Aaron’s featured in the latest issue of VMan which hits newsstands September 9th. You can, however, read Aaron’s interview below and check out the shoot he did for the magazine in the gallery.
- Photoshoots > Session #34
Five days after his 20th birthday, Aaron Johnson is wolfing down a burger in North London, his mind on the approaching birth of his first child. (Johnson and artist Sam Taylor-Wood welcomed daughter Wynda-Rae on July 7.) “I’m ready,” he says, beating his chest Tarzan-style. “Everything’s prepared at home; we’ve got all this gear; we’re just waiting for the contractions to start and then we can get on with it.” The pair will get married next year, and then Johnson wants more kids. “Five or eight,” he (possibly) jokes. So what kind of father will he be?
“A fucking brilliant one, obviously,” he shoots back. “What sort of question’s that? Just affectionate and loving and supportive.”
It’s been a momentous few years for Johnson. He’s made four films in quick succession. One of them, Kick-Ass, made him a Hollywood star. Another, Nowhere Boy, in which he plays a young John Lennon, changed his life: Johnson fell in love with Taylor-Wood, its director. Naturally, the fact that he was 18 and she 41 meant that the British tabloids had a field day, but Johnson’s demeanor casts serious doubt on their gleeful predictions that all will end in tears; he can’t wait to be a father.
This autumn, America finally gets to see Nowhere Boy, Taylor-Wood’s directorial debut. The release coincides with what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday, and Johnson worked hard to embody rather than do an “imitation” of the teenage Beatle torn between his mother and his aunt. Johnson was rewarded with compliments from Yoko Ono and critical acclaim, though the film wasn’t a commercial success in the U.K., a fact Johnson attributes to the fact that it came out on Boxing Day, up against Avatar and Sherlock Holmes.
Johnson’s not a huge fan of modern films. “There’s a lot of scripts nowadays that you think, How the fuck does this get made? They’ve turned it all into romcoms and stuff. It’s like our music, it’s all pop. It’s all, like, pretty crummy.” He grimaces when I mention the last film he made, Chatroom, which got terrible reviews at Cannes: “Don’t go there. It is what it is.”
Having recently had the “shit realization” that he’s already made more films than his hero Daniel Day-Lewis, Johnson’s vowed to be more choosy about the roles he picks. “I also look at things in a bigger way now. I’ve got a family, you know? I’ve got a fiancée and two beautiful girls [Taylor-Wood’s two daughters by gallerist Jay Jopling] and one on the way. And I don’t want to be away from them.”
He and Taylor-Wood have been together for two years, but Johnson remembers going to the Tate and seeing her work before that. “The fruit that was mouldering away with the Biro on the side—I remember that being the only image that stayed in my mind. It’s really odd. It’s like we already had a connection.”
The way he tells it, his relationship with Taylor-Wood has insulated him from the temptations to which many young actors fall prey. “You can’t do shit like that, not if you want to work professionally and be taken seriously,” he says. “Don’t turn up to work fucked up, it’s just wrong. Just being with Sam, our relationship’s so strong there’s no need to do shit like that.” Having got stardom out of the way so early, he’s ready to tackle the important stuff—being a great actor, and a dad. “You don’t have to rush into anything,” he explains. “Time’s precious, man.”
Aaron Johnson, 20, in London, July 2010
Photo assistant jordan grant equipment rental Spring Lighting
Location brown’s hotel (London)