Taylor Lautner returns to action with the thriller Tracers, available in theaters and On Demand now. Filmed in 2013, the story follows a New York City bike messenger who finds himself immersed in the dangerous world of parkour after colliding with a stranger.
Lautner recently spoke to EW about why it took so long for the movie to come out and how he managed to escape injury when his co-stars did not.
EW: Is it weird to go back and talk about Tracers now?
TAYLOR LAUTNER: It’s so weird. I’m trying wrap my brain around that right now. It’s crazy how long it’s been, but it’s exciting, because I really haven’t had the opportunity to talk about it yet.
Do you know why the movie was delayed?
When you make a movie independently, you raise the money beforehand and then you make the movie kind of by yourself. And our director, Daniel Benmayor, is an absolute perfectionist—which is an amazing thing. So when a movie is made that way, it’s a little longer process than when you have a studio attached before.
There were some crazy stunts and I know you can do martial arts, but how much did they let you do?
I think it’s fair to say I did everything. It was actually quite surprising to me. I did extensive training in L.A. with the best people in parkour but there were some pretty insane stunts and I think they just about let me do everything.
And no one had any concerns?
There were a few times where the producer, who I’m very close with—he produced all the Twilight movies so I’ve known him for six or seven years—knows that I love to do everything and I don’t hold back. So there were a few times where he came up to me and he was like, “Alright Taylor, I think we should let the stunt double do it for this one.” But for the most part, I think they trusted me and I trusted our stunt coordinators and the team they surrounded me with. I made it out of there without any serious injury, which I’m actually pretty surprised about.
And that’s great for the movie, too.
Yeah, it’s funny because I didn’t [get injured] but both of my co-stars ended up breaking their ankles. I think Marie’s [Avgeropoulos] was in training and Adam’s [Rayner] was—the unfortunate thing about Adam’s is it was the second-to-last day of filming. So we had gone through this whole journey and filmed all these ridiculous sequences and he had to basically drop like 10 feet off of this roof—just like fall and land on his feet and take off running—and just the way he landed, I don’t even know. He just landed awkwardly and broke his ankle. It was like, “Oh no!” and he was going to shoot something right after that. That was unfortunate.
Do you remember a particular stunt where you were like “Oh my God, can I do this? I’m really terrified!”
Ironically, the toughest stunt in the whole movie is just in for about .5 seconds—maybe. It’s called a “wall run,” [where] basically you run from the ground up onto a wall. You’re usually able to get three or four steps up the wall and on your last step, you push off to get to the top or like the roof. But it was really really really high and they were afraid that if I wasn’t able—on that last push off—to get to the top, then it was quite a far fall to the bottom.
Are you doing parkour in your everyday life? Like are you flipping over the steps to get to the kitchen?
Honestly, before I even learned how to, I was actually doing some parkour. I am that weirdo that chooses the difficult route down the side of the street. I could easily just walk on the sidewalk but no, I see some obstacle and I’m like, “Oh, I wonder what it would be like to get over that?” So, yes, I am definitely that person.