Taylor Lautner’s new director could be...the ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ guy


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Universal is deep into its search for the director of ‘Stretch Armstrong,’ the 3-D take on the pliable toy in which Taylor Lautner will star as the man whose arms stretch to next week.

Now it looks like the studio is closing in on the person who will oversee and marshal the strengths of Lautner and screenwriter Steve Oedekerk. A number of people are in the running to occupy the director’s chair, but one name that’s risen to the top of the list is Rob Letterman. Letterman is the director of several animated hits, including last year’s ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ (like Stretch Armstrong, also a 3-D flick) and ‘Shark Tale.’


Letterman has not yet had a live-action movie in theaters, but he recently finished shooting ‘Gulliver’s Travels,’ also a film where things like size and movement are central to the plot (if you’re, um, stretching for connections). And ‘Monsters’ did focus on characters bestowed with mutant-type powers, just like our boy Stretch.

Universal has pushed back the release of ‘Stretch Armstrong’ from the spring of 2011 to the spring of 2012 to accommodate Lautner’s suddenly packed schedule as well as to allow for a 3-D shoot.

But it still wants to get going with what will likely be an involved production and an elaborate preproduction period. Plus, the film is a high-priority project, coming out of the studio’s Hasbro deal (which will also bear the fruit of Peter Berg’s ‘Battleship’) and with Brian Grazer as one of its producers. And, of course, a little-known actor named Lautner.

--Steven Zeitchik

Photos (top): Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner. Credit: Kimberley French / Summit Entertainment. ‘Monsters vs. Aliens.’ Credit: AP