This week, Summit is expected to announce its decision for the next film based on Stephenie Meyer's wildly successful series of vampire romance novels. Kristen Stewart, 18, is set to return as Bella Swan, the beautiful human who falls for a softhearted bloodsucker. And Robert Pattinson, 22, has a lock on his job too; his turn as Edward Cullen, the hunky, soulful vampire, has made him an overnight superstar with young female moviegoers around the planet. But Lautner, 16, has a more uncertain future.
That's because the character he was so perfectly cast to play in the first Twilight film — a slim, baby-faced teenager — will be greatly expanded in the sequel. And by greatly expanded, we mean into a hulking, snarling, seven-foot Lycan. ''Jacob is a totally different character in New Moon,'' says Melissa Rosenberg, screenwriter of both Twilight films. ''He's a foot taller and huge — and he's supposed to look 25. It's really a question of whether or not the same actor can play the role.'' Rosenberg is quick to add, however, that ''everyone would love to keep him. We all think he's the loveliest person ever.''
Lautner's certainly been doing everything in his mortal power to hang on to the part. Since Twilight, he's gained 19 pounds and is promising to pack on 10 more before shooting starts on New Moon this March. And judging from a widely reprinted red-carpet interview, he's not shy about letting Summit and New Moon's director, Chris Weitz (who joined the franchise last month after Twilight's director, Catherine Hardwicke, left over creative differences), know that he has the chops for the gig. ''My job for Twilight was to bring Twilight Jacob to life — the friendly, happy-go-lucky little Jacob,'' he told MTV News. ''My job for New Moon is completely different. I've been looking forward to that. I've been getting ready for it, and I can assure them I will follow through with that.''