Aaron Taylor-Johnson stuck to his guns when selecting smaller films early in his career.
The “Kick-Ass” breakout star revealed in an Esquire cover story that he turned down large franchise roles that “nobody knows about” to lead indies.
“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,” Taylor-Johnson said, adding that there were “big, huge franchises that were in play.”
“I wanted, purely, to be with my babies,” the father of three said. “I didn’t want to be taken away from them. I battled with what that would be like. 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 fuck.”
Taylor-Johnson was cast in the titular “Spider-Man” spin-off role of “Kraven the Hunter” after early footage of his “Bullet Train” performance impressed Sony executives. The “Nosferatu” actor already made his Marvel debut with “Avengers: Age of Ultron” eight years prior.
“I mean, quite honestly, I thought I’d actually been done with these sorts of movies,” he said. “You’re just constantly trying to fine-tune what is right for you, and fuck what everyone else thinks and the judgment outside.”
He added, “You can’t step into this role, you can’t step into what this franchise is, with a fucking half-assed, ‘Let’s see how it goes attitude.’ You have to be mentally prepared for what could come with that. I think I’m secure in my life now to know that I’m happy to deal with that. I don’t think I was probably ready to invite that into my life earlier on.”
Taylor-Johnson told The Hollywood Reporter in 2022 that “Kraven the Hunter” is a different kind of Marvel film, in part due to it being shot entirely on location which is “going to make all the difference.”
“It’s going to add something really beautiful to our personal story,” Taylor-Johnson said. “It also sets ‘Kraven’ apart from that Marvel stage look. It’s important for this character to be in the real world. It’s important for the authenticity of the story. When you’re running on streets barefoot, you take in those elements and play within that.”