Talking to Taylor Lautner for the third or fourth time since he began his "Twilight" journey, it's clear that the 18-year-old actor is on the cusp of something. He has a confidence and a swagger that was missing two years ago. It's not to suggest he's arrogant, but there are these little hints of the star-making energy that enveloped Shia LaBeouf after "Transformers" and before his surprise solo hit "Disturbia" in his voice and demeanor. Or, if you've ever had the experience of meeting Tom Cruise, this sort of ethereal "are you really talking to me or are you pretending you're talking to me" sensation that hits actors when they are constantly besieged by paparazzi, publicists, agents and hangers on pulling them every which way. No one ever said being a star didn't have its share of difficulties. However, one of the subjects that focuses the "Eclipse" star is talking about his beloved fans.
"It's ridiculous. We have the best fans in the world," Lautner says with a smile. "It's quite amazing to go out and see thousands and thousands of fans and [see] how passionate they are because we are as well. And to be able to share that is pretty awesome."
Lautner was referring to the first ever Los Angeles Twilight Convention which coincidentally occurred last weekend when the press got their first view of "Eclipse." In the third installment of Stephanie Meyers' vampire saga, Jacob Black (Lautner) has reached a point where he's no longer waiting for the love of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), he's ready to fight for it. Lautner admits that made his work in this film much "more emotionally challenging. Jacob is frustrated, he's everything in this movie. There is a lot going on."
In fact, the hardest part of his performance was saved for his final scene with Stewart.
"It was my last scene in the movie where I'm laying down in the bed and I've been hurt and I've been begging one last time for her," Lautner says. "It's a pretty emotional scene, it was tough."
Still, Lautner loves playing the werewolf with the six-pack abs and with rumors all over Hollywood that Summit Entertainment hopes to continue the "Twilight" franchise in some form after "Breaking Dawn," it's no surprise he's ready for a solo Jacob feature down the road.
"I definitely would consider it. I love the character of Jacob and I love the stories," Lautner says. "So, yeah, I definitely don't want to say goodbye to this character."
If that were to happen, it would mean a lot more time in the gym. Lautner, who begins shooting the thriller "Abduction" in three weeks, has learned that he can't take a break from his intense training regimen as long as he's in the franchise. Lautner notes, "If you stop at all? It all loses. And the biggest thing I've learned is it is just as hard to maintain as it was to put on in the first place."
Enjoy it while you can Taylor. About 15 years you'll be waxing over how easy it was to lose it when you're trying to get those abs for another role.
[You can watch the video version of this interview embedded above this post.]
"The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" opens nationwide and in IMAX on June 30.
To check out HitFix's interview with Kristen Stewart, click here.