Not all actor's careers die, some just fade away. Taylor Lautner continues to be an instantly recognizable face to this day, but few people can remember anything he's appeared in aside from his most memorable role — that of teenage heartthrob Jacob in the 'Twilight' series. We take a look at Lautner's career, its highlights and how he went from Hollywood's highest-paid teen actor to relative obscurity.
Lautner began his career at an early age, gaining work in various roles across films and animated properties such as 'My Wife and Kids', 'Duck Dodgers' and 'What's New, Scooby-Doo?' His biggest break came with 'The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D'. While the movie itself was largely unpopular, it had its following, and Lautner earned a nomination for the 2006 Young Artist Awards for Best Performance in a Feature Film by a Leading Actor. It was his first real claim to fame.
His biggest breakthrough, however, was being cast in a starring role for the highly popular 'Twilight' series, based on a series of romance novels of the same name. He landed the role of Jacob Black, a Native American high schooler whose tribe turned into werewolves, a clan dead set against the vampires that had come to town. The film was a commercial success, bringing him fame and fortune in a three-part saga. Lautner worked hard to keep his role. He was nearly recast for the second film as the director was looking for someone bulkier to portray the transformed teenager. Lautner put himself through extensive weight training, gaining around 30 pounds of pure muscle, to the astonishment of his castmates.
Lautner was an instant teen idol, the new face of the ever-popular Team Jacob vs Team Edward debates online, and a subject of much adoration by his fans. In 2010, he was the highest-paid teenager in Hollywood. He was even rumored to be dating Taylor Swift at one point and was consistently admired for his muscled up body, in ways that became somewhat problematic considering his young age. In December 2009, he controversially appeared in a wet t-shirt on the cover of 'Rolling Stone', at the age of 17. In his appearance on 'Valentine's Day', he reportedly objected to a topless scene, stating that while he was willing to take his shirt off, he wanted to do it in a way that made sense and didn't just capitalize on his good looks.
While his good looks haven't faded, his stardom definitely has. Lautner was supposed to appear in 'Northern Lights' and two 'Max Steel' films — both of which he had to pull out of due to scheduling conflicts. He was set to earn $7.5M for his role in 'Northern Lights'. A later film of his, called 'Abduction', was heavily criticized for his performance. He had a minor role in the Adam Sandler film 'Grown-Ups 2', a movie where his character was, ironically, nothing but a character who looked good and did flips.
Lautner managed to grab a role in the long-running 'Cuckoo' series, far from Hollywood. The show is a British sitcom where he replaced Andy Samberg as his long lost son. He also appeared on 'Scream Queens', but aside from those two series, he has had no major appearances since 'Twilight'. Whether because of his own disinterest for the spotlight or people's fading interest in him, Lautner's star burned out quickly. With his former co-star Robert Pattinson about to portray the new Batman, it's safe to say that Hollywood, at least, is Team Edward.