Interview Magazine – Taylor Lautner

When rumors surfaced last year that 17-year-old Taylor Lautner would not appear in the Twilight sequel because he was too physically slight to portray a bookworm-turned-werewolf, a great shriek rose from Fangirl Island. “Noooooo!!” wrote one obsessive on a Twilight discussion board. “omg. Pleezze let Taylor come back,” implored another. Some were more militant: “If they don’t put him in . . . there will be a massive Twilight fan attack!”

The producers opted not to mess with their core constituency. While Twilight was ringing up $380 million at the box office and becoming one of the top pop-culture phenomena of the past year, Lautner was busy packing on 30 pounds of -muscle at the gym. His character, Jacob Black, the platonic best friend of heroine Bella Snow (played by Kristen Stewart), transforms in New Moon from a likable klutz into a member of a wolf pack. Likewise, the film gives Lautner a chance to bust out of more than his shirts, challenging co-star Robert Pattinson’s dominance of both the teen mags and the movie’s monster love-story narrative.

After an unusually chaotic post-release period that saw Pattinson shear off his -vampire hair (noooooo!), Stewart photographed on the steps of her L.A. apartment smoking what appeared to be weed, and director Catherine Hardwicke replaced by American Pie helmer Chris Weitz, the cast reunited—a lot more famous—in Vancouver last March to begin -filming New Moon. The sequel shakes up the central trio—teen vampire Edward (Pattinson), his devoted Bella, and her best friend Jacob—sending Edward packing, turning Jacob into a werewolf, and heating up the love–triangle element as Jacob makes a play for Bella in Edward’s absence. Frost/Nixon’s Michael Sheen joins the fray as a vampire leader, and the sequel’s scoreboard reads werewolves vs. vampires.

Lautner grew up in Michigan and L.A., a youthful karate star who transitioned at the age of 12 from martial arts to acting in benign cinematic family fare like The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl. He was excited to talk about shooting New Moon, dirt biking, his new set of muscles, and playing up the sexual tension.

MICHAEL MARTIN: How is the Twilight phenomenon sitting with you?

TAYLOR LAUTNER: It’s the weirdest thing. Nobody really saw it coming. I mean, we knew we were making a movie of a very popular book, but we didn’t know how well it was going to do. When it opened, it exploded, and that was not something any of us saw coming. Filming New Moon is a lot different than the first one because this time we know what we are getting into.

MARTIN: Do all the expectations psych you out?

LAUTNER: I don’t think so. It puts a little more pressure on us than it did before. But for the most part, it’s been a blast.

MARTIN: So what’s in store for Jacob?

LAUTNER: He’s a lot different than he was before. He transforms mid-story—in the first half, he’s Twilight Jacob. I’m wearing a wig. My character’s very clumsy, outgoing, and friendly. When he transforms into a werewolf, he becomes something very different. It’s like I’m playing a split personality. Which is tricky, because sometimes I’ve had to play pre- and post-transformation Jacob on the same day of filming.

MARTIN: Is the premise similar to the book’s?

LAUTNER: The coolest thing about the series is that we stay very true to the books; it would be silly for us not to, because the books are exactly what the fans want to see. There’s an action side to it, which I love, and there are werewolves now. There aren’t just vampires. There’s a wolf pack.

MARTIN: What does it mean to turn into a werewolf?

LAUTNER: I think the most important thing with Jacob is that pre-transformation, he’s clumsy. He trips over his own feet. As soon as he transforms, he’s very agile. At one point, he flings himself through Bella’s window and lands at her feet, and that’s the first time Bella realizes this is a new Jacob: He never used to be this agile. I loved bringing out that side of him. The bummer is, when he becomes a wolf, that’s not actually me. When he does the cool fight scenes, he’s transformed into CGI.

MARTIN: You had to bulk up for the part.

LAUTNER: Absolutely. As soon as I finished filming Twilight, I knew I had to get to work right away; there could be no waiting involved. The day I finished Twilight, I came home and started bulking up. For New Moon, I’m 30 pounds heavier than I was in Twilight.

MARTIN: Do you feel like you’re walking around in a different body?

LAUTNER: I don’t at all. I haven’t noticed much of a change. I grew out of a lot of my clothes, though. I went from a men’s small to a men’s large.

MARTIN: Are you turning more heads?

LAUTNER: I don’t know. I should pay more attention to that. I hope so.

MARTIN: What was your training regimen?

LAUTNER: I was in the gym five days a week, two hours a day. At one point, I was going seven days straight. I had put on a lot of weight, and then I started losing it drastically, so I was worried. It turned out I was overworking myself. My trainer told me that I couldn’t break a sweat, because I was burning more calories than I was putting on. The hardest thing for me was the eating. At one point I had to shove as much food in my body as possible to pack on calories. My trainer wanted me to do six meals a day and not go two hours without eating. If I would cheat on eating one day, I could tell—I’d drop a few pounds.

MARTIN: Are Twilight fans as intense as they seem?

LAUTNER: They are very intense, but it’s cool that they’re so dedicated and so passionate. They’re the reason we’re here doing this sequel. So I’m thankful for the fans. I like meeting them. But, yeah, they’re pretty intense. Sometimes it becomes a little overwhelming.

MARTIN: Do they scream and rend their garments?

LAUTNER: We’ve met many different fans: the criers, who come around quite often; the hyperventilators who stop breathing and have to have a medic come. We’ve definitely seen some passion.

MARTIN: How does it feel to be the source of that sort of worship?

LAUTNER: I don’t even know. I don’t know if it’s really hit me yet. They’re just passionate for the series and for the characters, and we’re just lucky enough to be a part of this. I don’t think it has much to do with me personally; it’s more because I’m playing the beloved Jacob Black.

MARTIN: Were you a Twilight fan before?

LAUTNER: I was not a vampire or werewolf fan at all. I’d never even heard of the series. I auditioned for the role, and as soon as I got it, I started reading the books. I’m not a reader, but I really did get hooked on them.

MARTIN: Do you hang out with Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart?

LAUTNER: The whole cast is really close. It would be difficult for our characters if we weren’t. It’s a love triangle, and we need to understand each other. So the fact that we’re close and can talk things through in rehearsals, and if we’re out at dinner, we’ll just randomly start talking about the scene we’re shooting the next day . . . If we weren’t able to do those things, I don’t know where we’d be.

MARTIN: What’s in store for that love triangle?

LAUTNER: Twilight develops the relationship between Edward and Bella. In New Moon, Edward leaves, and Bella needs someone to bring her out of this depression she’s in, so she turns to her best friend, Jacob. It looks like it could go past friends. Bella’s very confused. Jacob wants nothing more than to be more than friends. He wants Edward to get out of there so he can move in for the kill.

MARTIN: So to speak . . .

LAUTNER: Yeah. Bella’s torn. She’s still in love with Edward, but she’s kind of fallen for Jacob, too. When I read the books, I felt bad for Jacob, because he can’t have what he wants. I understand Jacob’s pain but also Bella’s pain—how she’s confused and torn between the two.

MARTIN: You understood that from personal experience?

LAUTNER: From getting into the character and being surrounded by these really talented actors.

MARTIN: What would you like to do next?

LAUTNER: I love action films. I’d love to do an action drama. I’m always looking to give my character something action-oriented to do.

MARTIN: Is the third Twilight movie happening, and are you in it?

LAUTNER: Yeah. We’re all staying focused on New Moon right now, but that’s in the back of our minds.

MARTIN: What would you be doing if not acting?

LAUTNER: I always played sports when I was young. I played football and baseball for eight years. I loved football. So maybe I’d be doing some kind of sport. I also loved writing and directing. So maybe that could be in my future too. I’d love to get into that.

MARTIN: You want to be a screenwriter?

LAUTNER: Possibly. Right now I’m an actor. But I could see that in my future.

MARTIN: You’ve got some time.

LAUTNER: Yeah, I’ve got a few years ahead of me.

Source: Interview Magazine

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Published in: on 16/07/2009 at 20:29  Leave a Comment  

100 Monkeys Exclusive Interview

When we were growing up, we thought ten little monkeys could get themselves into enough trouble for all of us…jumping on the bed and whatnot.

But now there’s 100 Monkeys, and they’re just as impulsive and unpredictable. The West Coast band comprised of Jacksone Rathbone (a.k.a. Jasper Hale of the “Twilight” saga), Ben Graupner, Ben Johnson, and Jared Anderson has found success across the country with their unique improv style of music.

Categorized on their MySpace page as a combination of “Japanese classic music, 2-step, psychobilly” which may be good enough or equally perplexing descriptors as any, the 100 Monkeys are currently touring throughout the summer with their debut CD Monster De Lux.

Just listen for the shouted deluge of audience improv suggestions or follow the trail of over-excited, collapsed Twi-hards, and you’ll be sure to find them.

Meanwhile, StarShine caged the jovial, bantering Monkeys (sans Ben J.) for an exclusive interview in which they discuss stage life, Twilight mania, obscure global theorems, and humpback whales.

What’s the origin of the 100 Monkeys?

Jackson: The 100 Monkeys started with Ben G. and I–like 3 years ago–whenever he moved to L.A. We were roommates back in high school. We knew Ben J. back then, and we started the band as a two-man group just doing improv music and trying to get Ben J. out to Los Angeles to make some music with us. Along the way, we happened to meet up with Jared Anderson who we would jam with all the time. Now we all are together in harmony. It’s fantastic.

Ben G: It’s like an MTV reality show.

Would you ever do one of those?

Jackson: No, that would make even more drama out of what little drama there is.

Jared: If it was a Discovery Channel reality show, yes.

Speaking of the Discovery Channel, why did you choose to name the band after “The Hundredth Monkey Effect,” which per your MySpace page, “generally describes the instant, paranormal spreading of an idea or ability to the remainder of a population once a certain portion of that population has heard of the new idea or learned the new ability”?

Jackson: That was one part of it, and [that idea] if you get 100 monkeys in the room with 100 typewriters, eventually they’ll create the works of Shakespeare. (See: Infinite Monkey Theorem) It’s the certain style of music we make and the music we write.

If you came up with your own Monkey Effect, what idea would you like to impart on society?

Ben G: Wow!

Jackson: We’re really trying to get people into the Spencer Bell Memorial. (www.spencerbellmemorial.com) It’s a benefit for adrenal cancer research and our friend Spencer Bell, who was our greatest influence in all of our music. He passed away about three years ago, so we’re just working, trying to keep his memory alive and keep his music out to the masses. We were able to raise money to put out one of his albums, and we have 3 more because of the fan support that we’ve been getting. It’s just incredible.

Why have you chosen to use improv in your music?

Jared: I think because we started as actors, most of us, minus Ben J. Improv is part of acting, so we all love doing it. We play well off each other, and we do take straight-up audience suggestions and make up a song on the spot, even all the instrumental parts.

Just then, the sound of piano keys interrupts his thought as the boys chime in, singing and playing notes, “It’s a song that we’re singing for the very first time…” Over just as soon as it started, they jump back on the interview train –

Jackson: See, genius! Where inspiration takes you, it takes you hard. If you take the drummer and the drummer starts playing bass and the singer starts singing backup vocals, you find a whole new bunch of stuff in the music that you might not find if you didn’t allow yourself the freedom to change the lyrics once in a while or completely make up a song.

Jared: It’s called the 100 Monkeys Switcheroo.

Ben G: We increase each other’s talents.

Jackson: We all come from different backgrounds and ways of learning music. It’s really interesting, and it’s really cool to have that diversity ‘cause when it comes together, it creates this union of –

Jared: – magic. A union of magic.

Jackson: Sometimes it sounds awful…but still magic. Sometimes it sounds good. (laughs)

Can everyone play all of the instruments?

Ben G: Not yet, but almost. People have their strengths. Everybody specializes I think in probably two things.

Jackson: We wanna give the audience a show. We love our fans. We love performing, and we feel that when you come to our show, you’re gonna get to hear a song that’s never going to be played live again. People always come up to us at the end of shows requesting other improv songs.

Jared: I actually feel like we owe it to ‘em after a while because they’re like demanding, and I’m like, “I don’t know how!” I’m like, “Let’s just suck it up and learn it!”

Given that three out of the four of you are also actors, do you have a preference between music and acting?

Jackson: I wanna have my cake and eat it too. I wanna do both. I think the way we figure it, it feeds both sides of the creative process.

To feed the elephant in the room, Jackson, can you tease anything about “New Moon” for the yearning “Twilight” fans out there?

Jackson: It’s gonna be raging…action-packed, more steamy romance. You get to see a lot more crazy stuff happening. We went deeper into the world now, and it’s gonna be a fun thrill ride for everyone.

Also, filming recently wrapped in Pennsylvania for M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender.” What was that experience like, Jackson?

Jackson: It’s been incredible, a great set. I really believe we’re making a film that’s going to be epic. It’s gonna move people. I think the movie’s gonna turn out beautiful.

The 100 Monkeys have performed with Rob Pattinson in the past. Any chance that’ll be a recurring collaboration?

Jackson: Well, I mean, Rob’s a busy guy…(laughs) We’ve had a few chances to play with him. He’s an awesome musician.

How has “Twilight” mania affected the band’s popularity?

Jackson: It’s definitely gotten us some attention, but I think the main thing is our lives shows. People get to –

Jared: – escape into a fun land. Enjoy good music.

Jackson: Yeah, we like to have a good time. That’s what we’re always trying to do – play music for as many people as possible.

Jared: Hopefully, they come in ready to rock out and have some fun. That’s all you can expect.

Ben G: If you scream loud enough, we’ll make up a song that you decide what it’s called. Things like guitar picks and sweat.

Jackson: We like to give things away a lot on stage.

Jared: Sometimes we bring monkeys and throw them into the crowd.

Jackson: By the way, Ben J. is an adamant whale enthusiast. I know that if he were here, he would want to mention something about preserving the humpback whale in particular. Just figured I’d throw that in there.

One thing’s for certain, you’ll never know what the 100 Monkeys will say…in person…or on stage.

Visit www.myspace.com/these100monkeys or www.100monkeysmusic.com for upcoming tour dates and information.

Source: StarShine Magazine

Published in: on 07/07/2009 at 19:17  Leave a Comment