Fart jokes are funny. Just ask any five-year-old, or Taylor Lautner.
The guy who played Jacob Black in the Twilight films cannot stop giggling as he describes the rank prank he played on his co-stars while filming the The Ridiculous 6, the Adam Sandler western spoof Netflix says is its most-streamed film ever.
“I had a can of fart spray. You spray it in the air and it makes the whole room smell like a nasty fart. One day we were all sitting around the monitor, like 15 of us, and I would spray the thing two times and walk away and listen to everybody freak out,” he says.
“They had to leave the room for, like, 10 minutes to let it clear. They ended up believing that something had died beneath the floorboards! And the funniest thing is I realized the other day that I never told them that it was me.”
Fart humour and its ilk, of course, have been lurking under the floorboards of Sandler films for decades. And though critics largely turn up their noses at such uncouth shenanigans, fans revel in them — so much so that Netflix has three more exclusive Sandler movies in the works.
For Lautner, whose non-Twilight films include the thrillers Abduction and Run the Tide, the chance to play things for giggles was both irresistible and pant-wettingly scary.
“When I read the script and the character of Lil’ Pete, I was absolutely terrified — there was no way I was doing it,” says Lautner.
“Then I thought about it and said, ’Because this scares me so much and I know it’s such a challenge, that’s a great reason to do it.’”
Lil’ Pete is a dim yet sweet guy with a gap-toothed smile and aw-shucks demeanour. One of six brothers who share a father — but nary a mother — he falls into a series of adventures with half-siblings played by Sandler, Terry Crews, Jorge Garcia, Rob Schneider and Luke Wilson.
“What I’ve always loved about acting the most is challenging myself to do all different kinds of roles. That’s why I wanted to do this, because it is something different,” says Lautner, who had a cameo in Sandler’s 2013 film Grown Ups 2 and co-starred in the BBC series Cuckoo in 2014.
“I definitely would not mind doing more comedies, but I would say what I’m looking for next is something different from that.”
A caveat: Any future challenges must be met fully clothed, for the most part. As Jacob Black in the Twilight films, Lautner was ever shirtless. Shirtless Jacob jumps off a cliff and into the water. Shirtless Jacob consoles pouty Bella Swan. Shirtless Jacob gets all angsty in the rain.
The memories make Lautner laugh, and the 23-year-old admits some sartorial discussion before agreeing to his role in The Ridiculous 6.
“I said to Adam (Sandler) at the beginning, I was like, ‘As long as Lil’ Pete doesn’t have to take his shirt off.’ And he was like, ‘All right. That’s fine.’ So we left that to Mr. Terry Crews,” he says.
“Yeah. For like almost all of the roles I consider, I’m making sure that they’re not shirtless roles. Or if they are, it has to make complete sense.
“It’s not like Jacob Black, where he just decides to randomly take his shirt off for no reason.”
The Ridiculous 6 is now streaming on Netflix