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Seems premature to be giving Taylor Lautner multi-million paydays based only on New Moon, doesn’t it? The film did amazingly well, and he became an instant heartthrob, but how much of that was Lautner and how much was just Twilight? Impossible to tell until he’s in a non-Twilight film or two. Which is why he’s being courted left and right for new films, including Max Steel and Cancun.

Before those get a chance to get off the ground, however, he’ll earn $7.5m to star as Tom Cruise‘s son in Northern Lights, a film that sounds like Top Gun, Jr.

Nikki Finke has the story; she says that John Moore (who last directed the woeful Max Payne) will direct the film with Lautner and Cruise starring. An April 1 start date is reported.

The film is about “a gifted, young, aerobatics pilot who faces off with his controlling, billionaire father and falls in love with a gifted, female pilot.” So Cruise gets to play the domineering father (I’m envisioning a mix of his characters from Magnolia and Tropic Thunder) while Lautner mimes the effect of massive g-force in a replica cockpit? How will we see his abs? A transperant plastic flight suit, obviously.

Film is being put together by Skydance Productions, which has a first-look deal with Paramount. Interesting that Cruise, who seems to take a lot of time considering and reworking projects before choosing one, especially lately, is jumping right into this with Lautner. There was a point a few years ago when putting Cruise and jailbait like Lautner in a film together would have been a guaranteed moneymaker. Think that’s still the case? Skydance seems to think so. This will get going before Cruise’s Knight and Day has a chance to open, so they’ll have to go forward without any conclusive data on that film’s appeal.

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