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Aaron Taylor-Johnson wears many hats. The 32-year-old is an actor (since he was six years old), a father and husband, an occasional model, and when we hop on a call to talk about his latest campaign for Calvin Klein, an IT guy, too.
There’s a good ten or so minutes where the connection between my end in New York and his end in London is off. His voice is crackly and distorted, and we try to power through before Taylor-Johnson devises a quick solution: He hops off the conference platform, reconnects via a phone call, and is back in the game. “Is this any better?” he asks. It’s a thousand times better.
I’ve caught Taylor-Johnson in a time that he describes as “busy.” The week before, he was in Australia, where he’s been since the beginning of the year, finishing up shoots on The Fall Guy. Now, he’s just touched down in London, where he’s doing additional shoots on Kraven the Hunter before heading out to Prague to shoot Nosferatu. Between all of this, he’s making his debut in a Calvin Klein campaign for the brand’s spring 2023 collection, sporting jaw-grazing hair, boxer briefs, a denim jacket (sans shirt), and snazzy jeans—all with the kind of energetic magnetism that translates seamlessly from the big screen.
“I felt absolutely honored and flattered to have been invited to be a part of Calvin Klein’s men’s underwear,” he says. “I felt incredibly safe in the hands of Mert [Alas] and Marcus [Piggott], who I think are equally iconic photographers.”
The campaign is definitively stripped-back: no frills, no props, no color, even. Alongside fellow Calvin Klein ambassadors Michael B. Jordan, FKA Twigs, Kendall Jenner, and JENNIE, Taylor-Johnson is expressive and acrobatic; on his knees in one shot, standing tall in the next, a statue caught in contrapposto.
“I was almost taking that vulnerability and putting it into confidence,” he says. “It was great fun. I think there’s a level of nerves and expectations when you’re going to be photographed in your underwear, but quite honestly, I’ve only ever worn Calvins, so I just felt honored and thrilled to be part of it.”
Calvin Klein, a brand iconic in its simplicity, its minimalism, its timeless style, is a natural fit for Taylor-Johnson. In the same way that—and bear with this metaphor—underwear are the foundation upon which an outfit is built, Taylor-Johnson’s adaptability, his readiness to step into any role and play any character, is the heart and soul of his career. He describes his own style as “classic”: a pair of jeans, a nice white tee, and boots. Something versatile. Something comfortable. Something that is reliably unchanging.
“I tend to enjoy fashion and dressing up more through characters, when I’m getting ready for a role or I’m in the process of doing something,” he says. “That’s always a part of how I build characters. I work on the psychology, but I also work on the layering and the skin that they wear on the outside as well.”
Taylor-Johnson has worn the skin of a few centuries’ worth of men; he’s been a young John Lennon in Nowhere Boy, sporting vintage ‘50s get-ups that he likes best of all his characters’ wardrobes. He’s been an ostracized Russian socialite in Anna Karenina. And most recently, in Bullet Train, he’s been a deadly assassin, equal parts brutally lethal and charmingly witty, with a mustache as killer as his profession.
Taylor-Johnson laughs when I bring up that ‘stache, sharing that it was a stroke of his own genius—and pandemic-induced experimentation. “It was that facial hair boredom,” he says. “I just got very creative with trying different characters and looks. For that character, I think I tried two or three different beards, and I wore them for a week each. I got a lot of feedback from my family—they all think I’m ludicrously nuts.”
The result, fortunately, looked less than ludicrous, and more like the facial hair of a classy, gentleman killer. It’s a hard look to pull off, but Taylor-Johnson, with his classical features, does it effortlessly and confidently. It seems that’s how he does most things, though.
“I definitely feel like I’m someone who can express myself better in movement than I can in words, which is why I feel more comfortable as a performer,” he says. Things like dance bring him confidence; he finds himself drawn to nature, tells me he finds inspiration from being immersed in it as much as possible, and has taken an interest in regenerative farming and rewilding.
“The lessons you get from just seeing nature just do its thing—it’s really just this sitting back and observing situation, watching and listening and learning and wanting to evolve and grow,” he says. At this point, more than any other, I find myself glad Taylor-Johnson was able to play IT guy and fix the audio at the beginning of our call—the profound passion wouldn’t have been so palpable in his voice otherwise.
“I’m excited by many things, by many people around me,” he says. “But when you’re starting to observe more is when you can really have a chance to…grow.”
If the internet does one thing, it’s spread cheating rumors like wildfire. While 2022 was full of crazy pop-culture moments, the cheating allegations against Ned Fulmer and Adam Levine (never forget those memes) definitely sent the internet into a spiral. And now, just 18 days into 2023, a new rumored cheating bombshell has dropped. Hold onto your horses, it’s a ride.
On Jan. 17, TikTok creator @thekylemarisa posted a video reading an anonymous blind item about Aaron Taylor-Johnson and his Bullet Train costar, Joey King. According to the blind, Taylor-Johnson and King allegedly hooked up on the press tour for the film, and have continued their affair post-filming and press. The blind was accompanied by the related headline, “Joey King Serves Up A Daring Look At Bullet Train‘s Paris Photo Call.” Her Campus reached out to both Taylor-Johnson’s and King’s teams, but did not hear back by the time of publication.
Seeing as the blind comes from an anonymous source, it’s safe to say that all of the drama surrounding this rumor is completely alleged. Meaning: take it with a grain of salt — blind items are notoriously unreliable. Furthermore, neither King, Taylor-Johnson, nor his wife, Sam Taylor-Johnson, have spoken publicly about the claims. But this hasn’t stopped the comments section of Marisa’s video, or the sea of Twitter commentary, from chiming in and freaking out over the alleged infidelity.
While Joey King, 23, is unmarried, that isn’t the case for Taylor-Johnson. In fact, Taylor-Johnson’s marriage has been subject to internet scrutiny for quite some time — especially recently. Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Sam Taylor-Johnson have been a topic of discussion due to their 23-year age gap, and the fact that Ms. Taylor-Johnson met Mr. Taylor-Johnson when he was just 18. The two were married in 2012, and have two children together as of Jan. 18, 2023.
Mix an apparent cheating rumor with an already controversial relationship, and you’ve got cause for a total internet freak-out. And while none of the parties involved have spoken out about the allegations, Twitter sure has a lot to say. So, until there’s comment on the claims, the internet will only continue to let this fire burn.
It seems producers of the James Bond franchise aren’t ready to make up their minds on exactly who they have their sights set on — now Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s in the mix.
The British actor — famous for his role in “Kick-Ass” and, more recently, “Bullet Train” — is reported to have had a meeting with Barbara Broccoli in September … and not just that, he even did a screen test that went well, according to Daily Mail and Puck News.
The screen test is said to have been part of a full-blown audition Aaron apparently did for Barbara and co. — and it sounds like everyone was impressed with what they saw. Word is … they had ATJ do the iconic gun barrel opening sequence, which is a huge deal obviously.
The reports say Aaron is now a front-runner, but that nothing is official yet. This is a major development from the news that came out this past weekend — when “Emily in Paris” star Lucien Laviscount was said to have been in the running as well and also considered a favorite.
There’ve been a lot of names thrown around over the past several months, but Aaron’s the first one who’s gotten on camera to try his hand at Bond … as far as we’ve heard at least.
We’ll say this about Aaron … he’s got the Bond vibe. But, so does every other strapping gent that’s been floated!
Aaron Taylor-Johnson is the latest to join Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt in the cast of Universal’s The Fall Guy, which has a March 1, 2024 release date. Production for the film is set to begin in Australia this fall.
The feature film from Universal, 87North and Entertainment 360, is inspired by the 1980s series of the same name and will be directed by David Leitch, who is producing with partner Kelly McCormick via their 87North along with Guymon Casady, who will produce through Entertainment 360. Drew Pearce, who worked with Leitch on Universal’s Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, wrote the script and serves as executive producer.
Gosling will also produce. Geoff Shaevitz and original series creator Glen A. Larson will also executive produce. EVP Production Matt Reilly will oversee the project on behalf of Universal.
Plot details are unknown at this time.
The film marks a reunion for Taylor-Johnson and Leitch who recently worked together on the hit Sony action thriller Bullet Train opposite Brad Pitt. Taylor-Johnson is also set to star as the titular character in Sony and Marvel’s Kraven the Hunter movie. He is repped by WME, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern.
The Hollywood Reporter was first to break the Fall Guy casting news.
Sony’s in a bit of a weird place when it comes to their Spider-Verse. While they had major hits like the Venom films and Spider-Man: No Way Home, their recent Marvel release Morbius didn’t do so hot at the box office and was panned by both critics and fans alike. Their next Spider-Verse release was going to be Kraven the Hunter starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson in just a couple of months. However, the film’s release has been pushed back from January 13, 2023, to October 6, 2023.
This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as we were so close to Kraven’s release and barely knew anything about the film itself. Before this news, there was no sign of a first trailer, which was odd given the film’s star-studded cast. Along with Taylor-Johnson the film is starring West Side Story’s Ariana DeBose as the villain Calypso, Fear Street’s Fred Hechinger as Kraven’s brother and Spider-Man villain Chameleon, Thor: Love and Thunder’s Russell Crowe as Kraven’s father, and Levi Miller as a younger version of Kraven.
While there’s not much known about the film’s plot at this time, Kraven is one of the oldest Spider-Man villains and has been a part of some of the hero’s most popular storylines like “Kraven’s Last Hunt”. The character has even been a part of the super villain team The Sinister Six and has played a role in various Spider-Man TV shows like The Spectacular Spider-Man as well as video games like Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. He’s psychologically one of the most fascinating characters as he’s a villain just hunting the famous Web-Head for the thrill of it.
Because of that it will be interesting to see what direction the film will take the character without Spider-Man around. It helps that Taylor-Johnson is no stranger to big comic book roles as he has played Kick Ass in the hero’s self-titled franchise and Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron. While Kraven the Hunter has flirted with the big screen before in various canceled projects, this will be the character’s official big screen debut.
Kraven the Hunter will be bringing his skills to theaters on October 6, 2023 which was Madame Webs original release date before it moved. This is Just in time for Spider-Man fans to design their own Kraven Halloween costume. Other films affected by this release swap include Sony’s Garfield animated film. While we wait for Kraven’s first big screen adventure, you can catch up on the Spider-Verse by streaming Morbius on Netflix now. Spider-Man: No Way Home – The More Fun Stuff Version is also still in theaters.