Not only was Taylor Lautner the highest-paid teenage actor last year (thanks in large part to his $7.5 million deal for Stretch Armstrong), he also just came in at the #9 spot on Vanity Fair's list of highest paid adult actors as well. So while I pause to re-examine my life, consider the fact that Lautner has yet to headline a film of his own.
His seemingly overnight success and passionate fan base exist predominantly because of his involvement with the Twilight franchise - an already established brand that turned its relatively unknown cast into major stars. In terms of selling a movie on his own, however, Lautner is completely untested. Yet, studios are counting on the fact that his loyal followers will continue to flock to his post-Twilight endeavors - as evidenced by the fact that the 19-year-old already has several high profile projects lined up.
His first solo outing will be Abduction - a thriller from Lionsgate that opens on September 23rd. He's also attached to the lead role in an adaptation of Catherine Fisher's popular sci-fi/fantasy novel Incarceron and also has an untitled spy film set up at New Regency. Throw Stretch Armstrong into the mix and it looks like Lautner's going to be wrapped up for most of 2011.
Now Deadline is reporting that Michael Bay will be helping Lautner start 2012 with a bang. Bay and his Platinum Dunes production company have evidently been courting Lautner pretty aggressively for some time now, and it looks like a Bay/Lautner team-up is officially upon us.
The duo sent out a script to all the major studios on Tuesday night and by Wednesday morning a bidding war had already started. There aren't any details on what the film is about, but one of Deadline's sources claims it's Mr. & Mrs. Smith meets Wanted.
To pen this mysterious script, Bay and Lautner handpicked Jason Hall - a screenwriter whose sole credit is the Ashton Kutcher/Anne Heche comedy Spread. The Mr. & Mrs. Smith meets Wanted log line is fairly generic, but since both of those films feature assassins perhaps that's one element of the story.
Hollywood has clearly already decided that Lautner has the potential to be an A-list star and headlining a Michael Bay movie definitely isn't going to hurt his career. You can't fault Lautner for striking while the iron's hot, but it is interesting to compare his list of projects to Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson's slate of films. Pattinson appears anxious to disassociate himself from his heartthrob status, and Lautner - well, he seems to know what's he's good at.
Bay's next film will be Transformers: Dark of the Moon which hits theaters on July 1, 2011.
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