Friday, September 13, 2013

Pure Indulgence - Aaron Johnson

Prepare yourself for some serious gushing. :)

This entry is dedicated to a very young actor whom I only recently began to fully appreciate, despite having seen him in movies as far back as 10 years ago.

I'm talking about Shanghai Knights (2003), in which he played the impish Charlie Chaplin. I definitely remember him, but at the time, he was still just another cute child actor whose future remained uncertain.

Fast forward to 2006's The Illusionist, which starred 2 of my faves - Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti. 16-year-old Aaron portrayed the teen version of Norton's character, and once again, I have a very clear memory of the performance, especially his angelic good looks.

Another 4 years passed before Kick-Ass (2010) materialized. I saw it soon after the release, curiosity piqued by all the rave reviews. This time, Aaron was front and centre in the lead role, but I still considered him a teen at best ( he was 19 but looked 15 ), and forgot about the show pretty quickly.

In late 2012, Joe Wright's Anna Karenina came along. I watched it primarily for the director and more famous cast members ( Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Matthew MacFadyen ), but Aaron's intense, sensual turn as Count Vronsky gave me palpitations. I doubt I even recognized him as the geeky fellow from Kick-Ass, since his brunette locks were dyed blonde, and his mannerisms were completely different.

At some point, I did a Google search and realized who he was. I also discovered his penchant for much older women - he's married to a female director 24 years his senior, and their first child was conceived when he was 19 (!) - which made him even more intriguing. ( Why, you ask? Just look at Ryan Gosling and his May-December romances. )

About a year passed before I saw Savages (2013), a violent drama/thriller directed by Oliver Stone, co-starring Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Benicio del Toro and Salma Hayek. This was the definitive turning point - Aaron's ferocious, passionate Ben eclipsed Kitsch's bland Chon ( honestly, what do people see in the latter? I consider him grossly overrated. ), and I got the full blast of his charisma and sex appeal.

After that, I re-watched Kick-Ass, Anna Karenina and The Illusionist, and tracked down his other earlier films, e.g. Nowhere Boy, Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging, and Albert Nobbs.

He was 18 or 19 in Nowhere Boy (2009), in which he played a young pre-Beatles John Lennon. It's a rather obscure film which I probably would've missed if not for the Internet, but I'm so glad I saw it because Aaron is positively electrifying. He doesn't burn up the screen or blatantly ooze pheromones, but is still effortlessly hypnotic.

He also demonstrates musical talent, showing off a lovely singing voice, though apparently simulating the guitar-plucking bits. Quite a few scenes involve stage performances, and he nails every single one of them.

Sam Taylor-Wood directed Aaron in this film, and they soon became a couple. Controversy aside, many interviews quote her describing him as an "old soul", which explains everything - his remarkable maturity, the consistently powerful performances, his gravitation towards a woman old enough to be his mum ( sounds creepy, but I applaud him for it! ).

At the still tender age of 23, he's married with 2 biological daughters, plus 2 stepchildren from his wife's previous marriage. Only time will tell if the union lasts, but I'm rooting for them to go the distance.

Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging is a typical teen rom-com, but Aaron transcends the typically vapid genre to deliver a sweet, nuanced turn.

And last night, I watched Albert Nobbs, a drama about a woman pretending to be a man in 19th century Dublin. The lead role is inhabited by Glenn Close, with Aaron's name appearing 3rd in the opening credits ( after Mia Wasikowska ). He wasn't the first choice though, only getting the part after Orlando Bloom dropped out ( to care for his pregnant wife ). Personally, I think it's a huge blessing in disguise, because Bloom's abilities in the acting department are significantly inferior to Aaron's.

I'd also like to point out that AJ is absolutely dishy in this movie. His hair's properly combed, he's clean-shaven, and those 19th century outfits flatter his athletic physique beautifully. The scenes he shares with Mia are guaranteed to make your pulse race, and he really excels at brooding in a corner!

Please wait a moment while I mop up a puddle of drool. :)

I'm now trying to acquire Kick-Ass 2, and eagerly await his next 2 films - blockbusters Godzilla and The Avengers: Age Of Ultron.

Immensely pleased with his rising profile in Hollywood!

In the meantime, I shall attempt to obtain a copy of The Greatest (2009), a family drama co-starring Pierce Brosnan, Susan Sarandon and Carey Mulligan.

I hope you become an AJ fan as well! I've never had cougar tendencies before, but for Aaron, I'll make an exception. :D

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I totally agre with you!!!! Since I knew him, my life is so much happier! He's amazing!