Aaron Taylor-Johnson fronts the Givenchy Gentleman fragrance
Actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson has played some interesting roles in his career from a young John Lennon in Nowhere Boy to the lead in the meta superhero hit Kick-Ass. And who can forget his memorable but short-lived turn as Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron and his Golden Globe-winning performance as the sadistic Ray Marcus in Tom Ford's Noctural Animals. Now, the British-born talent has a new role, as Mr Givenchy Gentleman. He speaks exclusively to Buro about being the face of the French fashion house's latest fragrance, working with his wife on a screenplay and why Clare Waight Keller is the ultimate visionary.
Who is the Givenchy man today?
What we believe here in Givenchy Gentleman is that the modern, contemporary gentleman is someone who is a free thinker, someone who's open-minded, compassionate, a feminist, someone who believes in equality, someone who has charisma and charm, and is there to bring people together.
What's your vision of Givenchy?
It's a very prestigious house, a heritage of history and it's about honouring Hubert de Givenchy, who once said that: "The secret to elegance is to be yourself and be true to yourself." I believe that is something really beautiful to live up to.
As an actor what do you love most about taking on new roles?
I feel like I've been very fortunate to be able to explore a lot of characters and a lot of genres. So there wouldn't be one thing over the next. I love a film when I'm challenged as an actor because I feel like I'm learning a lot from a filmmaker.
Can you tell me a little bit more about your adventure with Tom Ford in Nocturnal Animals?
Tom's an incredible director and someone who has a real passion for film. He's someone who can demand a crew, in business and within his fashion empire. He's also a beautiful man who's very precise and knows exactly what he wants. As an actor, to have a director like that, it's great.
TOM FORD IS BEYOND AMAZING. HE'S A CHARMING MAN, VERY HUMBLE AND A VERY BEAUTIFUL PERSON. SO I FEEL VERY BLESSED TO KNOW HIM AS MY FRIEND
You've also just completed the movie, The Wall. Can you tell us about that?
I shot The Wall last year with Doug Liman, the filmmaker and director who does all the Bourne Identities. He works a lot with Tom Cruise too — he's extraordinary. We made The Wall with a next-to-nothing budget with Amazon for 14 days out in the desert. It was a real actor's passion project, I guess.
Someone else who is a visionary in the creative industries is Clare Waight Keller. What do you think of her at the helm of Givenchy?
I'm super excited and thrilled that Clare is the new creative director for Givenchy. I think it's incredible that the house has their first female director. She's a beautiful person and very humble as well as modest, and I think it's always great to have a strong woman at the helm.
Now tell us what you think of the perfume, Gentleman Givenchy?
I love the smell. I think it's really a very subtle, sweet, sensitive smell with masculine, woody notes to it. It's very light and feels very fresh. I think... yes, I think it could even work really well on women, you know, when women go for a masculine scent.
When and where did you shoot the advertising campaign?
We shot for two days. My wife was actually the director of the commercial and she shot the print too, which we shot at the same time. Jeff Cronenweth, a fantastic cinematographer, who shot Fight Club, did the commercial. So it looks fantastic. It feels like a feature, and it's set in a chateau. It was a beautiful location.
In Los Angeles?
We shot out that way, yes.
Now you're in Paris. What do you think about the city?
I love the city. I love walking around the city. I haven't been in a while, but the last time we came I got a bike and we'd just ride around the city. That's the best way to feel it and see it. I also love the food and the ambiance here. It's been really beautiful.
What's next for you?
Future plans? Well, I live in LA with my wife and my kids go to school there. Actually, my wife and I are currently writing a screenplay together that we hope to shoot next year, but generally the irony is most films are always shot somewhere else in the world. They're not done in Hollywood anymore.