’t book a job” and had had come to the conclusion in his mind that if he didn’t get anything by the end of the school year, he was going to “hang it up.” But then he was given the opportunity to screen test for two movies on the same day: Disney’s Race To Witch Mountain starring Dwayne Johnson, and Twilight, the latter of which he was much less excited about booking. Here’s what Lautner shared about what happened:
Lautner would go on to play the small role of Jacob Black in the first Twilight alongside Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. Of course, the real meat of the character takes place after the first Twilight, and when the sequel was greenlit, another director was hired to helm New Moon.
That Time Taylor Lautner Was Going To Be Recast For New Moon
The Twilight actors apparently didn’t sign multi-movie contracts because when it came time for New Moon, Taylor Lautner’s role in the franchise went up in the air. While speaking to the Good Guys Podcast in October, the actor shared he had yet to be hired for the sequel. In his words:
As Lautner shared unprompted, the actor decided to transform his body in preparation for playing out Jacob Black’s werewolf arc even though he had not been confirmed to return, which he would go on to call a “nightmare.” Taylor Lautner said that it was his father who actually sat him down and convinced him to take the initiative. Even so, Lautner got a call that he was going to be recast. Now let’s get into how he turned it around.
How Taylor Lautner Got His Role Back
Taylor Lautner shared that he “kind of saw” the recasting coming considering the shape he was in Twilight would not be up to par with who Jacob Black turns into. So when his representation got the call about the studio’s decision, they apparently asked if they had seen Taylor recently and agreed to see him about New Moon. Here’s what happened next, per Lautner:
Lautner was understandably frustrated with the recasting search after he had put in months of work to bulk up. As the actor continued:
Kristen Stewart helped advocate for Lautner’s return, and ultimately he won the role once again against a host of jacked-up talent, who he said were significantly older than him.
What Taylor Lautner Learned From Almost Being Recast In Twilight
When Lautner returned to the Twilight franchise, the actor recalled heading to the set of New Moon “ready to prove” himself after almost being booted from the movie. On the plus side, because Lautner and what sounds like the rest of the main Twilight cast were not signed to five-picture contracts, they had the chance to renegotiate a few times during the franchise’s run. As Lautner said:
Dollar signs aside, Lautner learned a lot about himself after starring in the Twilight franchise. Aside from experiencing the downsides of fame early in his life, he realized he often felt a sense of “desperation” when it came to his career. In the years following his massive Twilight role, he decided to reframe from putting all his “self worth” into his career to focusing on other elements of his life, and that led to him meeting his wife and getting to the place he is now.
The 31-year-old is now happily married and has a successful podcast with his wife. While he’s shared interest in playing Twilight’s Jacob again, he’d only do so with a “trim and healthy” body rather than what he put his body through before, and it sounds like it certainly wouldn’t be his first priority. You can check out what the other Twilight cast members are up to now and check out the Twilight movies with an Amazon Prime subscription.