In the late 2000s and early 2010s, the three stars from the Twilight films, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner, were the most talked-about actors in Hollywood. However, in recent years, Lautner has not been in many on-screen projects and has kept a relatively low profile. Why does he seem to be on a different trajectory than Pattinson and Stewart?
Taylor Lautner was one of the 2010s biggest young stars
Lautner’s first major claim to fame was starring in the 2005 Robert Rodriguez film, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D.
In 2008, he landed one of the principal roles in the Twilight film franchise, Jacob Black. He debuted as Black in the 2008 titular film opposite leads Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart.
His character had an expanded role in the 2009 sequel, The Twilight Saga: New Moon. This catapulted him to superstardom and he became a teen idol. As the years went on, he continued to portray Black and his profile as a sex symbol rose.
He later portrayed the character in 2010’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, 2011’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 and 2012’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2.
Taylor Lautner was in a string of failed films after ‘Twilight’
There wasn’t a shortage of lead roles for Lautner after Twilight. He booked many gigs, including the 2011 action film, Abduction, directed by legendary director John Singleton. The film flopped and went down as one of Singleton’s least successful films. It also received negative reviews from critics.
Lautner was given another action vehicle, the 2015 film, Tracers. It also had a modest commercial performance and received mostly negative reviews from critics. Also in 2015, he had a pretty decent-sized role in the Netflix comedy film, The Ridiculous 6, with Adam Sandler and Terry Crews. The film is one of the few films in history to have a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And these were just the films that actually made it to the screen, he was actually attached to numerous big movies, especially action flicks, that didn’t make it out of development for whatever reason.
In 2016, he had supporting television roles on Ryan Murphy’s Scream Queens and the UK series, Cuckoo. He appeared on the latter until 2018, but all in all, Lautner had not had a substantial film or television project since 2016.
Meanwhile, both Stewart and Pattinson have both conquered the independent film world with cult-favorite and critically-acclaimed works. In more recent years, they have both appeared in more mainstream, tentpole movies as well. Lautner, however, has not.
Back in 2015, The Hollywood Reporter said, “Insiders point to 2011’s Abduction [as the beginning of the downturn], which was critically panned. 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.”
What went wrong and how he can definitely make a comeback
At the young age of 27, Lautner has many, many years of Hollywood left in him. Was it the fact that he went for big action films instead of independent films like Pattinson and Stewart the reason why he’s not as famous as they are now? It could be the reason.
However, there could be a lot of factors at play and we aren’t exactly sure why those films didn’t work and why Lautner hasn’t picked up any big roles since then. But maybe he’s right where he wants to be. Even with the roles in Scream Queens and Cuckoo, it seemed like Lautner wanter to be in a position to do smaller, supporting roles, as opposed to being a leading man
In 2016, he essentially said that he felt “pigeonholed” by his work in the Twilight franchise and wanted to do other things outside of acting. “For me the biggest thing is just surrounding myself with people that I love, just spending time, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing as long as I’m with my friends and my family. You know, I could be sitting in a cardboard box and that’s where I’m happiest,” he said.
As an insider told The Hollywood Reporter back in 2015: “It’s not easy to move out of the shadow of a hit like Twilight. But he’s still very young. There’s time for Taylor to become more than just Jacob.”
So don’t be surprised if you see Lautner back on the big or small screen very soon. Plus, given the fact that he has worked on a Ryan Murphy project, it would make so much sense that he appeared on one of the many films and television series that the creator has in development mat Netflix.