Colin Firth has ”Pride and Prejudice” to thank for his career; Hugh Grant has ”Four Weddings & Funeral” to be thankful for. The latest cinematic sensation from Queenâ€™s Country, 18-year-old Aaron Johnson, will perpetually be grateful to Gurinder Chadha and her sweet coming-of-age tale ”Angus, Thongs and Snogging”.
The English actor, in Australia to promote the film, says he owes his career to the movie â€“ a career that now includes a starring role in a new Nicolas Cage film.
After plugging ”Angus”, Johnson boards a plane for Toronto where he starts filming ”Kick-Ass”, a highly anticipated new comic-book actioner, in which he plays the lead role of a highschool dork who decides to become a superhero despite the fact he has now super powers to speak of.
Johnsonâ€™s understandably anxious and even more palpably, quite exhausted, by recent developments â€“ like winning the role of the nerdy Dave in ”Kick-Ass”.
â€œNext week Iâ€™ll be in Toronto. Iâ€™m still trying to get my head around it. I just came back from New York actually where I was doing an independent film. Iâ€™ve gone from one side of the world to the other. My head is going crazyâ€, he says. â€œI woke up this morning and said â€˜Where am I?â€™ I looked out the window and saw the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge and Iâ€™m like â€˜Wow! How did I end up in Australia?â€™ Have you ever seen that film Jumper? Itâ€™s like Iâ€™m in Jumper!â€
Johnson says all this has happened rather quickly. â€œAt the beginning of the year you have like five bucks on you, or youâ€™re waiting for something to come out. Itâ€™s really nice that things have picked up a bit. And itâ€™s really nice to travel with your workâ€.
Johnson says he just happened to be in L.A, showing producers his work in Angus, when they were â€œrecastingâ€ the lead role in Kick-Ass.
â€œIt was real good timing. They were just doing the final recast for the lead and I got it. I donâ€™t quite know what happened â€“ itâ€™s all a bit of a blur to meâ€.
His fee may soon augment and the movies are definitely getting bigger, but ”Angus, Thongs and Snogging” will always have a special place in Johnsonâ€™s heart. The actor said heâ€™s very proud of the film and will remain so â€“ even after he gets his star on the Hollywood walk of fame.
One thing heâ€™s had trouble getting across to people is that itâ€™s not â€“ contrary to the title â€“ a fluffy teen comedy.
â€œItâ€™s a real-life movie – something very natural. Itâ€™s got all these events in it that everyone can relate to or familiarize with â€“ the first time situations, like when you were back in school, having your first kiss and so on â€“ it plays realâ€.
The movie is a coming of age story, following 14-year-old Georgia Nicolson (Georgia Groome) as she tries to get a boyfriend (she has her sights set on dreamboy Robbie, played by Johnson) and throw the greatest 15th birthday party ever, while trying to keep her parents happy.
â€œIt tackles real issues â€“ stuff we all go through. My character has just moved to town and he comes from a broken family, and Georgiaâ€™s character is worried her parents are about to get a divorce. Itâ€™s rare to see a film at the moment that makes you laugh and makes you cringe and makes you happy and makes you sad â€“ it strikes a lot of chords.â€
Unlike a lot of the teen movies that Hollywood makes (â€œWhere everything is made so over-the-top!â€ says Johnson) this one has the audacity – how could they!? â€“ to cast 15-year-olds as 15-year-olds!
â€œ[Hollywood] always casts twenty year olds to play teenagers. Weâ€™re all at the right ageâ€, says Johnson. â€œGeorgia [Groome] really grew up throughout the film â€“ at the start of the film sheâ€™s a young girl, by the end of it sheâ€™s a young woman.â€
Johnson says heâ€™s not a thing like his character, â€œSex Godâ€ Robbie.
â€œRobbieâ€™s like this really cool band-playing guy. Iâ€™m not this cool dream boy typeâ€, he says. â€œIâ€™m quite a genuine, caring guy but Iâ€™m more the guy-next-doorâ€.
And unlike Robbie, Johnson doesnâ€™t play an instrument.
â€œI wish I couldâ€, says the amiable actor, adding that he had to fake it for the film. â€œI had to sing along to the music that [the band] recorded.â€
That wasnâ€™t anywhere near as hard as working with his feline co-star though.
â€œThere were two cats. Thereâ€™s one that looks like Angus, the one on the poster, and thereâ€™s another thatâ€™s just really crazy. Thatâ€™s the one that does all the stunts â€“ and all the scratching. For about a week we had scratches all over us.â€
Johnson also has a rather passionate kiss in the movie. Was he worried about that? Not at all! It was easy compared to what heâ€™s had to do in other films.
â€œMy first kissing scene was when I was like 13. My first sex scene was when I was like 16 â€“ with Kate Ashfield, who played Simon Peggâ€™s girlfriend in Shaun of the Dead. She was like 32. That was a great job that one. That was good fun!â€
Next up is that knee-trembling first meet with Nicolas Cage for ”Kick-Ass”.
â€œIn two days I see him. I hope Iâ€™m going to be awake through the rehearsalâ€, he laughs. â€œOr Iâ€™ll probably be just watching him in awe – – and nod offâ€.
Johnson says his character doesnâ€™t do a lot of stunts in the film, but most of his co-stars have been doing fight training.
â€œThereâ€™s a younger girl in it. Her and Nicolas Cage do a lot of the fighting. I donâ€™t do much fighting â€“ I get my faced kicked in a lot though. She goes around with a samurai sword cutting peopleâ€™s heads off. Itâ€™s very violent obviously. Itâ€™s going to be quite a crazy one. I play an American comic book nerd so itâ€™s very different from the sex god rolesâ€.
After that, Johnson may return to play Robbie in a sequel to ”Angus, Thongs & Snogging”.
â€œThis film is based on the first two books, so if they did a sequel itâ€™ll be based on the third and fourth. There are ideas for the sequel. Theyâ€™re thinking of doing one. Weâ€™ll see how [this one] goesâ€.
– CLINT MORRIS
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Against the Current - the band, not adventures in dangerous swimming 101
Zedd - If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy? (Well, answer my question!)
Arrow (Okay, Felicity from Arrow!)
Chrissy Costanza (cat eyes and buttery lyrics!)
Girls (TV) (Okay, Allison Williams!)
Movies - especially when they play in the dark.
Twin Peaks (TV)
Friends (TV) (It had me at "No way are you cool enough to pull Clint"; damn straight, Chandler!)
Traveling - preferably where water is, so I can splash someone!
Star Wars trilogy - no, the other one, fella!
Alex G - far more talented than her younger brother Alex H
Cameron Crowe movies - Say Anything..., Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous
The sign 'Free Wi-Fi'.
Reenacting dance/song scenes from "Grease" with my little girl (hey! Wait till you see my 'Summer Lovin'! - don't judge)
Die Hard - 40 stories of Sheer Adventure!
Alex Goot & Friends (his enemies aren't half as talented!)
Cooking up a nice dish and sitting in the entertainment area, on a cool night, basking in it's greatness.
Inflatable kids pools full of Vodka Lime Crush.
Acidic Email from angry, over passionate teenagers after I trash something "Twilight"-related on the site. Sparkle elsewhere.
My baby girl's big, caring heart.