Exclusive Interview: Aaron Taylor-Johnson Talks A Million Little Pieces

A Million little pieces
As a writer myself, I’ve learned to call it ‘”killing my darlings.” It’s an absolutely painful process, and I totally understand. But it’s interesting to hear that some of the more ambitious ideas were taken away. Here’s your chance: were there any specific scenes that you wrote that you wished were in the film but were cut because of the budget or the time constraint?

Aaron Taylor-Johnson: Well, in hindsight, it’s almost like [the cuts] don’t matter, because the scenes sculpted themselves the way they needed to be. It’s funny this film was once in the hands of a studio with a pretty decent budget and it ended up being filtered down and distilled into an independent film – and still ended up in the hands of Sam, who’s an optimist, and talent like Billy Bob Thornton, Giovanni Ribisi, and Juliette Lewis.

For me, being on the other side of it and going through it all, I’ve really been admiring Sam and how nothing will get in her way. Any other person would go, “that’s it, I’m not doing it.” But the way she was able to [adapt was fantastic]. For instance, the shit corridor, it was written down as special effects. We never had a budget for special effects. So on the day, we were told we didn’t have any money for it. That meant having the art department together with all of us and figure out how we’re going to do this. So we got some pipe, drilled some holes, and made the shit with gravy mix.

I’m glad it wasn’t the real thing.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson: Yeah, but it was great. And it brought us all together as a crew. Every day, there was something like that; it was the filmmaking the way it should be. The way I came into this business was on independent filmmaking. It was in the theater, and it was independent. It’s where everyone chimes in, and everyone collaborates, and everyone has their hands involved in something.

But to answer your question, truthfully, there were many moments in the book that we wanted to play out. We shot this in Ponoma with Los Angeles weather, and it’s doubling for Wisconsin in the winter. One of the places at this facility was a lake and in the book it had frozen over. [James] used to sit on this bench and look over this icy lake. By the time he left, it had thawed it. So we wanted to play with the seasons of that. I also had this moment where he tests his fate on the ice, goes out on the ice, jumping up and down; but we [only explored] that as an idea. Then again, it might never have worked; we might have lost it in the edit and wasted a day. And that’s just one of many. What we ended up doing was cutting the flesh [of the book], figuring out exactly where the story is.

So, what are we going to see you in next? There have been rumors that we might be seeing you return as Quicksilver, I was wondering if there was any truth to that?

Aaron Taylor-Johnson: No, there’s nothing when it comes to jumping back into that role. The next thing I think that’s out would be Tenet, which I shot with Chris Nolan. Then there’s The King’s Man with Ralph Fiennes. But if there’s an interesting story, and an interesting character journey in that world, in the Marvel world, then there’s a discussion [to be had]. I’ve never not been open to discussing, but goodness knows, rumors, that’s all they are at the moment.

A Million Little Pieces will hit theaters on December 6th, 2019.