Other than that, he’s a normal kid who likes to ride his motorcycle, hang with his friends, wrestle on the high school team and live comfortably in the suburbs with two loving parents.
That’s where the normalcy ends. Soon, Nathan, played by Taylor Lautner, learns he’s not who he thinks he is, and is forced to run to save his own life. He is thrust into a world of covert espionage where the lies are finally revealed.
This is the story behind director John Singleton’s latest film, Abduction (Lionsgate), set to open nationwide Sept. 23.
The movie, written by Shawn Christensen, stars Taylor Lautner, Denzel Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, Alfred Molina, Lily Collins, Jason Isaacs, Maria Bello and Michael Nyqvist.
I recently caught up with Singleton (JS), Lautner (TL), Weaver (SW), Shawn Christensen (SC) and Molina (AM) to talk about the film.
Darlene Donloe: Why did you want to direct this film?
John Singleton: To show what I could do working with Taylor. I have a history of working with new talent. I like to bring an element of my personality to whomever I work with. He wanted me to do the movie.
DD: Why do you like working with young people?
JS: Because they listen to you. They are eager and have a lot to prove.
DD: You have young actors and some vets working in this movie.
JS: It’s phenomenal when you’re working with two vets. It’s like working with theater vets. They approach it as a play – they get it. They elevated the picture and brought something to the young people.
DD: You’ve done a couple of action movies.
JS: I love doing action. I like films that are weighty and have emotional jeopardy. It doesn’t work if you don’t care for the characters.
DD: What do you want to do now?
JS: Work more. I’ve spent the last five years sailing on the water in my boat and getting my kids out of high school and into college. I want to be prolific, do more pictures and another movie in the hood. A part of me wants to go back and do what I used to do.
Darlene Donloe: This movie seems to be right up your alley.
Taylor Lautner: The story and journey this character goes on, I thought, it’ll be exciting. I knew it would challenge me, especially emotionally.
DD: Tell me about working with John Singleton.
TL: Definitely familiar with previous works. We had a good time together. He’s amazing. He’s a good guy.
DD: You do a lot of stunts in this movie. Were you scared?
TL: The scariest thing was that I wasn’t scared at all.
DD: Talk about the training for the movie.
TL: I started boxing training three months before I went to Pittsburgh. I also did motorcycle and wrestling training. A lot of physical preparation and emotional preparation.
DD: How has fame changed you?
TL: I hope it doesn’t. I have this new life where I do what I love. I also have the same life I had before.
DD: What’s the best part of being Taylor Lautner? Also, what did you expect from showbiz and what did you get?
TL: I’m always looking to challenge myself. I didn’t expect anything. I was told it was the most competitive business. The best part about being me is to work with the people I’m working with. I’m fortunate to work with talent behind and in front of the camera.
DD: How old were you when you got started in the biz?
TL: I was 8-years-old. My karate instructor said I should give showbiz a shot. My family listened to him. We came out for a month. Of course, I fell in love with it.
DD: You’ve completed the Twilight movies.
TL: After playing a character so long, it’s a weird feeling. I had to soak it all in – it’s done. We won’t go back to live these characters.
Darlene Donloe: Sigourney, talk about working with John Singleton and the cast.
Sigourney Weaver: He’s a filmmaker I really admire. I also wanted to work with Taylor and Lily. I like intergenerational projects.
DD: Some actresses are sitting at home going, ‘what the hell,’ because they’re not working. You work all the time.
SW: I have five movies coming out soon with such an array of genres. I never know what I’m going to be offered. I realize now how much luck goes into a career.
DD: In Avatar you died. But, I have a feeling you’re coming back.
SW: As Jim (James Cameron) says, ‘no one dies in science fiction.’
Darlene Donloe: Why did you want to do this movie?
Alfred Molina: You mean besides the money. (laughter) Because I’ve never played a C.I.A. operative. I did do a television mini-series called, “The Company,” where I played a guy who actually existed, but this is fictional. I’ve never done anything like this before. Plus, I was working with a new generation of actors like Taylor and Lily.
DD: So tell me about working with John Singleton.
AM: Never worked with him before. I’m a fan of his movies. That was another part of my interest and desire to do the film. He (John) has an open and honest way of getting what he wants and needs.
DD: So he gave you some good pointers?
AM: Well, I have a cute story. There was a point when the scene just wasn’t working. I asked John what he thought we could do to make the scene work. He said, “maybe you could act better.” (laughter)
DD: So, were you the vet telling the youngsters how it’s done?
AM: You can take the easy road or a slightly different road. Hopefully you can offer them something and they can offer you something.
DD: You’ve been in this game a while. You could choose to do any role.
AM: I’m in my mid to late 50s. It’s easy to get complacent. Especially when everyone is telling you how great you are. I enjoy working.
Darlene Donloe: How do you feel about what John Singleton did with your words?
Shawn Christensen: He’s far more accessible in his execution than I would be. He knows the things to hit with people that make them cheer and get emotional. He’s also….his smile is infectious. He knows how to have fun.
Abduction is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense violence and action, brief language, some sexual content and teen partying. Running time: 106 minutes.
Darlene Donloe is an entertainment journalist based in Southern california. Contact her at [email protected].