LOS ANGELES — Although filming is finished on “The Twilight Saga,” Taylor Lautner plans to keep learning from Jacob Black.
“After playing the same character for five movies and for years, you grow so close to him,” Lautner said during a recent news conference at the Four Seasons Hotel.
“I love Jacob. There's many things that I look up to Jacob for. Jacob's one of the most loyal people, one of the most persistent people. He has amazing qualities to him that I hope I can learn from him and implement into my own life, which is kind of cool.”
In “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1,” the fourth and penultimate installment of the blockbuster film franchise based on Stephenie Meyer's popular paranormal books, Lautner's stalwart werewolf character goes through a series of life-changing events, starting when the girl he loves, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), marries her vampire fiance, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson).
When Bella gets pregnant on her honeymoon, the supernaturally strong and fast-growing baby not only endangers her life, its unknown nature also threatens the Cullen coven's peace treaty with Jacob's lycanthrope kinsmen.
“Jacob becomes a man in this one, and he has to make a lot decisions. He's being torn between his two families. It was really tough. It was by far the most challenging one for me,” Lautner said.
“Now seeing the movie, I'm really happy. Jacob starts here and he ends here, and it's just very exciting to see him in a completely different light than ever before.”
The most difficult challenge Lautner, 19, faced in “Breaking Dawn — Part 1” involved his character's long-awaited imprinting, an involuntary, instantaneous event in which a werewolf bonds with his soul mate.
“You had to go there. That was tough. Because what is imprinting? What do you look like when you imprint? I mean, those were all the questions going through my head. Luckily we had Stephenie on set the entire time, and trust me I asked her a million times, ‘OK, explain to me one more time what imprinting is exactly?' and ‘Did you ever envision what Jacob looks like; what is he doing when he's imprinting?'” he said.
“Then it didn't help that when we filmed it, they put an X on a wall and said ... ‘You're going to walk in the room, you're going to look at the X and you're going to imprint.' And I'm like, ‘Are you kidding me?'”
Since director Bill Condon and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg divided Meyer's hefty fourth and final book into two movies that filmed at the same time, Lautner already has seen the last scene he shot play out on-screen in “Breaking Dawn — Part 1.” As it turns out, Lautner's last dance with “The Twilight Saga” was an actual dance.
“I knew filming the last scene was going to be tough, but it was more emotional for all of us than we expected. And it didn't help that my very last scene was with Kristen — it was with Rob as well, but he comes in at the end and breaks it up — it's really a last dance between Bella and Jacob,” he said. “It's really Jacob saying goodbye to Bella, she's off to her honeymoon, and he's kind of realizing that it's ... time for him to move on.
“I remember when we finished and Kristen and I just looked at each other, and I don't think we really had anything to say,” he added. “The emotion from the scene was overwhelming us — and then the emotion from the situation on top of that — it was tough. But it was a very special moment. Now when I watch that scene, I have a lot of great memories.”
One aspect about being Jacob Black that Lautner is eager to leave behind: all the shirtless scenes. Since they transform quickly from humans to werewolves, Jacob and the rest of his pack are constantly tearing through clothes, so they often don't wear that many.
“Maybe the climate of where we filmed, those two together don't go very well. I love Vancouver, but we have to film when it's cold and rainy and gross, and the sun comes out and we've got to stop filming,” he said, flashing his trademark grin.
“But I honestly can't even think of complaints or anything that I wouldn't want to do because of everything it (being in ‘Twilight') has given me. It's just absolutely unreal, and I didn't see it coming at all — none of us did,” he added. “I'm just crazy thankful for what this has given all of us and the opportunities it's given us as actors.”