EXCLUSIVE: Aaron Taylor-Johnson Dives Deep for Armani’s Acqua di Giò Campaign

PARIS — Aaron Taylor-Johnson does nothing in half measure. The actor, who has just been named the new ambassador for Acqua di Giò, dove deep for the men’s scent’s campaign.

“That was fantastic to shoot, trying to convey the Acqua di Giò man of today,” he said, adding “this story of a man who’s on the precipice of change. There’s always an iconic jump or dive, and in this sequence, I trained to do this dive, which was a stunt, essentially. It was a 16-foot dive off a cliff.”

“Acqua Di Giò embodies a way of understanding masculinity that is at once free, sensitive and adventurous,” Giorgio Armani said in a statement. “These are all characteristics that Aaron expresses with his presence and physicality.

“It was this balance of mind and body that convinced me that he was the right person to represent the fragrance,” the designer continued. “Aaron has an intensity and beauty that is both self-aware and emblematic of today.”

Taylor-Johnson called Giorgio Armani “one of this century’s most iconic, influential designers — someone who embodies elegance and sophistication.”

Acqua Di Giò, which launched in 1996, has for the past 25 years ranked among the top three men’s scents worldwide, according to Circana, formerly known as The NPD Group. Armani Beauty is licensed to L’Oréal. On Tuesday, the brand’s global president, Véronique Gautier, left her role after 13 years.

“It’s a real privilege and honor to represent the brand’s fragrance,” Taylor-Johnson said.

Opting to dive himself, he undertook two intense four-hour sessions with a stunt coordinator and an Olympic diver to learn to swan dive properly one week before the campaign shooting. Simply running and jumping were first suggested for the advertising.

“I said: ‘It really needs to feel more liberating than that,’” the actor explained. “’It really needs to feel like this character is deciding to take a leap of faith into the unknown.’”

Then he comes out of the ocean feeling renewed and on a new journey, “because that’s what I feel this fragrance has the power to do,” Taylor-Johnson explained. “You come out of the shower, you put on the fragrance and can smell the salty air and the minerals, and it feels like you’re starting your day fresh, with a new intention, a new purpose.”

He enjoyed collaborating with director Yoann Lemoine and the Armani team on Acqua di Giò’s longstanding narrative about man’s connection to nature.

“That’s how I get my inspiration and recharge,” said Taylor-Johnson, adding nature makes him feel grounded and “my best me.”

“It was important to do that stunt, because it was breaking the boundary, breaking the mold for me,” he said. “That’s also how I approach roles, in a way. I can’t do anything in halves.”

For “Outlaw King,” Taylor-Johnson trained to horseback ride for three months before going out into the Scottish Highlands. “We were doing battle sequences, one-hand horse-riding, swinging a sword above our head.”

For “Kraven the Hunter,” due out this year, he trained for fight sequences.

“Who doesn’t want to learn those things?” Taylor-Johnson said. “Also, I get to push myself.”

He feels connected to the character embodied in the Acqua di Giò campaign. “It feels very true, the authenticity of this person,” said Taylor-Johnson, adding the scent’s refillable, sustainable packaging also chimes with the fragrance’s ethos.

Taylor-Johnson takes plunges in real life, too. “I’m the first person on a holiday that’s going to be like: ‘There’s a cliff — I want to jump off of it.’ That’s my joyous, adventurous, fun and slightly dangerous side.”

His other upcoming movies include “The Fall Guy,” with Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt. “It’s going to be a fantastic family-action-comedy love story,” he said. “It’s a real blast and a real laugh for everybody.”

Taylor-Johnson called “Kraven” an R-rated action comic-book movie, and “Nosferatu” — out soon, as well — “a very arty, dark vampire movie.”

Other projects are slated for later this year, too, but Taylor-Johnson remained mum on details.

He said there are so many layers to building a character as an actor. “And fragrance is definitely a mask or a costume that you can use,” Taylor-Johnson said. “The way that scent has that effect to just transport you, I use it in that way also.”

Fragrance itself cannot be seen on screen, however. “But it’s a part of your aura, your persona, how you enter a room and how you leave it, because your scent can very much linger,” he said. “And, therefore, your presence is still very much in that space.” 

“It evokes so many things ­— emotions and memories and attachments to certain moments and people. Fragrance becomes an identity,” Taylor-Johnson said. “You can associate people with a certain smell — it becomes them. It’s distinctive and different, it works differently on other people’s skin. So that’s the sort of magic that scent can have.”

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