By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist November 2, 2011 at 2:18AM
While this might seem totally out of nowhere, there were clues bubbling up that the unlikely duo of Taylor Lautner and Gus Van Sant would be working together. There was a very minor controversy recently when in an interview with Australia's GQ magazine, Lautner related that he had a dinner meeting with Van Sant and "Milk" screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, prompting the publication to bizarrely ask if either of them hit on him. Obviously, not exactly the brightest thing to say, and the matter made the blog rounds and then went away, but it looks like that dinner date has borne some very real cinematic results.
THR has learned that Lautner is set to produce and star in an indie flick that Van Sant will direct based on a non-fiction New Yorker article the actor optioned. Lautner reading the New Yorker -- now there's an image. More details are expected to come later this week, including who has been tasked to write the script, but we think we can make a pretty obvious guess as to who that is at this point.
Now, the Van Sant and "Twilight" star connection isn't that odd either. Way back when Summit was first looking at directors for "Breaking Dawn," Van Sant and Sofia Coppola were approached in addition to Bill Condon for the gig. So perhaps that's where the idea first sparked for Lautner to pair up with the director.
We're not even sure what to think about all this. It's cool Lautner is using whatever clout he has left to get a project moving, but it seems going indie is his only option at this point since no studio is going to back a vehicle centered around the actor after witnessing the hard flop of "Abduction." As for Van Sant, he's coming off what is arguably one of the worst films of his career in "Restless" so it'll be interesting to see what stylistic switch he goes for and what the tone and tenor of this piece will be. Slick and stylized? Gritty and lo-fi? As for Black, while he's got an Oscar for "Milk" he's yet to make a statement with a followup. His directorial debut "What's Wrong with Virginia" made a disastrous TIFF premiere last year, and the feedback on "J. Edgar" is still up in the air (though with an AFI Fest premiere happening shortly, the critical consensus will soon surface).
So, a lot of factors at play here, but this one is moving fast. Production is slated to begin early next year.