Page last updated at 12:07 GMT, Thursday, 8 January 2009

Lautner signs for Twilight sequel

Taylor Lautner
Lautner also starred in The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D

Teenage star Taylor Lautner will hold onto his role as mysterious Jacob Black in the forthcoming sequel to horror hit Twilight, New Moon.

There had been speculation that the 16-year-old would be replaced with a more menacing actor for the adaptation, which is due out in the US in November.

But director Chris Weitz said: "My first instinct that Taylor was, is, and should be Jacob."

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson also return as doomed young lovers.

Stewart plays high school student Bella Swan, who falls in love with teenage vampire Edward Cullen, played by Pattinson.

The role of Jacob Black - a friend of Bella - is a relatively small one in Twilight, but is expanded in New Moon, which sees him embroiled in a battle between wolves and vampires.

"My experience on Twilight was wonderful and I am looking forward to continuing on with the team for New Moon," said Lautner. "I have been working hard preparing for the physicality that this role will require and can't wait to get started with the filming of New Moon."

'Extraordinary changes'

New Moon is the second of the series of four books by Stephenie Meyer, which all feature the character of Jacob Black.

"I'm very happy that Taylor will be playing Jacob Black in New Moon and that he's doing so with the enthusiastic support of [distributor] Summit, the producers and Stephenie Meyer," said Weitz.

"The characters in Stephenie's books go through extraordinary changes of circumstance and also appearance; so it is not surprising that there has been speculation about whether the same actor would portray a character who changes in so many surprising ways throughout the series."

He added that Lautner was "emotionally right for the part".

Twilight, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, topped the US box office in November after taking $69.6 million (46.2 million), a record for a female director.

It topped the UK box office upon its release in 19 December, and has so far taken 7.8 million.

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