Prepare for Taylor Lautner's scariest role yet! No, it's not on the horror-comedy "Scream Queens" or in another vampire-werewolf showdown. The "Twilight" alum will appear in his first major starring role in a drama when "Run the Tide" debuts in select theaters, On Demand and on Digital HD on Dec. 2. In the film, the 24-year-old portrays Reymond, a young man who's tasked with raising his younger brother while their mother serves a lengthy prison sentence. When she's released, Rey kidnaps his sibling and hits the road to the California coast rather than handing him over to their mom. Wonderwall.com caught up with Taylor in the lead-up to the film's release to get the scoop on why the project "terrified" him, how he channeled his relationship with his real-life little sister to bring Rey to life, what he's tried to teach her about being (un)cool, why he's not sure what's in store for him next and more. Keep reading for the highlights...
Taylor Lautner on why he wanted to make "Run the Tide": "When I started reading the script, I was instantly drawn to it. I could just feel that the writer put his heart on the page -- it's based off of his life. I just fell in love with the story and all the characters and their journeys. And I knew that it would be extremely challenging for me and a departure from anything I've done before. To be honest, it terrified me to say yes to doing this role. I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to do it. But that's kind of what attracted me to it. So I just held my breath and went for it."
On why it's important to take roles that challenge him: "You're never going to grow and find out things about yourself if you don't challenge yourself and just stay in one comfort zone. I found that out recently within the past couple years: I've chosen a few things that have scared me, and at the end of filming each of those projects, I'm so much more fulfilled as a person and as an actor than anything I'd ever done before."
On experimenting with different genres: "It's not really a strategy, but I find the most enjoyment in doing something completely different than what I've done before. So when I had the opportunity to do a very cool British television show called 'Cuckoo' with such an outside-the-box idea, it seemed strange at first. But when I went for it, it was one of the best things I've ever done, and I learned so much from that. Then I was able to take that experience and do an Adam Sandler film ['The Ridiculous 6'] and 'Scream Queens.' Comedies were new for me, but I definitely learned a lot more about myself that I hadn't known before. For the future, I don't know. I feel like you don't really know [what you'll do next] until you see it. Then you instantly know once you come across it and can say, 'This is exactly what I want to do.' To be honest, I'm not quite sure what that is."
On drawing upon his own experience as a big brother for "Run the Tide": "That is the biggest thing that I could relate to: Rey and Oliver's relationship. [My character Rey] is essentially a father figure to Oliver. He sacrificed half of his life raising him. Thankfully, I didn't have to do that with my sister because we have two amazing parents. But we are extremely close, and I'm very protective of her. We've been through a lot together, so, yeah, my relationship with my sister is one of the biggest things that I was able to draw on and apply to Rey and Oliver's relationship."
On the important life lessons he's tried to impart on his 18-year-old sister: "I probably give her advice without knowing it. She recently finished her high school years, and so she -- like any kid in high school -- has to deal with peer pressure and doing the things that come across as cool, and I just remember being like, 'Makena, the things in high school that are cool are not cool for the rest of your life. I know that's a foreign idea to you and you probably don't believe me, but I promise you, the cool kids in high school or the kids who are thought to be the cool kids who are doing stupid things right now, that's not cool for the rest of your life. It's just not worth it.' I was that annoying big brother. She probably didn't want to hear that."
On his most memorable road trip: "We weren't a big road-trip family, but the one that I remember -- which is a huge part of my life -- was when we moved from Michigan to Los Angeles for me to pursue this career. I think I was like 12 years old, and we made a road trip out of it. We packed everything in a Penske truck and drove it across the country from Michigan to L.A. in a matter of four or five days and kind of made a trip out of it and stopped along the way in different cities. That was kind of a monumental journey for my whole family."
On his favorite road trip movie: "'Tommy Boy.' Is that considered a road-trip movie? Then absolutely."