Taylor Lautner’s werewolf performance in “New Moon” netted him his own line of shirtless “Twilight” toys from NECA and legions of female fans. But his flips and mixed martial arts skills during his opening monologue on “Saturday Night Live” last year brought one of Hasbro’s most famous toy lines, Stretch Armstrong , to him when Universal offered up the title role in the movie adaptation.
“He is a real actor,” Hasbro CEO and “Stretch Armstrong” producer Brian Goldner told MTV News. “And it was so clear to us as we saw him in ‘Twilight.’ And we look for insights from every audience about where we should go with our brands, so when I saw my daughter and all of her friends go crazy for him, and then I saw the background that he was also this mixed martial arts expert in that ‘Saturday Night Live’ piece … that was the real deal.”
Goldner’s daughter may have sold Lautner to her dad better than any Hollywood agent could have, and the Hasbro head wants to use that appeal to attract older females to theaters as well.
“He’s got a great fan following, literally generations of girls and grown women who think he’s great too,” Goldner said. “So you’ve got little girls, teenage girls, older women who like him, but also he’s a guy who knows how to kick some butt.”
And from Goldner’s description, Lautner’s character sounds like a small leap from “SNL” and his everyday life.
“He’s an accidental superhero. Really what he is, is he’s going to be a guy much like himself,” Goldner explained. “A guy who knows mixed martial arts, a guy who is going off to college, a guy who’s trying to have a freshman year at college — something along those lines — and everything kind of ensues from there.”
Though plans for a topless Taylor Lautner edition of Stretch Armstrong in toy stores haven’t been announced yet, Goldner said such dolls and figures “would be in the realm of possibility” — even if Mattel toys from the “New Moon” actor’s other superhero film, “Max Steel,” end up on shelves too. Video games may be another part of the rollout, with “Stretch Armstrong” looking to shoot in 3-D and emphasize all the extra perspectives it can around Lautner’s moves.
“We thought, ‘What a great character to take into 3-D, Stretch, because it not only informs the movie but can really inform the entire play of the movie,’ ” Goldner said. “You can imagine what Wii games can look like, you can imagine what toys can look like. You know, you can imagine so much of the fun of this movie that will be bringing it to life as a 3-D property.”
As for how many of those 3-D scenes will display Lautner’s famous abs, the producer couldn’t offer anything more than passing the responsibility on to the “Stretch Armstrong” creators.
“I leave that to the filmmakers to decide,” he said.