'New Moon' Casting News: Michael Copon, Ben Barnes Push For Roles In 'Twilight' Sequel

Copon is hoping to replace Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black, while Barnes aims for mind-reading vampire Aro.

When Bella Swan moved to Forks, Washington, she found her whole life in upheaval. The embittered teenager was forced to replace her old friends with new ones and found her everyday comforts replaced by uncertainty, doubt and fear for the future.

These days, "Twilight" fans are feeling closer to their heroine than they ever thought possible.

Following last week's dismissal and replacement of Catherine Hardwicke, this weekend began with a press release from Summit Entertainment officially appointing "New Moon" director Chris Weitz to the job. Suspicious in its omission of Taylor Lautner, the release seemed to all but confirm Twilighter whispers that Hardwicke won't be the last "Twilight" talent replaced before the sequel.

So where does the series go from here?

MTV News can confirm that 26-year-old "Scorpion King 2" actor Michael Copon [pronounced "COPE-on"] is one of several actors Weitz is considering to play the new, larger Jacob Black. A representative for Copon told us that they're making a full effort to land the high-profile gig. And in a bit of 21st-century self-publicity, the actor has even recently updated his Facebook status with messages like: "Michael Copon [is] in a Twilight Zone!" and "Michael Copon is the older Jacob Black!"

Copon's representative confirmed to MTV News that the Facebook page is run by the actor himself and that those are indeed his words.

Approached for comment on Lautner's omission from the "New Moon" press release, Summit confirmed that it was not a typographical error. "The casting decision in regards to the character Jacob Black has yet to be made," a representative told MTV News.

But even once Copon (or whoever else) is officially announced as the new Jacob, Weitz still has many other key casting decisions to make and an extremely brief amount of time in which to make them. With barely 12 weeks until cameras are due to begin rolling, the "Golden Compass" filmmaker needs to find faces to portray several key characters -- including the peace-keeping, Italian vampires known as the Volturi.

With the buzz building for these roles, MTV News has confirmed that 27-year-old "Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" heartthrob Ben Barnes is throwing his hat into the ring. The actor is already quite popular with the "Twilight" fanbase and shares the same manager as both Copon and "Twilight" star Cam Gigandet. Barnes is believed to be campaigning for the role of Aro, a mind-reading vampire whose "New Moon" encounter with Edward and Bella helps shape their destiny together.

Where does the "Twilight" franchise go from here? At the moment, the only person who knows is Weitz himself. Stay tuned to MTV News for the very latest on Copon, Barnes and any other names yet to emerge.

Check out everything we've got on "New Moon."

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