The Twilight Saga: New Moon - Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner
Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) © Summit Entertainment

Taylor Lautner became an overnight star last year when Twilight opened to phenomenal box office receipts. His role in that movie was minimal, portraying Bella Swan’s (Kristen Stewart) best friend, Jacob.

In the next installment The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which opens on November 20th, the story switches from Bella’s love affair with vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), to her relationship with Jacob – who is, in fact, a werewolf!

Of course, this means he walks around with his shirt off quite a lot of the time, which the actor acknowledges was a bit of a problem.

You are shirtless for many scenes in New Moon, can you talk about how cold it was?

Taylor Lautner was not the only Wolf who has to go shirtless… © Summit Entertainment

Yeah, the challenging thing is Jacob’s supposed to be extremely hot, so he’s not supposed to feel cold at all. And the worst scene for that was the rain scene, or the break up scene, where Bella first sees Jacob after his transformation into a werewolf.

We’re standing on that little hill right behind Jacob’s house, and it was 35 degrees and it was pouring rain on top of us, and the scene was very long. It took four minutes to film the scene and we filmed that same scene all day long. So it was really rough.

As soon as they’d call cut we’d run over to a heater quick and wrap ourselves in blankets and then we’d have two minutes off before we had to go do another take. So the weather was definitely extremely challenging, and I just had to take myself to another world, so during the scene I wasn’t sitting there shivering.

It was hard, sometimes I’d catch myself and I’d have to stop.

Did you get sick?

No, I didn’t, I’m really surprised by that actually. [I thought] for sure I was going to get sick.

How did you feel when you first saw your transformation on screen into the werewolf?

I was blow away, I was really excited, because when I was filming the famous trailer shot where I’m running through the field and I jump up and transform in midair, I was attached to wires and I was running and I just let the wires pull me up in the air and they jerked me to a stop and I just had to freeze there and let them convert my body into a CGI wolf.

The whole time I was like, ‘I hope I look cool.’ And, yeah, after I saw the final version last week, after I saw the wolves it was amazing. And in the fight scene between Jacob and Paul [as] wolves that comes right after that, was so cool. I thought they were extremely powerful and looked very real.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon - Taylor Lautner
Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) © Summit Entertainment

What can you tell us about the next movie in the franchise, Eclipse?

Eclipse was my favorite book, so I was really excited to start filming the movie. I just love that it’s the height of the love triangle. Twilight develops Edward and Bella’s relationship, New Moon develops Jacob and Bella’s and in Eclipse the three of them are physically together.

One of my favorite scenes in that movie is the tent scene where Edward is forced, I guess it was a choice of his, to let me sleep in the same sleeping bag a Bella, just so she doesn’t die because she’s shivering to death. I’m warm and I’m the only thing at that moment that can keep her alive.

It’s a funny scene, there’s a lot of ribbing going on between Jacob and Edward. It’s going to be a really good movie, and visually stunning.

If there was a fight who would win – Jacob or Edward – you or Rob?

Oh man, I don’t know between me and Rob. He actually does a lot of boxing in his time off, so it might be a good match up. We were actually discussing this on set, who would win in a fight between Jacob and Edward? There’s a scene outside of Bella’s house where Edward grabs my shoulder, he’s mad at me, and Jacob doesn’t take that, so he takes his arm and rips it off.

At that moment Jacob would transform into a wolf, and we were having this discussion and it got really deep, we’re like, ‘If I were to poof into a wolf, what would happen, who would win?’ I don’t know.

Our discussion point was if I’m without my pack am I going to be weaker? So honestly I don’t know. That discussion is still up in the air. We should probably get Stephenie Meyer on the line and ask her.

Taking direction from Director Chris Weitz © Summit Entertainment

This movie is going to make you star, how do you prepare yourself for that?

I don’t think there’s any way to prepare yourself for this phenomenon. None of us expected it when we were filming Twilight.

We didn’t expect anything, we were just filming a movie that we wanted the fans to enjoy, and then it kind of just blew into this whole other world. So I don’t think there’s a way to prepare for that, but yeah you could definitely say I felt a little bit of pressure trying to bring Jacob’s character and Jacob and Bella’s relationship alive for the fans, because this movie definitely develops their relationship and it sets up the love triangle. So it’s a very important story.

Has Taylor Swift (who is reportedly his girlfriend) written a song about you?

That’s a scary thing, I don’t know if she has, I have no idea. I did Valentine’s Day with her, and that movie was a lot of fun. It’s going to be funny, there were a lot of fantastic actors in it, and I got to work with legendary director, Garry Marshall, and Taylor was great as well, so I’m excited for everyone to see that.

What about you and Taylor?

What about us?

Is it a publicity thing that you were dating?

The funny thing is all of you have seen every single move I make, so I guess I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.