Barely 10 hours after he arrived on a PAL flight from L.A. at 4 o’clock yesterday morning, Taylor Lautner looked well-rested when he did a round of one-on-ones and a general presscon at a function room of Shangri-La Makati, as charming and as friendly and as genuinely warm as he was during the The STAR’s four interviews with him for the Twilight series (New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn 1 and 2) in a span of three years at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.
He’s here purposely to drum up for Bench of which he’s the latest A-list endorser. The deal was reported as “breaking news” in Funfare two years ago but Bench big boss Ben Chan clarified yesterday that there was only a plan but no negotiation yet at that time.
A few weeks ago, Ben and company went to L.A. for the contract-signing and the pictorial with Taylor whose larger-than-life image is smiling back at motorists and commuters from giant Bench billboards all over the metropolis.
“He’s really very nice and very friendly,” said Ben of Taylor who was unshaven but still looking drop-dead gorgeous just as he does on the Bench billboards and in his latest starrer, Tracers (showing in 2014), which cements his new career thrust as an action star. This afternoon, he’s set to have a personal appearance at a meet-and-greet with fans in the Mall Of Asia (MOA) Arena and another Bench event on Sunday before he departs back to L.A. that same night.
As soon as your Funfarer entered the Pasay Room of Shangri-La, Taylor stood up and said, “I know this guy,” extending his hand for a warm welcome, “I see you everywhere and finally I’m seeing you at home.”
The casual glad-to-see-you-again amenity set the tone of our 10-minute chat.
(Smiling) “None at all.”
You only have more than 60 hours here…
“…yeah, not enough time at all.”
So aside from promoting Bench, are you looking forward to doing anything else?
“Uhm, you know… ahh, besides promoting Bench I’m looking forward to seeing my fans. The next day (Sunday), I’m doing two mall visits so I’ll be able to see as many fans as possible in my more than 60 hours here.”
Of course, you’re wearing Bench.
(Touching the long-sleeved sweater that fitted him to a T) “Yes, of course. I love it!”
Ordinarily, what kind of clothes do you prefer?
“I’m pretty simple. Most importantly, I like to be comfortable and I really like jeans and boots and T-shirts. That’s why I like Bench so much. It’s pretty simple; you can dress it up or dress it down, which are nice options.”
If you were to impress a girl, what would you wear from head to foot (as if you needed to…with your looks!)?
(Laughing) “Uhm, I would probably do something simple. If I were trying to impress a girl, I wouldn’t get all super dressed because I would look like I was trying too hard. Instead, I would probably wear what I normally would.”
What type of girls appeals to you most?
“Hmmm, girls who can be just themselves and have fun. I mean, I love to have fun and goof around and be silly, so anybody who can also do that is good for me.”
Let’s talk about your career. Was it hard for you to shake off your Twilight character Jacob Black?
“Right, right! It may be hard because so many fans love that character and they love the franchise but I’m okay with it. I mean, I also love that character and the franchise as well. It’s something my fans and I share. But of course, as an actor I want to move on and do different things and I thank the franchise for allowing me to do that. I just wrapped up the movie Tracers.”
You’re doing well as an action star. In one scene in Tracers, you refused a “double” and you did your own stunt by jumping from a bridge in New York. That was pretty risky!
(Laughing again) “Yeah, that was pretty risky! It was an awesome experience, completely different from anything I’ve done before. The script is very character-driven and that’s what attracted me to it. On top of all that, I got to do some awesome stunts.”
What did you learn from the Twilight Saga that you are applying now as an action star?
“Uhm, I think working with all the directors in the Twilight Saga and even my cast mates…you learn different little things from everyone and you apply that to the work that you do later.”
How much of yourself are you willing to share with your fans…you know, tidbits about your life and career?
“Yeah, yeah! When I’m allowed to talk about it, then I love to keep my fans up-to-date on what I’m doing.”
What’s the worst thing, if any, about being Taylor Lautner?
“Uhm, if I have to choose the worst, it would probably be the simple loss of privacy…sometimes. How do I deal with it? Ahh, you kind of get used to it and kind of adjust to it. You don’t have to let it ruin your life; there are ways around it. You just have to think more and plan a little more.”
And what’s the best thing about being Taylor Lautner?
“I do love traveling so I’ve been able to travel a lot. I love exploring new places and meeting new people and I’ve been able to do that during the past years.”
Did you feel the legendary warmth and hospitality of Filpinos during your first few hours here?
“Yes, I have. I didn’t expect anybody would be at the airport when I arrived. It was 3:45 a.m. and there were hundreds of people so it was a very warm welcome.”
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