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In the first Twilight movie, Taylor Lautner had a pretty small, introductory part as the boy who had a crush on the film’s protagonist Bella. His role would get bigger in the best-selling book series turned film franchise as part of the Edward-Bella-Jacob love triangle. But was there a possibility that Lautner would not have been the actor to carry that out for the rest of the series? One of his co-stars recently talked about the rumors that circulated about Taylor Lautner almost being fired from Twilight before New Moon was made.
There was a time when rumors swirled about whether Taylor Lautner would continue his role as Jacob in New Moon. Insider Ashley Greene, who played Edward’s foster sister Alice in the series, spoke on her podcast “The Twilight Effect” about the rumors regarding the Abduction actor’s future.
In New Moon, Taylor Lautner’s character transitioned into a werewolf, and gained a ton of weight in muscle. Given his body heat would lead to a lot of shirtless scenes, Greene’s co-host Melanie Howe recalled the rumors the actor would be recast if he did not display the physical transformation the film was looking for. When it was announced in December 2008 that Chris Weitz would be taking over as director for New Moon, a press release announced the return of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, but nothing about Taylor Lautner’s fate. This would definitely add fuel to the fire over recasting speculations.
MTV News also stated that One Tree Hill actor Michael Copon was considered to take over as werewolf Jacob Black as he would be more “mature-looking” and muscular. This only brought on more pressure for Taylor Lautner as Ashley Greene said he would eat and exercise a lot in order to gain the muscle that was expected for the role. Luckily, all of the work Lautner did panned out as it was confirmed the following month he would return for New Moon. This decision made a lot of sense considering Michael Copon was eight years older than Kirsten Stewart, yet Bella was supposed to be two years Jacob’s senior. That’s the same age difference between Stewart and Lautner. This casting would stay true to the book series and be more believable on-screen compared to seeing an older actor pretending to be much younger.
Taylor Lautner also addressed the rumors during his interview with Collider in 2009 about how he knew about the character direction the series would take of Jacob Black in New Moon. He felt that while he had no control of what the media would say, he did have control of what he could do for himself to portray Jacob accurately. Lautner was also thankful that he had Chris Weitz there by his side through it all.
Whether the rumors are true or not about Taylor Lautner possibly getting recast after Twilight, it doesn’t matter at this point as Lautner stuck around as Jacob Black for the entire run of the series. Clearly, the fans were looking forward to seeing a shirtless Lautner as New Moon became a financial success shattering the midnight screening box office record at the time of $24 million and was number two in the weekend box office. Twilight must have been a relief for Taylor Lautner or we would all still be calling him Sharkboy, wouldn’t we?
You can watch Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black in all four films of The Twilight Saga on your Hulu subscription.