With "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" actor [movieperson id="373803"]Taylor Lautner[/movieperson]'s upcoming movie schedule seemingly stretched to the limit, the budding action star has reportedly decided to drop out of Paramount's "Max Steel" in favor of Universal's [movie id="419800"]"Stretch Armstrong."[/movie]
According to New York magazine, the 18-year-old will pursue "Armstrong," based on toy manufacturer Hasbro's celebrated action-figure franchise, instead of "Max Steel," which is based on a product from Mattel, a rival of Hasbro's. Although Lautner was set to headline both films, the young "Twilight" actor allegedly sided with Hasbro due to the company's impressive track record in Hollywood.
"[In] the weeks after signing on to play Steel, Lautner became increasingly convinced that Hasbro was playing its hand better than Mattel," states the report. "Thanks to WME [Entertainment, Lautner's agency], Hasbro was moving with far greater speed through Hollywood's development maze than Mattel, not only setting up projects, but quickly moving them forward."
Hasbro has already seen movies based on their popular "Transformers" and "G.I. Joe" franchises. Additionally, the toy company has production plans for "Candy Land," "Battleship" and "Risk" adaptations. As one insider told the magazine, "When you sign up to make a movie with Hasbro, you know it will be in theaters a year later."
The report also states that "Monsters vs. Aliens" director Rob Letterman is speaking with Universal Pictures about directing "Stretch Armstrong" for the studio.
Lautner landed the title role in "Stretch Armstrong" earlier this month. He'll star as an uptight spy who is exposed to a formula that allows him to stretch his body beyond normal human limitations. Given his new powers, the hero is forced to reconsider not only his own crime-fighting tactics, but also how he goes about his everyday life.
"He's an accidental superhero. Really what he is, is he's going to be a guy much like [Lautner] himself," explained Hasbro CEO and "Stretch Armstrong" producer Brian Goldner in a recent exclusive interview with MTV News. "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."
The Universal film is slated for a 3-D release in 2012. In addition to "Armstrong," Lautner is signed on to star in "Cancun," a martial-arts-focused action film.
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