Taylor Lautner’s Post-’Twilight’ Career Is On The Fast Track

The young star has signed on to four movies in four months — but which will be the best fit?

That smile! That ever-present tan! Those abs! In just a few short months, Taylor Lautner has gone from the little kid in “Twilight” to the man in “New Moon” to the heartthrob wanted by millions of fans — and all of Hollywood. Now, in the four months since the second “Twilight Saga” film made him a star, the 18-year-old has lined up an equal number of high-profile projects.

But which will stretch his acting talents? Which might make him as popular with boys as he is with girls? And which could launch a signature franchise outside of Stephenie Meyer’s realm? For the answers to those and more questions, let’s take a closer look at the upcoming slate of one of Hollywood’s fastest-rising young stars.

“Max Steel” – The first post-”Twilight” starring role to break for Taylor, this proposed action series would star Lautner as the incarnation of a Mattel toy. Although the stunts would play into his wheelhouse, the character couldn’t be any more different from Jacob Black: Josh McGrath is a 19-year-old extreme sports star accidentally exposed to a swarm of microscopic nanomachines that give him superhuman powers. Fighting against super-powered villains, he reemerges as Max Steele, a seeming hybrid of Xander Cage, “The Six Million Dollar Man” and Cody Banks. Although the character is little-known in the States, he is based on a CGI-animated show that ran a few years ago, and if Lautner’s movie is a hit, it could possibly spawn a franchise.

“Cancun” – Overseen by “Twilight” producer Wyck Godfrey, this flick is being targeted as Taylor’s first chance outside of the “Saga” to showcase the impressive martial-arts skills he’s been honing since before he had body hair. Lautner plays a teenager who takes off to Mexico for spring break with some buddies — but when a drug cartel kidnaps his girlfriend, it’s time to kick some ass and ask questions later. Unfortunately, Taylor is signing up for so many projects — with two “Breaking Dawn” films still likely this fall — that something might have to go, and “Cancun” could be that film. But if not, Taylor should start stocking up on the sunscreen, immediately.

“Stretch Armstrong” – Possibly the most promising of Taycob’s upcoming films, this rubbery character has been flirting with Hollywood for so long that such folks as Jackie Chan, Tim Allen and Danny DeVito were attached to play him around the turn of the century. Taylor signed on at the beginning of this month for the action movie — which will be made in 3-D and likely hit theaters in 2012. A mix between Reed Richards, Plastic Man and James Bond, Stretch is an uptight secret agent who takes an elongating concoction that makes him a superhero — but gives him hard-to-control superpowers. Based on the goofy elastic toy that every kid in the ’80s owned and every dog loved to chew, “Stretch Armstrong” will likely hit theaters after “Max Steel” and could also potentially become a franchise. It remains to be seen whether his weiner-dog sidekick Fetch Armstrong will also make the big screen.

“Abduction” – Imagine that when you’re drinking your next carton of milk, you look on the side at the picture and see … yourself? That’s the ripe premise behind this thriller, the latest film that Taylor has signed on to do . In the film, he plays a young man who realizes he has been living a lie when he discovers his own baby picture on a missing-persons Web site. As he sets out to determine the truth behind his origin story, Taylor will aim to bring the thrills as fast as he did that six-pack for “New Moon.”

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