LOS ANGELES | For all those “Twilight” fans wondering what’s the next best step for a werewolf, Taylor Lautner says it’s “Scream Queens.”
“For fans who followed me since ‘Twilight,’ it’s right up their alley,” he says. “It truly has something for everyone. It’s hilarious. It’s terrifying. It’s sexy. I think it’s perfect for them.”
In the Ryan Murphy horror comedy, Lautner plays Dr. Cassidy Cascade, one of the surgeons at an odd hospital run by Jamie Lee Curtis. “It’s for very rare, specific diseases,” Lautner says. John Stamos plays his colleague and, thus far, “we don’t know if we’re related. We’re two head doctors and we run the show.”
Because Murphy doesn’t let actors know where storylines are headed, anything could happen.
“Last week I got told they were bumping up four major scenes of mine to Thursday,” Lautner says. “I literally had that evening to prepare four huge scenes of dialogue. Television is very fast and messy but it’s fun. It keeps you on your toes.”
Eager to find a place in the medium, the 24-year-old Michigan native reached out to Murphy, the producer of everything from “Glee” to “American Horror Story,” and said he wanted to work with him. “Four months later, he called and said he thought he found the perfect thing for me to do.”
Shirtless scenes? “Yes,” Lautner says with a smile. “It’s a Ryan Murphy show.”
Although Lautner has appeared on other television series, he wasn’t quite aware of its quirks. “With film, your schedule is mapped out. You know what you’re going to be filming 39 days from now. Television literally changes all the time. It’s different.”
A second take? “Nope. We’re moving on. We’ve got eight other people to shoot.”
Because “Scream Queens” has plenty of comedy, Lautner is able to demonstrate his ability there, too. There’s room for sex symbol moments (Chanel No. 3 is a love interest) but there’s also time for bone-chilling horror.
“There’s no tone on television like the one ‘Scream Queens’ has,” Lautner says. Surprisingly – for a guy who hung with vampires in “Twilight” – the actor isn’t all that comfortable with things that go bump in the night.
“I’m super easily scared and startled,” he says. “I love horror movies, so it’s really cool for me to be working in the genre.”
Using many of the same characters from last season (which was set at a college and preyed on old-school horror film twists), the new edition suggests a hospital of terror. “’Halloween 2’ was set in a hospital and they’re using that as a reference for this,” Lautner says.
Curtis made a name for herself in the first “Halloween” film and also starred in the second. Coincidence? Lautner smiles. “Things go wrong all the time. Two of the people in charge shouldn’t be.”
While Lautner could have gone in a number of directions (he has martial arts skills that were tapped for films like “Grown Ups 2”), he wanted to “find things that are very different for me...things I’ve never done before.
“I want roles that challenge me – ones that people couldn’t picture me in.”
Shirtless scenes aside, he says, “Scream Queens” fits the bill.