Taylor Lautner To Produce & Star In Gus Van Sant's Next Film

by Kevin Jagernauth
November 2, 2011 2:18 AM
20 Comments
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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.

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More: Actors, Gus Van Sant, Taylor Lautner

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20 Comments

  • padre | November 3, 2011 11:49 AMReply

    Aspersions on SUPERSTAR Keanu Reeves are so wrong headed that I have to assume you have your head up your ass.

    I've never seen any movie Lautner was in and I don't expect that to change. Perhaps unfairly, I judge him from trailers and ads, where he seems awkward and grinds the proceedings to an uncomfortable halt, even in those brief snippets.

  • JonnyOneNote | November 3, 2011 7:53 AMReply

    Well, perhaps Van Sant is going to direct a film for Falcon Studios starring the two most boring bottoms of all-time, Keanu Reeves and Taylor Lautner. Should prove ....interesting.... and definitely "independent."

  • Georgia | November 3, 2011 3:29 AMReply

    @Amberly I disagree with you about acting being a learned skill. So we'll have to agree to disagree on that one.

  • Amberly | November 2, 2011 12:42 PMReply

    I find it a little baffling some people think he's going to magically turn into a decent actor. And I absolutely disagree with you Georgia, acting is not a learned skill. It's innate. You either have the basic skills or nothing at all. That's why there are only a certain number of GREAT actors. If you could pay money to become a great actor, the Oscars wouldn't be prestigious, now would they? Anyone could be a great actor, then. And since that is (fortunately) not the case, lets examine the lack of skill Lautner possesses. He IS still, he IS uninspired, and he does NOT have any charisma. Look can only get you so far, just ask Zac Efron. I will agree that training definitely helps- and like most careers- it allows you to hone in on your talent. But talent has to exist in order for any crafting or training to happen. He is NOT talented and I really don't care if he's 19, 39, or 109. If age is such a factor- then he probably shouldn't be pushing to become the next leading man. Start with smaller roles. Yes, he began in his career in a billion dollar franchise, but that doesn't mean he has to maintain that level of star credentials. Look at Kirsten Stewart, although her films have tanked at the box office post-Twilight, she has a certain amount of indie-cred and at the very least can be said to be taking risks. Then again, she is somewhat talented. Panic Room, anyone? Look, the studio was obviously looking at this kid as dollar signs- he's never going to be a credible actor, so why not mold him into the next Jason Statham and sell him as an actor star.

  • jingmei | November 2, 2011 6:18 AMReply

    Why Gus van Sant sticks to limited experiences young actors and same writers.

  • abby | November 2, 2011 5:49 AMReply

    Well, Van Sant did work with Keanu Reeves.

  • Jake | November 2, 2011 5:12 AMReply

    There's no question that Lautner need to improve his acting skills but people, he's only 19! Give the kid a chance. I'm sure he will only get better in the future. The movie hasn't even been made yet and all the haters/jealous people are already out to criticize him. Like seriously?
    I guess haters will continue to hate no matter what he does, while those who support him will continue their support for him.

  • paul | November 2, 2011 4:39 AMReply

    @jingmei, after restless, who knows what van sant is going for. i'm sure lautner is a nice kid, but he is just as dull as dishwater.

  • Amberly | November 2, 2011 4:33 AMReply

    @Truth & Georgia- it's more about the fact that he's is MOTIONLESS and the only think working overtime are his eyebrows and occasionally abdomen. You can't argue that he's a credible or talented actor- he's stiff, uninspired, and just an overall pathetic presence onscreen. At least his vampire buddy has some acting chops- decent at best but SOMETHING compared to this little nugget.

  • Truth | November 2, 2011 4:08 AMReply

    Abduction cost $35 Million to make, the advertising costs were low (outspend 4 to 1 by other movies opening weekend) and the movie has made back $72 Million already. It can easily go up to $80-85 by the end of it's run. The studio is already making it's money back. They will make even more when it hits DVD and T.V. So people need to stop spreading lies.

    He has nothing to lose working with Van Sants. People just like hating him no matter what he does. If he goes blockbuster they complain, if he goes Indie they complain. Get off his back he is only 19 years old.

  • Georgia | November 2, 2011 3:55 AMReply

    A flop as I understand it means a movie loses money. Abduction apparently had a relatively small marketing budget (it was outspent 4-1 the weekend it opened). To the best of my knowledge double its budget (and it hasn't finished in theatres) is more than enough to make a profit. Correct me if I'm wrong.

  • Amberly | November 2, 2011 3:28 AMReply

    So for those of us who are acquainted with the school of logical thinking- how in the world does this make sense? After the negative critical response and what will surely be a lackluster box office return for 'Restless', Van Sant's next move is to make a movie with one of the worst actors (even within the Twilight franchise) who also happens to have very little appeal outside of playing a werewolf? It's not like he's pairing up with Johnny Depp (minus the talent portion and forgetting the terrible box office performance of The Rum Diary) who still has somewhat of an appeal outside of the Pirates franchise (The Tourist, anyone?). This kid is the ill-fated combination of box office poison and zero talent. Really Gus Van Sant? This is how you're going to recoup your losses? Good luck buddy, you're really going to need it.

  • Georgia | November 2, 2011 3:19 AMReply

    @Amberly Acting skill is purely subjective. What one person likes, another person may hate. Acting is not a talent. No-one is born a great actor. Acting is a learned skill. Meaning that it can be learned, which is very different from most other art forms. I for one found Taylor Lautner to overact slightly in Twilight, but I like him. I think he's interesting and has looks and charimsa, which is not something I found in any of his co-stars. And no, I do not believe Robert Pattinson has any acting skill whatsoever, at the moment. I find him to be painfully wooden. But then again, I'm not on Team Edward.

  • paul | November 2, 2011 3:08 AMReply

    how has abduction made a profit, if the movie hasn't grossed its budget back domestically? yeah it brought in more overseas, but the studio doesn't get all that back.

  • JC | November 2, 2011 3:04 AMReply

    I saw What's Wrong with Virginia at Toronto last year. It wasn't that bad. By no means a great movie or even a good one but it wasn't a disaster. And Jennifer Connelly was quite good in it.

    I find this really strange to wrap my head around. I've admittedly never actually watched Lautner in a full movie but in each trailer I've seen for the Twilight series or Abduction, I've winced every time he's opened his mouth. Ditto with any interview snippets I've seen.

    Then again, van Sant has worked with non-actors (re: Elephant) in the past and coaxed good performances out of them. Maybe he can do the same for Lautner.

  • Kevin Jagernauth | November 2, 2011 3:04 AMReply

    It's a flop in the sense that it was supposed to be Lautner's big coming out as a leading man. It opened at #4 and hobbled to $70 million worldwide, thanks to foreign box office which did twice as much as domestic.

    So yeah, sorry. Still a flop. He's still unproven outside the Twilight movies.

  • KT | November 2, 2011 3:01 AMReply

    "Actually, Abduction has already made a profit. So it is not a flop."

    HA!

  • KitCon | November 2, 2011 2:58 AMReply

    I can understand that Lautner probably sees this as a way to gain some credibility but what does Van Sant see besides a paycheck? A movie headlined by Lautner will help him bounce back?

  • Georgia | November 2, 2011 2:51 AMReply

    Actually, Abduction has already made a profit. So it is not a flop.

  • Tasha | November 2, 2011 1:44 AMReply

    I think it would be an interesting combination! I would see the movie! I think Taylor Lautner has a lot of potential and is good in the Twlight films thats dialouge isn't the easiest to make believable. Abduction didn't have the best script but was entertaining. Double the budget is profit!

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