LOS ANGELES — Like many of the “Twihard” fans who have devotedly followed the blockbuster film franchise, Taylor Lautner has grown up with “The Twilight Saga.”
The youngest of the series' trio of lead actors, Lautner, 20, has worked hard over the past few years to soak up every experience — from the vital on-the-job training to the strange fan encounters — inside the pop culture phenomenon, which is coming to a close with the opening of the fifth movie, “Breaking Dawn — Part 2.”
“It's been like four or five years, but at the same time, it seems like it was just beginning yesterday, and it flew by, and so many things have happened,” he said in a recent news conference at the Four Seasons Hotel.
“I've just grown up a ton, because I did start this when I was 15 years old. So I mean that's kind of just bound to happen, but it also is kind of at an accelerated rate. ... I love the fact that we had different directors for each movie, except for these last two. I mean, that was amazing to play the same character but be directed in a different way every time and have different input.
“It's kind of an actor's dream because of that, and to play one character for so long because when you do a normal film, you play the character for three months, and then you say goodbye to them. Then you watch the movie, and you're like, ‘Oh I wish I could have done that differently. I wish I could have added this to it.' And with this you had four more movies to play with. So it was an amazing experience.”
The final film picks up right where last year's “Breaking Dawn — Part 1” left off, with heroine Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) adjusting to her transformation into a vampire, with the help of her immortal husband, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson).
Bella also reunites with her best friend, Jacob Black (Lautner), who is a werewolf, and is surprised to learn that her pal has imprinted on her half-human/half-vampire baby, Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy), which means that Jacob and her daughter are destined to be soul mates.
“Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer worked as a producer on the “Breaking Dawn” movies, and Lautner was particularly grateful for her guidance when it came to playing the imprinting storyline.