In the past ten years or so, British actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson has established himself as one of the most versatile and interesting actors in the industry today. Since breaking out as heartthrob Robbie in Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, Johnson has excelled in everything from music biopics to auteur driven dramas and comic book movies. To celebrate the release of the outstanding and incredibly tense, The Wall, we thought we’d round the films that have been key to his success.
Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008)
This hugely enjoyable romantic-comedy follows a 14-year-old girl who keeps a diary about the ups and downs of being a teenager, including the things she learns about kissing. Taylor-Johnson’s performance may not have revealed the nuanced and dramatic depths that he would later excel at but it showcased his natural charisma and potential as a performer that would allow him to take on a range of exciting roles after.
Nowhere Boy (2009)
In a film that first brought him together with his future wife, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Aaron manages the near impossible task of depicting a real life figure that has been cemented in popular culture. In a role that presents John Lennon’s years as a teenager, he is perfectly able to pull off Lennon’s mix of mischief, pain and entitlement. As for Nowhere Boy itself, it is a compelling and brilliantly made small scale drama; a welcome and worthy addition to a long canon of music biopics.
In Matthew Vaughn’s impeccably crafted, intensely violent and completely unique adrenaline shot of a movie, Aaron Taylor-Johnson stars as Dave Lizewski, a high-school student who decides to become a superhero despite having no powers. In a film packed full of standout performances, from Nicolas Cage’s Adam West riff to Chloe Grace Moretz’s Hit-Girl, Johnson still manages to stand out as an endearing, compelling and surprisingly funny lead. Here, Taylor-Johnson truly cemented himself as one of the most exciting leading men around.
Nocturnal Animals (2016)
When you’re able to out act Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams and Michael Shannon, you’re certainly doing something right. While Taylor-Johnson was able to showcase a formidable range in his previous work, he far surpasses those heights here. In Tom Ford’s thoroughly engrossing and one of a kind drama, Taylor-Johnson takes on the role of Ray Marcus; a deeply reprehensible and disgusting character who rapes and kills Tony Hastings’ family. It is testament to the brilliance of this performance that within a few scenes, he is able to completely erase any previous impression we had of him. While he was robbed of an Oscar nomination, he deservedly won a Golden Globe that year for best supporting actor.
The Wall (2017)
Never one to get too comfortable, The Wall once again sees Aaron Taylor-Johnson entering challenging and uncharted territory. Aside from a brief appearances from John Cena, he carries the whole film by himself. Needless to say, he completely pulls it off and provides one of the greatest performances of the year thus far. Above all else, the role proves how disarmingly mature he is as an actor despite only being twenty-seven.
The Wall is released exclusively in Vue Cinemas on July 28th