Aaron Taylor-Johnson Addresses Rumors That He's the Next James Bond

The actor also opens up about being 'mentally prepared' to take on a new MCU role in 'Kraven the Hunter.'

In his upcoming film, Kraven the Hunter, Aaron Taylor-Johnson makes his return to the MCU -- one of a handful of actors to play two different heroes in the comic universe.

But the somewhat reclusive actor admits, in a new interview with Esquire, that he has not always been interested in taking roles in the big franchise films.

"I wanted, purely, to be with my babies. I didn't want to be taken away from them," he says of turning down "big, huge franchises" after starring as Pietro Maximoff in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron. "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. But yeah—I also slightly didn't give a f**k."

Taylor-Johnson, 33, shares two daughters with his wife, director Sam Taylor-Johnson, 56, and is also stepfather to her two daughters from a previous marriage.

"In my opinion, the actor that goes job to job becomes f**king boring," he continues. "You know that someone's going to pick you up, take you to work, do your makeup, tell you, 'Here’s your mark. These are your lines. You're f**king great!' And on to the next job. F**k off. I’m sure people dream of that. If this is what you want to do, that’s great. It doesn’t feed my soul. I enjoy the normality of things, the everyday stuff. Getting my kids ready in the mornings, taking them to school and activities—that’s plenty. That feeds my soul."

Norman Jean Roy/Esquire

Based on Taylor-Johnson's creative mentality, it seems rumors that he's readying to play the next James Bond are little more than that, for now.

"I have to go by the beat of my own drum. It’s my own path, what feels intuitive to me," he says. "I’ve never made a decision based on other people’s perspectives, or their judgments, or their expectations. You lose your f**king mind if you do that. Your sense of worth and soul is gone."

"You need to understand what is integral to you and what feels right, and you’ve got to stay on track with what’s present in front of you," he adds. "Kraven is what’s in front of me.”

A lesser-known character for casual comic fans or total newcomers, Kraven the Hunter also goes by Sergei Kravinoff, a hunter-warrior with animalistic powers. Introduced in the comics as a Spider-Man foe, Kraven was often portrayed as a big game hunter, however, Taylor-Johnson has described the modern interpretation of the character as a conservationist and "protector of the natural world."

"You can’t step into this role, you can’t step into what this franchise is, with a f**king half-*a**ed, 'Let’s see how it goes' attitude, you have to be mentally prepared for what could come with that," the actor notes. "I think I’m secure in my life now to know that I’m happy to deal with that. I don’t think I was probably ready to invite that into my life earlier on."

Taylor-Johnson has signed on to play the character in multiple Marvel films, though it remains to be seen how Kraven will fit into the MCU as it now stands. 

And, as far as what comes next, the actor stays cryptic, saying, "What comes from that could generate many different conversations."

Until then, he'll enjoy family life, something that he tells the publication has been front of mind since he was a young boy.

"[I knew] I was going to have a big family," he shares. "I knew I was going to be a young father. I knew I was going to have many kids."

Kraven the Hunter -- which also stars Ariana DeBose, Russell Crowe, Christopher Abbott, Fred Hechinger and Alessandro Nivola -- is set to premiere on Aug. 30, 2024.