Aaron Taylor Johnson knew at a young age that I was going to be a young father

Aaron Taylor Johnson covers the latest issue of Esquire, to promote his lead role in Kraven the Hunter. There’s a big chunk of the interview devoted to Aaron dodging the entire conversation around James Bond – he’s seen as one of the leading contenders to take over as 007, but he doesn’t confirm or deny anything about it. He won’t even say if he’s had meetings with Barbara Broccoli. There’s something else hanging over this piece too – Aaron’s refusal to just “give in” and be a movie star. He says he doesn’t want it, that he wants to just vibe and make his own choices as an artist without a movie star plan. But now that he’s in his 30s, it does feel like he’s about to have a bigger breakout. Some highlights from Esquire:

He and Sam have four kids, three still at home—ages sixteen, thirteen, and eleven. “Teenagers, man,” says Aaron, who just turned thirty-three this week. “I’ve got teenagers.”

He doesn’t like to book back-to-back projects: “In my opinion, the actor that goes job to job becomes f–king boring. You know that someone’s going to pick you up, take you to work, do your makeup, tell you, ‘Here’s your mark. These are your lines. You’re f–king great!’ And on to the next job. F–k off. I’m sure people dream of that. If this is what you want to do, that’s great. It doesn’t feed my soul. I enjoy the normality of things, the everyday stuff. Getting my kids ready in the mornings, taking them to school and activities—that’s plenty. That feeds my soul.”

He doesn’t like big studio movies: “There was Kick-Ass and then there was Godzilla and Avengers, and all those things lined up for me. But I didn’t really care for them.” He was getting offers to do more of that stuff for more money. He was up for roles “that nobody knows about—big, huge franchises that were in play.” But by then he and Sam had two small children. The decision not to keep going down that blockbuster road wasn’t hard. “I wanted, purely, to be with my babies. I didn’t want to be taken away from them. I battled with what that would be like.” Looking back, he says, “I would say I was probably not ready to be in that position anyway—it was too early. But yeah, I also slightly didn’t give a f–k.”

He & Sam moved back to England, and now have a farmhouse in Somerset: “[Country life is] what I love doing. I have pigs. I have bees!”

The group of actors he came up with: “It was me and Nick Hoult, it was Dan Kaluuya, it was Jack O’Connell.” They read for the same parts, hung out and grabbed drinks afterward. Learning who booked which gig was instructive; you could see a logic behind it, he says. “You’d be like, ‘Oh my God—Andrew Garfield’s perfect for this.’ Or ‘I don’t know why I’m here—this is Jack’s job.’ That teaches you that you’re not f–king right for everything.”

Whether he considers his marriage a creative partnership: “I don’t know. I don’t think that’s accurate. Yeah, we worked—I met Sam as actor and director. I think we’re really great at collaborating. But that’s not why I fell in love with her.” It was another one of those gut instincts, he says—he knew right away when he met Sam but also before they met, by the time he was ten or eleven—that “I was going to have a big family. I knew I was going to be a young father. I knew I was going to have many kids.”

He doesn’t want to talk about his marriage anymore: “I’m trying to be as honest as possible. I’ve probably talked to you more about my kids and Sam than I have with anybody. I’ve got really nothing to hide, and I’m secure in what we have. But I’m not going to unlock things that are actually precious to me.”

[From Esquire]

Every so often, Generation TikTok tries to make “Aaron finally left Sam” into a thing and clearly, it’s never true. Like, I thought their relationship was creepy too, especially how they first got together. But it’s also been fifteen years, and Sam and Aaron seem really happy? After all that, they have a strong marriage, perhaps even a conservative, “traditional marriage.” She raises the kids and he works, they live in the country, they have a small farm. They’ve both always insisted that Aaron was the one who knew Sam was the one, and that he wanted these kids.


Cover & IG courtesy of Esquire.

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