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Aaron Taylor-Johnson is splashing into his first beauty role as Armani’s new brand ambassador.

The 33-year-old Golden Globes-winning actor is the new face of Armani Beauty’s Acqua di Giò men’s fragrance ($42-$160), which was first released in 1996 and has been unveiled in new look and eco-friendlier refillable options. The light and aquatic fragrance comes in parfum, eau de toilette and eau de parfum options. Shot by French music video director and singer-songwriter Woodkid, the monochromatic campaign sees the Kraven the Hunter star diving off an Italian cliff and into the Mediterranean Ocean.

Launching Feb. 16, the campaign “is definitely reflective and representing of the iconic Acqua di Giò,” Taylor-Johnson tells The Hollywood Reporter. “We’re in the world of the Mediterranean Sea and we’re on the cliff edges, and there’s a moment where I do a swan dive off into the 16-foot cliff into the ocean. It’s beautifully shot by Yoann [Lemoine, known as] Woodkid.

The spirit of it was very much in the vein of a man who is conscious of trying to liberate himself; he’s looking at the distance to find some change in his life. So there’s this whole huge leap of faith into the unknown and then sort of this swim in the ocean, which feels like a very much regenerating feeling of being renewed, so there’s a real sort of narrative and journey to this spirit. I’m really happy with what we captured. I think it was really beautiful, I’m proud of it, and I’m proud of what it stands for, so it’s exciting.”

Armani Beauty

The Acqua di Giò eau de toilette features notes of fresh Calabrian bergamot, neroli, green tangerine, rosemary, persimmon and Indonesian patchouli to create a light, aquatic scent. The longer-lasting parfum boasts a deeper woody and aquatic fragrance with clary sage heart, bergamot heart and rosemary essence. The bold cologne adds green mandarin, vetiver and sage to the mix for a woody, aromatic and aquatic fragrance. Sustainably sourced and natural ingredients go into the Acqua di Giò scents, and the proceeds from the lineup support forest preservation programs in Guatemala.

Taylor-Johnson will next be seen on the big screen this year in The Fall Guy (out May 3), Kraven the Hunter (Aug. 30), Rothko (expected Oct. 25) and Nosferatu (Dec. 25). Here, the British actor chats about returning to Marvel as a villain after his role as Quicksilver, what he’s growing in his countryside garden, the California destinations that evoke Acqua di Giò, why he considers his workouts as part of his wind-down routine and more.

What inspired the campaign shoot?

It was very much inspired by the place where Giorgio Armani [owns a home] in Pantalleria, which is an island off of Sicily and the Aeolian on that way in the Mediterranean Sea, so you’ll see it sort of captures very much that.

That makes me want to take a dip in the ocean now.

That’s what the eau de toilette gives you. It really does capture that sort of salty sort of freshness that you get from the ocean, and then the sort of citrus fruit trees that grow along the coast. There’s a sort of earthy tone. So it’s that sort of duality. There’s the earthiness and then the ocean that’s crashing up against the waves and it’s very much emblematic of man’s connection with nature, which especially with the new refillable bottles, it’s being conscious of the impact on the environment and trying to strike a change within the retail industry. So I think that was a big part of the messaging and of what it stands for and what it’s trying to do to participate in that change.

Armani Beauty Acqua di Gio eau de toilette fragrance

Armani Beauty

Scent is so tied to our memories because of how the olfactory sense is located close to the areas of our brain that control emotions and memories. How do the scents in Armani’s Acqua di Giò family compare with one another, and what do they evoke for you?

I think the difference between the two, I mean, I feel like they contrast each other really, really well. And I think I would say the eau de toilette would be something that I’d wear every day because it’s an every day sort of go-to which feels very sort of fresh and clean, it’s the thing that you put on first thing out the shower on your skin and then leave it as is. And then the parfum would be the way that you’d change into a shirt and a jacket for the evening for a special occasion. It definitely has a bit more of a fruitier, bolder smell, which feels like it goes on with a more confidence, whereas the eau de toilette is very much in the day in a sort of everyday kind of thing.

And I think it’s quite beautiful to stay within the same world, the same brand of Acqua di Giò. It has those two elements that are going to complement each other really well. Loyalty is a huge thing when it comes to fragrance. I like the sentiment of staying with something traditionally for a long period of time, after two years, five years, 10 years, if you’re still with something like that, it becomes a part of your identity and personality.

People that stand out in my world have done that. A lot of people chop and change or they might have too many varieties, in which case I just feel like you don’t who you are.

Armani Beauty Acqua di Gio parfum

Armani Beauty

Were you big into wearing fragrances before working with Armani?

I’m very holistic in my approach to everything. I use more natural products and things, but I do think fragrance actually has a sort of uplifting, empowering way of to an aura that is with you and it creates a presence and it evokes feelings and emotions. So I think when someone gets it right and you feel like you want to be intoxicated in their aura and that smell evokes warm feelings or attractions or all sorts of things. It has a powerful profound effect on people. My wife’s [director Sam Taylor-Johnson] fragrance is something that is specific to her and no one else has it. So I know what room she’s been in, I know I can feel her presence.

Related: Aaron Taylor-Johnson on Working as a Child Actor in Hollywood, His Marriage and Family

Speaking of holistic approaches, you’re often asked about your workout routine. What does your wellness or wind-down routine look like?

Almost weirdly, I think my workout time kind of is my unwinding time in a way because it’s my time, which feels very rare these days. I mean, you’ve got kids [too], you’re a parent. If you get an hour and a half yourself, it feels very much like a wind-down time because you’re able to have your own thoughts for a minute and decompress and sort of set yourself straight again and realign yourself.

I meditate for about 10 to 20 minutes every morning. I get up about 5:30 or 6 a.m. then I’ll go work out for an hour and then I’ll get my kids up and make breakfast and take them to school. So for me, those moments are precious moments.

And then a big one for me is actually being immersed outside and being in the elements in nature. I get the opportunity to fly around the world and meet new people and it’s very glamorous and I work on great projects. But when I’m home and I’m in the countryside which I call home, is when I feel like that’s my grounding. That’s my place where I can put my feet in the earth and feel grounded. I’m very much so when I’m outside. I love cooking and I love vegetable gardening and all those sort of things, sort of active and also just being immersed in outside an outdoors lifestyle. So yeah, I love being outside.

Armani Beauty Acqua di Gio eau de parfum fragrance

Armani Beauty

What’s in your vegetable garden right now? I imagine you’ve got a very different climate than mine here in LA.

It’s very seasonal, yeah, I was going to say it’s a bit different! I still have got kale and things like that, and I had pumpkins last season, but we’ve gone through all that. It’s very seasonal sort of stuff, and salads can kind of last all the way through all year. I have chickens, I have two pigs, I’ve got two cows. I very much have sort of a homestead.

But for instance, when I was in Los Angeles, [there were] beautiful long hikes, and there’s Joshua Tree National Park and Big Sur and places like that. Actually, Big Sur reminds me of the Acqua di Giò essence. It’s those vast cliff edge rocks and then the ocean and that horizon. The sort of light, the specific light that you get there is, it’s a beautiful landscape and I think that has that sort of essence to it for sure.

You’ve got quite a bit coming into theaters this year — you’re playing a villain in Kraven the Hunter, among other movies with vastly different characters.

Yeah, just before that I’ve got The Fall Guy with Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, and that’s kind of a great action comedy, which is going to be quite a laugh. I played a pretty bombastic character, but it was fun to not take myself too seriously and go have a laugh with the guys. That was David Leitch who also did Bullet Train. (Taylor-Johnson also starred in the film.) He very much strikes a tone of that kind of action-comedy.

And then Kraven the Hunter is a little bit darker in tone, but is very much a comic book, Marvel-Sony Spider-Man villain.

Which is interesting because you’re back in the Marvel world after you played Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

I think there’s something interesting about that because I was drawn to a character that felt more relatable in the complexities of his family dynamic. He felt more like there was a real sort of struggle and a dilemma with where what he’s sort of battling becoming.

And then Robert Eggers’ Nosferatu. He is a fantastic director with a strong vision and extremely beautiful artistic framing and shots. So it was beautiful to be a part of that ensemble with Willem Dafoe and Nicholas Hoult, Lily Rose-Depp. There are a couple of films that I might be working on this year that I can’t really say yet!

What’s next for you, where else are you traveling this year?

We have the exciting launch for [the fragrance campaign], which I’m looking forward to. And then actually South by Southwest is with Fall Guy in March, so that’s when I’ll next be out there. And then I hopefully start shooting in London in May on this project. There’s a few little things jumping around.


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