Born in 1990 in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England, Aaron Johnson started acting as a child. He made commercials and worked in theater before appearing in his first film, Tom & Thomas, in 2002. Johnson starred as John Lennon in 2010’s Nowhere Boy. That same year, he played a teen-turned-superhero in Kick-Ass. Johnson also had leading roles in Savages and Anna Karenina, both released in 2012.
Actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson was born Aaron Perry Johnson on June 13, 1990, in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. Johnson spent his early years in Holmer Green, England. He later described his childhood to the Globe &Mail, saying “I grew up in a pretty rubbish area outside of London, and I knew I didn’t fit in. I had to break out and find what I wanted to do.” Johnson soon found his calling as an actor, appearing in commercials and on stage.
At the age of 8, Aaron Johnson hit the London stage in a production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth starring Rufus Sewell. He made his film debut in 2002’s Tom &Thomas with Sean Bean. For the project, the twelve-year-old actor spent six months in Amsterdam. “I had a tutor and all that,” Johnson told the Guardian newspaper. “My mum quit her job and came with me. That’s the way it was for a few years with the acting. I’d travel a lot then come back home and try to slip back into the school routine really quickly.”
Johnson also landed work on television, appearing in such dramas as The Bill and Casualty. Back on the big screen, he had a supporting role in the Jackie Chan-Owen Wilson western Shanghai Knights (2003). But it was Johnson’s role in the teen dramatic comedy Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008) that really helped raise his profile, especially with younger British movie-goers.
Johnson began a new phase of his career in 2010, with American audiences receiving a double dose of this rising star in two very different film projects. In Nowhere Boy, he played a young John Lennon. Johnson worked hard to overcome what his initial obstacles in playing the character. As he explained to Vogue, “I couldn’t sing. I couldn’t play guitar, and I couldn’t do a Liverpool accent.”
The film explored the legendary music icon’s teenage years and the emotionally charged family dynamics between Lennon, his mother, and his aunt who largely raised him. The independent drama was directed by artist Sam Taylor-Wood, and she and Johnson became off-screen.
Also in 2010, Johnson starred in the unusual action film Kick-Ass with Chloe Moretz and Nicolas Cage. He played a comic book devotee who turns into an unlikely superhero in the film. The quirky movie had an impressive opening weekend gross of more than $19 million, according to boxofficemojo.com. Since its release, Kick-Ass developed enough of a following to warrant a sequel, which is slated to debut in 2013.
Johnson next tackled a supporting role in the period drama Albert Nobbs (2011) with Glenn Close and Mia Wasikowska.
Returning to present-day, he worked with director Oliver Stone on Savages (2012) with Blake Lively and Taylor Kitsch. His character is a marijuana grower who, along with his friend and girlfriend, get mixed up with a Mexican drug organization.
Later that year,
Johnson co-starred with Keira Knightley in the Russian drama Anna Karenina based on the classic work by Leo Tolstoy. He played Count Vronsky, the man who has an affair with Anna Karenina (Knightley) behind her husband’s back (played by Jude Law). “I’m kind of like the typical blond in the movie … I’m this dashing blond young officer in a white uniform,” he explained to the Guardian newspaper. He also explained that the film is “a study of privilege.”
Johnson is married to Sam Taylor-Wood. The couple wed in June 2012. Around the same time, Johnson changed his last name from Johnson to Taylor-Johnson. Much has been made of the couple’s age difference—she is more than 20 years older than him, but they appear to be unaffected by this issue. They have two daughters together, Wylda Rose and Romy Hero.