Youth Impact Report 2011: Bigscreen Kids

Impact: The top-earning teen thesp produced his first solo starring vehicle, “Abduction.”
Next: “Breaking Dawn,” parts 1 and 2, divides the final book in Stephenie Meyer’s “The Twilight Saga” into two tentpole releases for Summit.

Thanks to the billion-dollar-grossing “Twilight” franchise, Taylor Lautner already has a lock on the young girl demo. Looking to expand that core audience to include young men, the 19-year-old heartthrob took a calculated gamble with Lionsgate’s recent $35 million action-thriller “Abduction,” in which he starred as the teenage son-on-the-run of a CIA agent. And while the film’s anemic opening (barely $11 million) suggests he isn’t yet ready to be launched into action-hero stardom, Lautner, reportedly the highest-paid teen actor in town, has plenty of other options in front of him.

The former karate champion, whose credits include “Valentine’s Day” and “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3D,” is actively looking to move more into producing. His shingle, Quick Six Entertainment, co-produced “Abduction” and is attached to Universal’s “Stretch Armstrong” and the sci-fi drama “Incarceron.” And then of course there are the two remaining “Twilight” series films, both directed by Bill Condon.

“I’d never worked with Taylor before, but right away I saw that he has that special quality of being very present on screen, and his big, vivid real-life personality translates intact to the screen,” Condon says. “The camera just loves his face, but he’s not just a pretty face — he also has a very strong work ethic. He had some great ideas and a lot of input into the films and his character. Of course, he knows Jacob Black better than I ever could, so I was just working from him a lot.”

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