Actor to reprise role in Summit's 'New Moon'

Despite rumors that he would be replaced, Taylor Lautner will reprise his role as Jacob Black in “New Moon,” Summit Entertainment’s sequel to its hit “Twilight.”

Summit and director Chris Weitz made the announcement Wednesday.

In “New Moon,” the Jacob Black character becomes a central figure in the plot as Bella Swan is drawn into the world of the werewolves, the ancestral enemies of vampires.

Weitz noted there has been speculation about whether Lautner could portray the character who goes through many changes physically, including growing taller and bulkier and aging 10 years. The 16-year-old Lautner has been spending time in the gym, trying to add 19 pounds of muscle.

Weitz added that Lautner is “emotionally right” for the part.

Lautner joins castmates Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in “New Moon,” set to begin production soon for a Nov. 20 release.

The vampire thriller’s a ready-made franchise for Summit with four books in Stephenie Meyer’s series, which have sold more than 17 million copies worldwide. “Twilight” has grossed over $177 million domestically and another $95 million overseas.

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