Imagine going to work and being called a sex god by your co-workers, who also happen to be super-humanly beautiful. Now, while you’re at it, dream about being only 18 years old and having already earned enough money to buy a bachelor pad in the trendy part of East London. Sound like never-never land? Well, British actor Aaron Johnson calls it reality.
Fresh from his successful turn as Robbie (a.k.a. the school sex god) in Gurinder Chadha’s 2008 comedy Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, Johnson will next be seen playing the ill-fated boyfriend of hot commodity Carey Mulligan in the upcoming drama The Greatest. The film revolves around a family coping with the loss of a son. “I play the son,” Johnson explains. “He dies, so I’m in it for about 30 seconds.”
Surprisingly, for someone who lives the dream and makes huge impressions even with limited screen time, Johnson is physically small and admirably self-deprecating. “Angus was good fun,” he says, “although I had to spend many hours in makeup to look like a handsome school kid.” His career started very early and included playing Edward Norton’s character as a boy in the 2006 magician thriller The Illusionist. The mention of this formative role leads the actor to waxing lyrical about Norton’s film Fight Club (1999), which leads into his fascination with Brad Pitt, and then to his desire to one day work with Quentin Tarantino. Perhaps this leaning toward tougher cinematic characters is an indication of Johnson’s upcoming projects. After all, he’s going to need to rely on a touch of toughness to play the title role in director Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of the comic book Kick-Ass, about a wannabe superhero. But, still, most dreamy is his upcomingturn as a young John Lennon in Sam Taylor-Wood’s Nowhere Boy. Johnson was born almost a decade after Lennon’s murder, but he has become a bona fide fan. “I’m learning guitar and doing a lot of preparation,” he says. “It’s about his relationship with his aunt and mother before he was famous, which really informs what John Lennon became.” It’s a fitting character for a kid living an almost imaginary life.
Clips from The Greatest
Photo above: Aaron Johnson in London, February 2009. Jacket: Ralph Lauren Black Label. Cardigan: Yves Saint Laurent. T-shirt: Versace. Grooming products: Shu Uemura art of hair, including Liquid Fabric. Fragrance: Versace pour homme Styling: Mattias Karlsson/Intrepid. Grooming: Tomo Jidai/Jed Root. Special thanks: Spring Studios.