Taylor Lautner has stepped into the spotlight as a passionate young adult star in recent years, but before he stepped into the role of Jacob Black in last year's "Twilight," he was best known for his performance as the title Sharkboy in Robert Rodriguez's 3-D film "The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl." Though Taylor still has many more films in the future to bless us with his beefy biceps, we're honoring the 17-year-old actor with a look back through his younger years.
Click the picture below to follow the evolution of Taylor Lautner in pictures! (You'll be surprised at how quickly he looks so little.)
Long before his career as an actor began, the Michigan-native was much better known as an impressive force in the martial arts community. He practiced karate from ages six to 13. At age 11, he ranked number one in the world for NASKA's Black Belt Open Forms, Musical Weapons, Traditional Weapons and Traditional Forms and at age 12 won the Junior World Championships (if you haven't watched this kick-butt clip already, do it!).
But it was also at age nine that Taylor made his first acting appearing (in the made-for-TV movie "Shadow Fury"). Three years later he landed a few bit parts in shows like "The Bernie Mac Show" and "My Wife and Kids," before finally scoring his breakout role of Sharkboy in 2005 at age 13.
His next big role came later that year as Eliot Murtaugh in "Cheaper By The Dozen 2," but after that he fell off the face of the acting world for another three years. Taylor then played Christian Slater's son in the short-lived "My Own Worst Enemy," which debuted in fall 2008, and also scored the role of Jacob Black in "Twilight."
Taylor's role in "Twilight" was his first film appearance in two years, during which time he was in high school. Taylor placed out of high school in his junior year (2008/2009), and has since been taking college classes.
After gaining 30 pounds of muscle, Taylor will appear in the "Twilight" sequel, "New Moon," as well as the later installments "Eclipse" and "Breaking Dawn." He is also slated to appear in the 2010 romantic comedy "Valentine's Day," and has been romantically attached to costar Taylor Swift. If Taylor makes as big of a splash in "New Moon" as his costars say he will, there are sure to be many more roles to come.
For more from the "New Moon" cast and to see an exclusive clip from the film, check out MTV's "Ulalume: Howling at New Moon" on Friday, October 30 at 9 p.m. ET — and check MTV.com at 10 p.m. to see the clip exclusively online!