Superhero fatigue is proving to be a little bit of an epidemic right now, affecting everyone from DC’s big boss James Gunn to Marvel’s bigger boss Bob Iger. But it’s not just studio head honchos who are battling the insidious condition—it’s the actors too.
In a recent, pre-strike Esquire profile, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who broke into the scene through the franchise pipeline, bravely spoke out about his disdain for the blockbusters he once starred in.
Apparently, Taylor-Johnson had even more high-value offers on the table—roles “that nobody knows about—big, huge franchises that were in play”—but he turned them all down. By then, he and his wife Sam had two small children that immediately took priority. “I wanted, purely, to be with my babies,” he 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,” he continued of this cross-road in his career. Still, he doesn’t seem too bothered now. Just the opposite, in fact. “But yeah, I also slightly didn’t give a fuck,” he continued.
So, you might be wondering (if you’re not already on the Aaron Taylor-Johnson train, of course), this guy must be doing a bunch of niche, indie-type movies now, right? Kind of, yes—he’s currently set to appear in Robert Eggers’ long-gestating Nosferatu remake, as well as the Sam Taylor-Johnson-directed Rothko—but also, mostly, no. As in, he’s set to star in Sony’s Kraven The Hunter—an origin story for one of Spider-Man’s villains—now releasing in spring 2024 (due to the SAG-AFTRA strike).
“I mean, quite honestly, I thought I’d actually been done with these sorts of movies,” he said when asked why he took another superhero role six years after playing Quicksilver in Avengers: Age Of Ultron. So, what made this particular film special? The actor was apparently sold by the quality of the comics behind the script—specifically one 1987 outing called Kraven’s Last Hunt by J. M. DeMatteis. Also, according to director J. C. Chandor, this isn’t going to be one of the quippy, upbeat superhero films we’ve grown accustomed to at this point.
“Sony probably doesn’t want me to lead with this, but the story is a tragedy,” said Chandor. “When the final credits roll on this film, if you’ve been paying attention, you won’t have the feeling that this is all going to end great.”