The changes in Jacob's physical appearance between the Twilight novels are so great that Taylor Lautner was due to be recast for The Twilight Saga: New Moon...that is until he proved to directors that his shapeshifting abilities could give Jacob Black's a run for their money!
Lautner was so dedicated to possibly keeping his role as Bella's werewolf love interest that he weight-trained to put on a staggering 30 pounds (14kg) of pure muscle, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Below is an investigation into just how much Lautner physically reinvented himself for the role and a little look at the competition who were eager to knock the budding star off his perch.
When Bella first lays eyes on Jacob in Twilight, he looks like your typical high school student in physique. At just 17 years old at the time, it's easy to see how directors worried they might have to recast Lautner in order to give us the imposing onscreen werewolf we had all been hankering for.
New Moon director Chris Weitz explained that, although he didn't want to let Lautner go, he definitely had his reservations about the young actor being able to pull off a hulkish werewolf, he explained that:
The doubts came up because he had very few scenes in the first movie and also because he's described as being 6'5" in the second book. So there were some reasonable facts that we had to come to grips with. I liked the sweetness of his character and I knew that it was easier to take an actor in the direction of anger and rage than it was to find someone who was kinda a hunk or 6'5" Native American and somehow turn him into that very sweet-natured persona that Taylor brings out so well to boot.
The Transformation of a Lifetime
Despite all of the pressure piled on him, Taylor maintained a positive attitude and he was always convinced that he would manage to pull of a jaw-dropping physical transformation, he told the press that:
Honestly, I knew where my character went on 'New Moon' and that's all I tried to stay focused on. I couldn't control things outside. I couldn't control the media. But I could control what I was doing to portray Jacob Black correctly, so that's what I stayed focused on the whole entirely time.
But exactly how did he managed to turn himself from a skinny boy into a hulking hunk so quickly? Eating. Eating A LOT. Lautner explained his routine went something like:
I was in the gym about five days a week, because it's important to get your recover time and not overworking yourself... I was trying to put on weight and if was in the gym too much, I'd be burning the calories I'm trying to take in. The most important thing was the eating side. Everybody thinks it was the actual getting in the gym. That was easy. I was motivated. So getting in the gym was easy for me. But the eating was pretty hard. It was just eating a lot. We found out that I had to consume at least 3200 calories a day just to maintain and I'm not trying to maintain. I'm trying to gain. So I had to eat more than that and putting something in your mouth every two hours and I'm busy. I'm in downtown LA going from meeting to meeting, so there's not time for me to be eating. So I literally would have to carry a little baggy full of beef patties and raw almonds and sweet potatoes. So it's not like every two hours I'm eating ice cream. It was difficult
Before Taylor's part in New Moon was secure, Michael Copon was reportedly the main competitor to snatch the role of Jacob Black.
During interviews at the time, Copon seemed pretty convinced he was going to manage to get the role through sheer size alone, he told J-14 that:
Right now I’m close to 200 pounds of muscle. Taylor’s [Lautner] probably what, 140, if he’s lucky? I’m already 200 pounds, so there’s no need for me to get any bigger. Plus he’s 5’6″ and I’m 6’2″. In the book, he grows eight inches and I’m exactly eight inches taller than Taylor. Huge difference.
Naturally, rumors that someone else was going to slip into Lautner's glossy pelt sent the Twihards wild and they were almost unanimously opposed to seeing Copon nab the role. Although many criticized his somewhat arrogant interviews while he was potentially up for the role, after Lautner's hard work in the gym paid off, Copon issued a simple statement saying:
There are no hard feelings between Taylor and me -- we are friends
New Moon, New Look
Of course, a major selling point of New Moon was Jacob's awesome new look and the video above gives you a reminder of just how buff he had become in the space of one movie.
By the time Breaking Dawn hit the silver screen, team Jacob was just as valid a choice as team Edward thanks to Lautner's dedication to his tank-like physique and I think the video above is testament to his hard work!