During the Twilight franchise’s heyday, fans were constantly debating who was a better love interest for Bella Swan — vampire Edward Cullen and werewolf Jacob Black — and the battle quickly affected the actors themselves.
“I feel like I’d be lying if I said no,” Taylor Lautner, who notably played Jacob in all five franchise films, said during a Thursday, February 2, episode of “The Toast” podcast when asked if the bitter rivalry bothered him. “I was so young. I was 16 when Twilight came out, 17 for New Moon and Eclipse. I finished the franchise by the time I was 19.”
Lautner starred opposite Robert Pattinson (Edward) and Kristen Stewart (Bella) in the various Twilight movies, which first premiered in 2008.
“I was so young and yeah, I do feel like it was very strange traveling the world and being in different cities and having thousands of screaming fans either taking your side or the other guy’s side,” the Valentine’s Day star, 30, recalled on Thursday. “Like, we’re a team. We’re both just trying to make the best movies. It was a little bizarre, the competitiveness. There wasn’t a competitiveness between me and Rob, but having that constant reminder, it definitely had an impact.”
In the first movie, directed by Catherine Hardwicke and adapted from Stephenie Meyer’s book series, Bella sparks an instantaneous connection with Edward after moving to Forks, Washington. As the twosome grows closer, it is revealed that Jacob — Bella’s childhood pal — also holds a torch for her and she must decide whom she loves.
“Bella always wanted Jacob and Edward to level with each other finally and it’s funny that it takes place while she’s sleeping between them,” Stewart, 32, told reporters in June 2010 during the Eclipse press conference, referring to the movie’s scene where the trio hides from the Volturi coven in a tent. “It was fun to shoot, but I wish it wasn’t as hot. I was literally in a beanie and I was just sweating.”
She added at the time: “Taylor [and I] have so much fun with this stuff because our intimate moments are so few and far between — and weird. Me and Rob are always so serious because we have [a lot of] those scenes.”
The Happiest Season actress’ steamy chemistry with Pattinson, 36, soon turned into a real-life romance. The pair dated until their May 2013 split. (Stewart and Pattinson have each moved on with Dylan Meyer and Suki Waterhouse.)
The final Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn: Part II, premiered in 2012 and saw Bella and Edward’s romance triumph. Jacob, for his part, eventually imprinted on the couple’s daughter, Renesmee, shortly after her birth. (Imprinting, a werewolf tradition, meant Jacob would innocently protect her growing up until she was old enough to be in a romantic relationship.)
After fond memories filming the franchise, Lautner — who married wife Taylor Dome in November 2022 — finally watched the movies recently during a hotel stay after discovering a TV marathon was airing.
“I’ve never said this and I feel like I’m gonna get a little bit of hate. I’ll always have Jacob’s back,” the Abduction actor said on Thursday. “I was scrolling through and New Moon was on and I was like, ‘Why not?’ As I was watching it, I was like, ‘I kinda get it. Jacob’s a little annoying.’ I love Jacob and his heart, but he’s a little annoying.”