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ABDUCTION

About The Production
ABDUCTION began as a simple but inspiring germ of a story idea that Gotham Group Executive Producer Jeremy Bell brought to Vertigo's Roy Lee and Doug Davison four years ago. But it really took off after a subsequent meeting between screenwriter Shawn Christensen and the producers at The Gotham Group.

"At the very end of that meeting,” recounts Christensen, "Lee Stollman mentions, ‘And then there's this idea about this kid who sees himself as a child on a missing persons website.' I thought it was a really good idea. I left that meeting to think about the project some more and two weeks later, I had lunch with Lee in New York later and said, "‘I'd like to kind of go my own way and have a bit of fun with it. If you give me sixty days, I'll give you a draft.' And in sixty-three days I showed them the first pass of ABDUCTION.”

"Shawn likes to work with puzzles, and he responded to the idea of telling a story about finding your place,” producer Ellen Goldsmith-Vein says of why Christensen was the right choice for the project. "He was so taken with the idea that he turned in his first draft just two months after his meeting with Lee.” "Shawn took that one-line idea and built a movie around it,” added Stollman.

"To me it was just a great hook, but we could never really crack the story” says Stollman. "I'd never before seen a movie about a kid who is seemingly living a life, and then is suddenly living a lie.”

So much of the film hinges on the audience's investment in protagonist Nathan Harper, and all of the producers agreed that Taylor Lautner was the first and best choice to play him. Goldsmith-Vein explains of Lautner, "Taylor is probably the only actor his age who could take on this role, given his abilities as a martial artist and as an athlete. He's also incredibly smart and really serious.” Producer Lee Stollman agrees, "Taylor's got the physicality, the appeal, both for men and women. He's just a great young leading man.”

Roy Lee and Taylor Lautner met for a general meeting on June 4, 2009, in which Taylor really sparked to the idea. Almost a year later, Roy approached Taylor Lautner's team at Quick Six with Shawn Christiansen's completed screenplay as a starring vehicle, and got a carefully considered, enthusiastic "yes.” With that endorsement, Gotham, Vertigo and Quick Six worked in tandem to further develop the script and tailor it especially for Lautner, ultimately joining with Lionsgate, where Motion Picture Group President Joe Drake and President of Production Alli Shearmur quickly green-lit the film based on Lautner's immense appeal and the taut script. "Lionsgate's understanding of the genre and subject matter made them the perfect partner for us,” said producer Dan Lautner.

"I loved this project from the moment I read it,” says Shearmur. "I'd worked on the ‘Bourne' films, and recognized in ABDUCTION a similar kind of intrigue and thrill, but also a uniquely all-American, very relatable and accessible quality that I thought made it really special. I know how carefully Taylor and his team considered his first leading man role, how involved they were in every aspect of the film's development, and so we were thrilled when they agreed with us that Lionsgate was uniquely suited to bring Taylor in his first starring role to market.”

With Taylor and his Quick Six attached and the film green-lit at Lionsgate, director John Singleton signed on to helm the film, and he and the existing group quickly forged a collaborative bond. "It was fast and exciting,” Christensen remembers. "He would send little notes to me. He has this great smile, great attitude and great ideas.” Principal photography commenced just four months after the sale of the project.

"For me, ABDUCTION is essentially a story about a son who didn't know who his father was,” Singleton says. "It's a story about a young man who is trying to find himself, and that makes it very universal, because we're all trying to find ourselves in some way.” He continues, "The movie has a lot of action, but my inspiration in making it really came from classic adventure stories where the character is changed and transformed by the experience of the adventure.”

"John has had involvement in some incredible character movies,” says producer Pat Crowley, who was recruited for the film as a result of having produced the Bourne series. "That's the exciting thing about working with John: he is as a director who has an encyclopedic knowledge of film and film history. You feel comfortable that you've got a guy who has a great visual sense, and who also looks forward to and is quite accomplished in working with young actors.”

"People have never seen Taylor Lautner the way they're going to see him in this movie,” says Singleton. "He really blossoms as an actor. We talked a lot about what he could pull out of himself to give this character weight. I think it's beautiful for me as a director to see him evolve as an actor within this movie.”

Lautner has had a lifelong affection for action films. "I've always loved action movies,” says the actor. "This role is by far the most physically challenging role I've ever done, which is pretty cool, but it also has a lot more going on. I loved the character and everything he goes through in the story.”

The first task in casting was Nathan's girl-next-door crush and chase companion Karen. Lily Collins had made a strong impression on Singleton, Shearmur and her colleagues at Lionsgate, and the film's producers with her work in "The Blind Side.” "There were a lot of people that we looked at for the role,” says Crowley of the search to find the perfect Karen. "But Lily was someone that stuck with everybody, because there's an all-American quality about her. Whether it's in person or on screen, you feel that she's really easy to get to know.”

"My character Karen is a really strong, confident young woman,” says Collins. "She's not just the girl in the story. She's not just a love interest or a partner in crime. She really is there full force. There aren't many roles for young girls or for young women out there that aren't just your typical girl role.”

Says director Singleton, "Lily Collins is awesome and beautiful. People are going to see her for a long time to come.”

Jason Isaacs and Maria Bello portray Taylor's presumed parents, Kevin and Mara. Though Isaacs immediately embraced the character and script, his enthusiasm increased when he thought of the added perks of the job. "I got the script and it was even more fun than I thought,” Isaacs recalls. "I get to box, I get to dance and I get to kiss Maria Bello. What's there to think about?”

"I heard ‘John Singleton' and said, ‘I want to work with John!'” Bello recalls, adding that over the years the two had met socially and discussed working together. "And then I read the script. I thought it was fantastic – a great action-thriller, but one with heart.”

"Maria plays Mara,” comments Lautner, "and she's super, super sweet, and obviously an incredibly talented actress. I had a really emotional scene with her in my bedroom when she tells me she's not my mother. That was intense. I couldn't have had anybody better to play that role opposite. She was tremendous.”

"Jason Isaacs is an actor of enormous power,” observes Singleton. "He shot this great scene where he's training Nathan. It's kind of semi-abusive, you know, he's just smacking him around and Nathan doesn't understand why he's trying to teach him how to box and train and do all these enduran

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