From 2008 to 2012, Taylor Lautner was one of the most famous actors on the planet. After all, he was Jacob of the dusk franchise, the sexy romantic rival of Robert Pattinson, best known for his rippling abdominal muscles and tendency to turn into a CGI wolf. But when the dusk the franchise ended and Lautner’s co-stars were catapulted to A-lister status, Lautner had a few smaller roles, a run on the Ryan Murphy series Scream Queensthen eventually, quit acting altogether, with no new credits since 2018. His absence had many dusk fans asking, “Where the hell have you been, loca?!” (Sorry.)
But now, after a four-year hiatus, Lautner is back in action in Home team, a new Netflix family comedy. Produced by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Company, the film tells the true story of New Orleans Saints head football coach Sean Payton (played by Kevin James), who was suspended from the NFL. for a season after his involvement in “Bountygate”, a scandal in which members of the New Orleans team were accused of paying bonuses to players for injuring the opposing team. And yes, it’s an odd subject for a lighthearted Kevin James comedy, but most of the film, directed by Charles and Daniel Kinnane, focuses on Payton’s time coaching the lackluster college football team of his son.
That’s where Lautner comes in, as the long-suffering coach of said college league, The Warriors. Despite his losing record, coach Troy Lambert is a nice guy, who cares about the kids, but seems to have given up all hope of coaching to win. The first time we meet him, at a practice where the kids are just having fun, he unenthusiastically tells them they’ve done a good job. “Marco is a good hustle,” Coach Troy tells their best player. “The rest of you…” He trails off awkwardly. The kids don’t care, they know they suck.
Enter Sean Payton, who uses his free time to try to reconnect with his son, Connor. After watching his son lose a few games, Payton offers Coach Troy some not-so-subtle advice, which Troy gratefully accepts. Before long, Payton officially helps coach his son’s team, much to his son’s dismay and Troy’s relief. Although not quite the starring role, Lautner spends a lot of screen time working both with James as a coach and with the kids who make up the team.
For Lautner, a huge football fan and friend of the real Sean Payton, it was great. In fact, it was Lautner’s friendship with the real Payton that helped make Home Team a reality. The home team Co-writer, Chris Titone, who is Sandler’s brother-in-law and is dating Payton’s daughter, Meghan, met the Payton family at a dinner Lautner had with the football coach while Lautner was filming another Adam Sandler film, The Ridiculous Six. In an interview for the Home team press notes, Lautner said filming Home team “was a dream project for me because I got to make a movie with my friends about my friends. It’s like a once in a lifetime thing. Being friends with the Paytons, being friends with Chris, then my friendship with Sandler, all coming together in one movie.
Beyond that, Lautner added that it’s also fun to work with young actors, having been a child actor himself. (Real fans might remember him as Sharkboy in The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3D, a role he played when he was 12.) was really nostalgic and really cool to spend time with these kids knowing what it was like for me 17 years ago to be in this position,” Lautner said in that same interview. “I just wanted to be there for them and be their friend more than anything.” He added: “The casting director should get a raise because they’ve found some really fantastic kids. I mean the kids steal the show, as they should.
The kids can steal the show, but Lautner also gets his chance to shine when he stands up to James’ character when Payton loses sight of the real goal – reconnecting with his son – and Coach Troy has to remind him. It’s not exactly an Oscar reel monologue, but it’s still nice to have Lautner back on camera. Here are many more!
look Home team on Netflix