EXCLUSIVE: Anyone in Hollywood gnashing their teeth over how much 18-year-old Taylor Lautner has going on right now — well, here’s one more film project to chew on. (We know you’re complaining he hasn’t yet proven he can carry a film by himself, yet is on a salary trajectory rarely seen for someone so young. But the studios are still in hot pursuit. And it’s not our fault he’s in such demand…) Lionsgate won the bidding with the “most aggressive offer” for the Verve client Shawn Christensen‘s script Abduction with WME- and Management 360-repped Lautner attached. But that’s not all: we hear the screenplay sold for nearly $1 million in this sluggish spec script market. And the Twilight Saga teen’s new Tailor Made production company is producing as an equal partner with Roy Lee and The Gotham Group. (Tailor Made also is a producer on Universal’s Stretch Armstrong.) Here’s what else sources are telling us; in order to make Lautner’s July availability, Lionsgate will hurry to select a director and get a script polish by then, or Tailor Made will still produce but hire another actor for the lead.
Verve sent out the script to studios the night of February 10th — by 9 AM the next morning, 2 studios were ready to bid when the auction got going. The script has Lautner playing a teen who has long felt disconnected from his parents, and figures out why. That unleashes a chain of violent events and enters Bourne territory. Considering he just got on the Hollywood radar because of the Twilight Saga (imagine, he was almost recast before New Moon) and just days ago blew out the candles on his 18th birthday cake, Lautner with his 8-pack abs is the newest and youngest action star in a dizzying volume of movie deals made over recent weeks. He’s already the lead in two major studio superhero franchises — Universal’s Stretch Armstrong and Paramount’s Max Steel. As one of Deadline Hollywood’s more astute commenters noted: “Don’t hate the player. Hate the game.”
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