While the second installment of the "Twilight Saga" continues to ride high at the box office, we'd be remiss if we didn't check in with
MTV: What did you see as your biggest challenge heading into the "New Moon" shoot?
Taylor Lautner: Basically, my job was to continue what I started in "Twilight," which was [depicting] this extremely happy, friendly, outgoing guy who is best friends with Bella. I had to continue that for the first half of the film, but as soon as I transform, I snap and become a completely different person. I'm dealing with my issues, and it's really hard for me.
MTV: So it wasn't just the physical requirements, in your mind.
Lautner: Jacob transforms a lot in "New Moon," not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well. So it was a matter of getting to the gym and eating the right foods and a lot of it, but also reading and studying the book and my character over and over and over again so I could have this character down — because he changes in many, many different ways.
MTV: When you were working out and bulking up, how did you block out all the pressure?
Lautner: I knew where my character went in "New Moon," and that's all I tried to stay focused on. I couldn't control things outside, I couldn't control the media, but I could control what I was doing to portray Jacob Black correctly. So that's what I stayed focused on the whole entire time.
MTV: There are a lot of shirtless moments in "New Moon," and some critics have called them gratuitous. As an actor, do you find it hard to not also laugh at some of those scenes?
Lautner: [When Jacob] wipes her blood? Seriously, I start laughing so hard every time I see [that scene]. "Oh, you're bleeding? Let me fix it." It's so embarrassing. Here's the thing: There's a reason he's not wearing clothes all the time. When he transforms, all his clothes get shredded; he can't help it. And when he goes into the woods to get something to put on, so he's not naked, it's just a ripped pair of jean shorts. And he's also hot — [his temperature is] 108 degrees, so that's another reason.
MTV: Now that you've got all these muscles, will you only accept those kinds of roles from here on out?
Lautner: Look, I love this character, I love this story. Putting on the weight and not wearing much clothing was required by the role. A year from now, if I love a character that requires me to lose 40 pounds, I'm ready to do it.
MTV: What do you see as the key difference between fans who call themselves Team Edward and those who are Team Jacob?
Lautner: Well, Edward and Jacob are complete opposite guys. They are hot and cold. [He laughs.] Literally. I personally love Jacob and Bella's relationship, how they began as best friends and it starts to grow into something more and more. Both guys are in love with Bella. Both guys are always going to be there for Bella, and they're protective. Ultimately, I think it's about what kind of guy you like.
Check out everything we've got on "The Twilight Saga: New Moon."
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