The New A-List: What Went Wrong With Taylor Lautner's Career
The 'Twilight' star reportedly commanded $7.5 million per film at one point, but the offers dried up after 2011's 'Abduction.'
This story first appeared in the April 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
It only was about five years ago that Lautner's bulked-up body made its big debut in The Twilight Saga: New Moon. That film grossed $710 million worldwide and fueled buzz that Lautner, then just 17, could be the next big action star. Weeks after New Moon's release, Paramount set him as the lead in its big-budget Max Steel, based on the Mattel action figure. He also signed on to the fighter-pilot action movie Northern Lights for a reported $7.5 million. Soon after, Lautner dropped out of Northern Lights when he was offered the lead in Universal's Stretch Armstrong project. Around the same time, he landed Abduction, Lionsgate's action film directed by John Singleton; he was attached to Fox 2000's sci-fi adaptation Incarceron; and he was offered the lead in Relativity's David and Goliath project.
So what happened? Insiders point to 2011's Abduction, which was critically panned (it earned $82 million worldwide). After that, Universal put Stretch Armstrong into turnaround, and the leading-man offers dried up. "His first movie just wasn't very good, and it didn't justify what he was asking for at the time," says one producer. He since has focused on smaller roles, recently wrapping the indie thriller Run the Tide and the second season of the BBC comedy series Cuckoo, allowing him to flex the muscles he'll use in Adam Sandler's Netflix film The Ridiculous Six.
“It’s not easy to move out of the shadow of a hit like Twilight,” said an agent. “But he’s still very young. There’s time for Taylor to become more than just Jacob.”