For Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Kick-Ass,” “Savages”), the combination of a cinematic icon and director Gareth Edwards’ vision for his epic rebirth made “Godzilla” an irresistible prospect.
“When Gareth and I first talked about the film, he told me to forget that it was a big monster movie,” recalls the actor. “I loved what Godzilla meant to him, and that he wanted to bring him to the screen in a big disaster spectacle, but to tell the story with a high level of artistry and emotion. That’s what made me want to do this project, and Gareth made the experience incredibly special.”
Taylor-Johnson takes on the central role of Ford Brody, a Naval officer specializing in disarming bombs, who has just reunited with his wife and young son in San Francisco when he is called away to help his troubled father in Japan.
“Ford is the hero of our film and sees a lot of action,” Edwards comments. “And because so much of the storytelling is visual, it was critical that we understand what he’s thinking and feeling, so we needed an actor capable of communicating a lot in a single look. I’d seen ‘Nowhere Boy,’ in which Aaron played John Lennon, and it was such a soulful performance. There was so much intensity and emotion behind his eyes. I knew from that moment we’d found the guy.”
Ford’s expertise at disarming bombs draws him to the frontlines of humanity’s united defense against the greatest threat it has ever faced, but he’s torn between duty and the need to find and protect his young family. “He’s the kind of specialist the military needs and it’s all hands on deck,” Taylor-Johnson explains. “At the same time, his mission is to get back to his family, and his work in the military becomes the only way he can maneuver himself closer to San Francisco. But it’s heartbreaking because he knows he might not make it home at all.”
Ford carries with him the weight of an incident from his childhood that tore his family apart 15 years earlier, when he lived with his parents in Japan. But the events leading up to that fateful day in 1999 originate farther south, in the Philippines, where the film begins. A remote mine in a Philippine jungle collapses, revealing beneath it the fossilized, highly radioactive remains of something very big and very old.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson is currently working on Joss Whedon’s action adventure “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” in which he joins the super hero ensemble as Quicksilver. The film is slated for release in 2015.
He came to prominence in the title role of Sam Taylor-Wood’s 2009 feature “Nowhere Boy,” portraying future Beatle John Lennon during the musician’s turbulent teenage years. His riveting performance earned him a London Critics’ Circle Film Award nomination for Young British Performer of the Year, a British Independent Film Award nomination for Best Actor, and the Empire Award for Best Newcomer. Screen International also named the young actor as one of its “Stars of Tomorrow.”
Taylor-Johnson followed this triumph the following year, starring in Matthew Vaughn’s hit movie “Kick-Ass,” for which he earned another Empire Award nomination, this time for Best Actor. Based on the Mark Millar comic, the film also starred Nicolas Cage, Chloe Grace Moretz and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. The director and cast reteamed for the sequel, “Kick-Ass 2,” which hit theaters in the summer of 2013.
His recent film work also includes starring roles in Oliver Stone’s “Savages” and Joe Wright’s “Anna Karenina,” with Keira Knightley and Jude Law.
Slated to open across the Philippines on May 15 in 3D, 2D and IMAX 3D in select theatres, “Godzilla” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.