Taylor Lautner is set to make the jump from lovelorn werewolf to bona fide leading man with Abduction – a thriller about a young man who recognizes his baby picture on a missing persons website and realizes that the couple who raised him aren't actually his parents.
Shawn Christensen's original spec script for the film caused a bidding war between several major studios, from which Lionsgate emerged the winner. Abduction was quickly ushered into production to take advantage of Lautner's brief window of availability before he began work on the final installments in the Twilight franchise – Breaking Dawn Parts 1 & 2, and now the first Abduction trailer has debuted online.
Screenwriter Jeffrey Nachmanoff (The Day After Tomorrow) was brought on board to polish Christensen's original draft and John Singleton (Four Brothers) signed on to direct the film. Abduction's impressive supporting cast includes Sigourney Weaver, Maria Bello, Alfred Molina, and Lily Collins (Snow White).
The plot might sound slightly reminiscent of Caroline B. Cooney's The Face on the Milk Carton book series, but Abduction places a lot more emphasis on action and adventure – think of it more like The Bourne Identity for the teen set.
This will be the first time that Lautner takes on a leading role where he doesn't have the support of an established brand behind him. Will his name be enough to pull audiences into theaters? And will his appeal extend beyond the devoted legion of Twi-Hards?
Lautner recently appeared on MTV to premiere the first trailer for Abduction and now you can check it out below and decide for yourself how the young actor's career might fare after the Twilight franchise wraps up:
Between Abduction, Stretch Armstrong, the upcoming adaptation of Incarceron, and a planned collaboration with Michael Bay, it seems like Lautner is definitely being groomed to become an action star. I'm not really a fan of the Twilight books or movies – but just because I'm not a part of its target demographic, I don't think it would be fair for me to write off Lautner just because of his involvement in that series.
He may have to work a little harder to convince audiences who have been dismissive of his work in the Twilight films, but Abduction has a pretty substantial support system in place. Lautner is surrounded by a talented ensemble and although Singleton's resume as a filmmaker is slightly hit or miss, the action glimpsed in the trailer at least looks coherent and refreshingly devoid of the shaky-cam aesthetic.
The film's hook is interesting, but the majority of the trailer is a little underwhelming. I'm still willing to give Lautner a chance, but it's pretty clear that Abduction knows the type of audience its chasing. If nothing else, Alfred Molina is always fun to watch.
Abduction is scheduled to hit theaters on September 23, 2011.