It would be hard to imagine Twilight without Jacob. What’s more, it would be near impossible to imagine Jacob without Taylor Taylor Lautner. But in the early days of what would become a four-part movie series, the actor nearly lost out on his most iconic role. (Sorry, Sharkboy.)
Lautner joined Twilight alongside Kirsten Stewart and Robert Pattinson in the first romance movie. But whereas the rest of the Twilight cast were shoe-ins to return, he recently revealed that he had to work incredibly hard to come back as Jacob for what was, retrospectively, an insane reason.
“Yeah, they called me and said ‘Thank you for your participation, but we are recasting you for the rest of the franchise’,” Lautner told the Call Her Daddy podcast. “Their plan was to just cast a regular 16-year-old, which I was at the time, and then they were going to cast someone in their mid-twenties to be Jacob for the rest of the franchise.”
The reason for the change-up was due to a huge shift in the character between the first and second Twilight movies. In the original novels, Jacob undergoes the transformation from regular 16-year-old boy into a transforming (and jacked) werewolf.
The change from scrawny kid to bulky half-animal was something that clearly influenced the producers, since they then wanted to look at recasting Lautner altogether in order to replace him with an older, more brawny actor.
Thankfully, Lautner had already thought ahead, and underwent the transformation needed to win him back the role a second time.
“I had to fight for my role in the franchise and, thankfully, I had already hit the gym the second we finished filming the first movie,” he continued. “I knew if I was going to continue playing him, I’d need to.”
“When my team got the call they said ‘Have you seen him recently?’ and they said ‘No, why?’ and my team said ‘You might want to take a meeting with him or something’.”
He then revealed that even after all this, he still had to reaudition anyway. But with Kirsten Stewart having his back, he managed to keep the role he’d originated, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Honestly, the idea of Jacob being played by another actor from the second movie onward is baffling. Over the course of the teen movie series, Jacob became an important part of the Twilight machine, just as much as Bella and Edward. Part of that, of course, is down to Lautner’s empathetic and pitch-perfect portrayal of the love-sick Jacob.
And, honestly, would “Bella, where the hell have you been loca?” have become as iconic if not for Lautner’s delivery? We don’t think so.
For more, check out our guide to the Twilight TV series (we can’t wait), and check out our features on why you’re wrong about the worst Twilight movie, and the six stores we’re desperate for the Twilight TV series to tell. What’s more, we’ve got lists of all the new movies and best movies you need to watch now!