Who is Aaron Taylor-Johnson the man expected to become James Bond and what films has he been in?

19 March 2024, 09:08 | Updated: 19 March 2024, 09:17

Who is Aaron Taylor-Johnson?
Who is Aaron Taylor-Johnson? Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Kit Heren

Aaron Taylor-Johnson's expected announcement as the new James Bond has divided opinion.

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Some have praised the reported casting decision - which has not been made official - as a step forward for 007.

But others said they couldn't imagine the Kick-Ass star in the famous spy role, and preferred other candidates like Henry Cavill or Idris Elba.

Although he has appeared in a string of Hollywood films in a career spanning more than a decade, Taylor-Johnson is less well known than some of his contemporaries.

Here we look at who Taylor-Johnson's life and career, as he prepares to put on the iconic tuxedo.

Read more: Aaron Taylor-Johnson 'chosen as new James Bond', with actor 'to sign deal to take over from Daniel Craig this week'

Read more: The spy who trigger warned me: Viewers told classic James Bond films could 'cause offence' to modern audiences

Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Picture: Getty

Child actor

Taylor-Johnson was born in 1990 as Aaron Johnson in the Buckinghamshire town of High Wycombe, about 40 minutes west of London.

He began acting at the age of six, and appeared onstage in Macbeth alongside Rufus Sewell in 1999.

He began appearing in small parts in films and TV shows over the next few years, including a role in The Illusionist in 2006.

He starred in Nowhere Boy as a teenager
He starred in Nowhere Boy as a teenager. Picture: Getty

Breakthrough

In 2009, he starred in Nowhere Boy - an important role in his professional and personal life.

He won and was nominated for multiple awards for his performance as a young John Lennon.

But he also began a relationship with the film's 42-year-old director, who was then called Sam Wood.

The 23-year age difference between them raised some eyebrows at the time, but they got married in 2012 and have remained together.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson with his wife Sam Taylor-Wood
Aaron Taylor-Johnson with his wife Sam Taylor-Wood. Picture: Getty

They changed their names to Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Sam Taylor-Wood, respectively.

They have had two daughters together, and Taylor-Johnson is also the stepfather to Taylor-Wood's two children from her previous marriage.

Appearing in Kick-Ass 2
Appearing in Kick-Ass 2. Picture: Alamy

Kick Ass and career progression

Taylor-Johnson starred in superhero comedy Kick-Ass in 2010, which is the role he is still known best for by many.

The performance earned him the first of his two BAFTA nominations so far.

In 2012, he appeared in period drama Albert Nobbs alongside Glenn Close, before starring in Anna Karenina with Keira Knightley and Jude Law. Neither film was particularly well received.

Taylor Johnson reprised his Kick-Ass role in its sequel in 2013, which performed well at the box office despite a muted critical reception.

He starred in the 2014 film Godzilla
He starred in the 2014 film Godzilla. Picture: Alamy

Godzilla and superhero movie success

Taylor-Johnson took the lead role in Godzilla in 2014 as a US bomb disposal expert, alongside Bryan Cranston and Sally Hawkins. Again, the film received mixed reviews but was a major box office success.

The next year, he appeared in a supporting role in the Marvel movie Avengers: The Age of Ultron, which made over £1 billion.

He won a Golden Globe for Nocturnal Animals
He won a Golden Globe for Nocturnal Animals. Picture: Getty

Awards recognition

Taylor-Johnson appeared as the main, murderous antagonist in Nocturnal Animals, alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams.

The film was a critical and commercial success, and Taylor-Johnson won a Golden Globe award for his performance, as well as a second BAFTA nomination, although he was not nominated for an Oscar.

Taylor-Johnson played a supporting role in Tenet
Taylor-Johnson played a supporting role in Tenet. Picture: Alamy

Recent and upcoming work

In 2018, Taylor-Johnson starred alongside Chris Pine and Florence Pugh in Outlaw King, a Netflix film about the Scottish struggle for independence from England in the 1300s. The film received mixed reviews.

Taylor-Johnson appeared in a supporting role in Christopher Nolan's complicated time-travelling film Tenet in 2020, a performance for which he was praised.

He also starred in action comedy Bullet Train with Brad Pitt in 2022, which was a modest success among critics and at the box office.

Taylor-Johnson is slated to appear in three films this year: The Fall Guy, another action comedy, with Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt; Kraven the Hunter, a Marvel film in which he takes the title role; and Nosferatu.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Picture: Getty

Is he suited to James Bond?

Taylor-Johnson has long been rumoured to be among the candidates to replace Daniel Craig as Bond.

Some have raised objections that he does not appear smart enough to play the smooth spy, having sometimes appeared with a beard and long hair. Others have pointed that these are features he can change.

Taylor-Johnson is said to have done a screen test for Eon Productions, which makes the Bond films, in 2022.

And even if he is an unpopular choice, it may not take long for him to turn fan opinion around.

When Craig was cast nearly 20 years ago, some fans were so upset that they created the website entitled Daniel Craig is not Bond.

Five successful films later, many have called Craig the best Bond of all time.

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