Sam Taylor-Wood On Aaron Johnson, 'Nowhere Boy'
Originally a photographer and visual artist, Sam Taylor-Wood has now made her directorial debut with the John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy, starring Aaron Johnson as the iconic Beatles guitarist during his adolescent years. Not only did the film establish her role as a director, but it also changed her personal life forever — she and the film's star Johnson began dating after the movie wrapped and currently have two daughters together, Romy Hero and Wylda Rae. The couple announced their engagement at the film's 2009 premiere and recently tied the knot, both changing their last names to Taylor-Johnson.
In addition to working with artists like David Beckham and Sean Penn, Taylor-Wood has also been named Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her work in the arts. But it was the untold story of Lennon that attracted her to move into film. "I felt that it was a story worth telling," Taylor-Wood told Uinterview exclusively, "and it was such an intense story and such an emotional story that I thought it would help us understand his music and lyrics and who he was more."
- Q: Hi Sam, this is Chris from London. This is your first film. Why did you decide to direct? - Chris Sansom
- A: Well, I had come out of being an artist, or I still am an artist, but I wanted a bigger, different challenge. The process of working with actors and making film was exciting to me and I wanted to just extend that, so that it was a bigger picture. And also to tell a story, which was something I'd not done before.
- Q: Thanks. My follow up question is what inspired you to tackle John Lennon's story, and have you always been interested in his life? - Chris Sansom
- A: Well really the script was what attracted me, because I read it and I had no idea that Lennon had been through this childhood or any of the experiences that I read about. So I felt that it was a story worth telling, and it was such an intense story and such an emotional story that I thought it would help us understand his music and lyrics and who he was more.
- Q: Hi Sam. This is Alex from Maine. First of all, loved your movie. My question is: casting the perfect John is obviously essential. What did you see of John Lennon in Aaron Johnson? - Alex Santos Murry
- A: Well the thing was I knew I had to have somebody who could carry the weight of the icon, and at the same time be able to learn how to play guitar, sing, speak like Lennon with a Liverpudlian accent, and then most importantly embody the spirit and intensity of Lennon. I saw a lot of people and no one really came to the audition with the ability to carry such a role. And I knew that Aaron had been on the set of "Kick-Ass," playing Kick-Ass, so when he arrived I didn't really hold out high expectations. I thought, 'He hasn't had time to research this and I don't really know what he's going to bring to this.' But he came into the room as Lennon and that was pretty impressive for a first casting.
- Q: Thanks. You ended up having a child with your star, Aaron Johnson. How did your relationship evolve? Did it affect the shooting of the film? - Alex Santos Murry
- A: It didn't evolve during the filming, because I was at work and he was at work; it was a work environment. And we didn't really mix the two, so that happened when we finished filming.
"It's basically her story from photographer Andres de Dienes. He refers to her in the book as 'Norma Jean' and it's really cool to hear about how she was, how she acted."
Ice on the Dune
"There's a song called 'DNA' and there's a song called 'Alive.' It's upbeat and it's fun."
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