For one segment of society, Taylor Lautner will always be Jacob from Twilight. But for another, Lautner lives rent-free as a certain Sharkboy in their heads.
The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, directed by Robert Rodriguez, is currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity on streaming. It is sitting at the tenth spot on Netflix’s top ten films list in the US.
Released in 2005, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl is a family-entertainer fantasy film that delves into the world of a young boy named Max. Portrayed by Cayden Boyd, Max escapes the challenges of reality by creating two superhero friends, Sharkboy (Taylor Lautner) and Lavagirl (Taylor Dooley).
As Max embarks on a fantastical journey with his imaginary companions, the trio faces various challenges, encounters bizarre creatures, and strives to save the dreamlike planet of Planet Drool from impending doom.
The film, co-written by Robert and Racer Rodriguez, combines elements of adventure, humour, and CGI that look more dated than the Team Jacob poster in your childhood bedroom. Nonetheless, the film is one of the many nostalgic favourites from the early noughties.
Lautner was only 12 when he did The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl. A short three years later, Twilight would be released, catapulting him to teen icon status. Speaking to CNN about how his family helped him stay grounded through his fame, Lautner had said, “In Twilight, I was the youngest—I was 16—and so my parents were a huge part of (grounding me) and even when I was filming movies when I was home, I still had to take out the trash. I still had to mow the lawn,” he says. His parents, he joked, would tell him, “We don’t care that you’re on the big screen. You still gotta do your chores.”
In the 2020 Rodrigeuz film We Can Be Heroes, Sharkboy and Lavagirl returned for guest appearances. While Dooley returned to play adult Lavagirl, JJ Dashnaw (who played Brat’s dad in Rodriguez’s Spy Kids) played Sharkboy because Lautner wanted to focus on his personal life during this time.