EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that the Taylor Lautner juggernaut continues in Hollywood as this 18-year-old Twilight Saga action star and teen heartthrob just keeps booking movie after movie. Last year’s highest paid teenage actor (for a reported $7.5 million pay day in Universal’s Stretch Armstrong with Hasbro and Imagine) is starting off the new year by producing and starring in 2 new studio tentpoles during 2011. I can scoop that Fox 2000 and New Regency each coughed up an 8-digit paycheck to work with 8-pack-abs Tay-Tay for his two only available time slots this year. Meanwhile, three top producers including Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes are circling Taylor to star in their movies for 2012 and beyond. That’s because of Lautner’s enormous Twi-hard fan base and aggressive promotion of his films, and not because of any solo box office he’s done yet.
Fox 2000 and the filmmakers now are looking to cast his love interest in Incarceron, and I’m told the frontrunners are Blake Lively, Jennifer Lawrence, and Emma Watson. John Palermo Productions will produce (Wolverine, Drive) with Lautner’s own Quick Six production banner., Lautner will play the lead role from Catherine Fisher’s sci-fi/fantasy novel which last March went to Fox in a rights bidding war after the book was published in the U.S. this November and jumped onto The New York Times bestseller list. Lautner plays a character who lives his entire life in a savage and futuristic prison society. The screenwriting duo of Adam Cooper and Bill Collage are writing. (They are also scripting Moby Dick for Timur Bekmanbetov and Moses for FOX and producer Peter Chernin. So why not for Lautner, too?)
The 2nd Lautner vehicle is an as–yet-unnamed international spy thriller set up at New Regency described to me as “The Bourne Identity for the next generation.” The story is loosely based on the exploits of Juval Aviv, a former Israeli Mossad agent who was the inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-nominated Munich. Lautner will produce with Alexandra Milchan (who is currently producing The Wolf Of Wall Street with Leonardo DiCaprio), daughter of Israeli mogul Arnon Milchan who is New Regency’s founder.
Taylor is scheduled to finish shooting the Twilight Saga’s Breaking Dawn this spring. And Fox 2000 and New Regency grabbed his two available slots for 2011. But insiders tell me that several producers are now trying to woo him to their projects: The team of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Chicago, Hairspray) who have an untitled project; Scott Stuber who has Demon Wars, a book written by bestselling author R.A. Slavatore. Lautner would play a reluctant hero in this epic fantasy adventure confronting the dark tides of destiny in his search for justice and peace; and Michael Bay whose production company Platinum Dunes is aggressively trying to make a movie this year with Taylor’s limited availability.
All this — and yet Taylor won’t even turn 19 until February 11th, and Hollywood won’t find out the kid’s non-Twilight Saga box office power until Lionsgate releases its thriller Abduction later this year on September 23rd.
- Fox 2000 Does Taylor Lautner Deal For ‘Incarceron’
- Lionsgate Buys Taylor-Attached ‘Abduction’
- Universal Pays Taylor Lautner $7.5M For ‘Stretch Armstrong’
- Studios Battle Over Taylor Lautner Project (Yes, Another One!)
- Taylor Lautner Gets Another Film Franchise: ‘Stretch Armstrong’
- Taylor Lautner Now Hollywood’s Highest Paid Teenage Actor