TRUE BRIT. Aaron Taylor-Johnson joins the wave of British actors making it big in Hollywood. Ronald Liem talks to the rising star about his latest flick and his life as a headliner
Like many “traditional” British actors, Aaron Taylor-Johnson began acting at a young age; starting with theater, then moving on to TV and film. He got a taste of Hollywood as a teenager, taking on minor roles in several films, but eventually made his mark in the independent movie scene. This is where he first moved onto starring roles, such as in the biopic film “Nowhere Boy” as well as the “Kick Ass” dilogy. But, Hollywood beckoned once more, with even bigger roles in bigger projects. Last year he emerged as the protagonist in the new “Godzilla,” and this May we will see him joining the ranks of Marvel’s leading men in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” His journey as an actor, however, is just beginning.
Ronald Liem: Hi Aaron, obviously, we’re very excited about your upcoming appearance in the new Avengers movie. So, tell me, have you started campaigning for the movie?
Aaron Taylor-Johnson: Yes, we are soon going to jump all over the place, like Singapore, New York, London, and Canada. With all of us together. It’s kind of crazy and there’s such a mad energy about it. But, mainly, it’s a lot of fun because people had been anticipating a sequel for a long time now.
RL: How did you end up getting casted as a member of the Avengers? How did your journey begin with this franchise?
ATJ: As for how the Avengers came about … before I started filming “Godzilla,” Joss Whedon got in touch and we sat down and had lunch and he proposed this new role that he wanted to bring into the sequel and we just talked about it. I was, of course, flattered that he approached me. We have all these established fantastic actors and really fantastic superhero characters, and it got me thinking: What can I actually bring to this sequel? The most important thing for me is the character and how can I make it feel grounded and substantial in front all these major roles that everybody has already experienced and fallen in love with. And then I got in touch with the guys from Marvel and Kevin Feige [president of Marvel Studios] and we talked pretty much for most of that year, until it became real and I signed up. I am really happy to be part of this team, and happy that I and Elizabeth Olsen were embraced into this new family without any kind of judgment.
RL: So, the process of getting into the movie took a whole year?
ATJ: I found out about it even before there was even a script. But at that point it didn’t really matter what was on the script. There was such a huge body of work for Marvel, already.
RL: You mentioned about all of these established talents working in the franchise, like Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr., and so on. A lot of A-list stars there. What was it like filming with your co-stars?
ATJ: My initial thought was that it’s very overwhelming, and also that you have to feel slightly inadequate. But all of that that goes pretty much the moment you’re in the ring with everybody. It’s such a friendly environment, and they’re very humble. They just become your friends and it becomes very close-knit. Then you feel your nerves calm down a bit.
RL: What is it like playing a superhero in such a huge blockbuster franchise?
ATJ: My character is super-powered, and he runs at half the speed of sound. So, my character is pretty much a blur throughout the whole movie [laughs], and my entry and exit out of a scene is pretty much skidding in or flying out. Most of my stunts and whatever I do involves actually a lot running, which is kind of ironic because I don’t actually really like running at all. In a lot of the fight sequences , you’re always surrounded by your stunt crew and team. It’s quite surreal and kind of fun.
“If I feel it in my gut, instinctively, and I think it’s the right thing to do, then I try not to have any regrets”
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