Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Tangerine From Bullet Train Looks So Familiar

"Bullet Train" has been causing buzz for a while now. Whether it's been the film's repeatedly delayed release date, as noted by IGN, or writers at MovieWeb wondering whether the film's westernization will allow it to do justice to Kōtarō Isaka's original novel "Maria Bītoru," people have been talking about "Bullet Train" for some time.

Then there's the cast. "Bullet Train" has naturally front-loaded its star, Brad Pitt, along with showcasing Sandra Bullock in her supporting role. But the marketing has also played up the ensemble cast in the action-comedy — Joey King, Zazie Beetz, Masi Oka, Michael Shannon, Bad Bunny (in his film debut), and the list goes on.

Some trailers have also zoomed in on two particular characters. These are Lemon, played by "Atlanta" star Brian Tyree Henry, and Tangerine, an actor you may have seen in any number of previous projects. Both British assassins and associates, their friendly bickering is intended as one of many sources of comic relief. If you're a fan of "Atlanta" or "Eternals," Henry should most certainly look familiar to you. But if you're asking yourself where you've seen the actor who plays Tangerine before, there are several answers.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson started as a child actor

As just a quick glance at his IMDb proves, Aaron Taylor-Johnson already has quite an impressive career for such a young actor. 

According to The Guardian, Aaron Johnson was born in England in 1990 and began acting at the age of 8 by appearing in stage productions of Shakespeare's "Macbeth." Not long after, he began appearing in British movies and TV programs. His first major film role was in 2003, where he appeared as a young Charlie Chaplin in "Shanghai Knights" next to Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson. Still acting under his birth name, he continued to appear in projects in his native U.K. throughout his teenage years, including as the bully Niker in the 2004 BBC miniseries adaptation of Nicky Singer's novel "Feather Boy," a series which starred Thomas Brodie-Sangster. 

In 2006, Johnson played the younger version of Edward Norton's Eisenheim in "The Illusionist," appearing in flashback scenes. The film also starred Jessica Biel, Paul Giamatti, and Rufus Sewell — who, funnily enough, also played the title role in the same stage production of "Macbeth" that a young Johnson appeared in (via The Guardian). According to writer and director Neil Burger's DVD commentary, Johnson had to learn rudimentary magic tricks for his role, specifically how to balance an egg on a stick, and the disappearing ball. 

His breakthrough came as John Lennon

In 2009, Aaron Johnson was cast as a teenage John Lennon in "Nowhere Boy." This reunited him with Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who played none other than Lennon's fellow Beatle and long-time songwriting partner Paul McCartney. In preparation for the role, before he even auditioned, Johnson taught himself to sing and play guitar. "I'm not a musician, but it was something that was a huge part of him, and at that part of his life, and was something quite special," he told Collider. "I knew that I'd have to do it."

Johnson also said that casting for "Nowhere Boy" was specifically looking for actors who could play, making it pretty impressive that he ended up landing the role. "When I read the script, I knew that I'd be willing to do it and I was really determined to play this role, but I knew the only thing that would hold me back was that I couldn't play. So, I started mentally preparing and started playing. I got a guitar and tried to play, even though I hadn't gotten the role yet, because I knew I'd need to know how to do it."

The film is "Certified Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes, with Johnson's performance earning particular praise. The critics' consensus reads, "Don't expect any musical insights, but this look at John Lennon's early life benefits from its restrained, low-key approach and some fine acting from Aaron Johnson."

He played Kick-Ass

Aaron Johnson was introduced to a whole new audience in 2010 when he starred as the protagonist in the film adaptation of the uber-violent "Kick-Ass" comics. The film also provided a platform for many other young rising stars, including Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Lyndsy Fonseca, and Evan Peters. Johnson played Dave Lizewski, the film's awkward protagonist who decides to take to the streets as a costumed vigilante despite a complete lack of superpowers, skills, or even basic fighting training.

Although the film has a "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it was also widely seen as polarizing upon its release, with negative reviews panning the core concept of young kids engaging in such ruthless violence. Most of that displeasure centered around Moretz, who was 11 when the movie was filmed and whose Hit-Girl was often responsible for its most grisly scenes (via New York Times). This isn't to say Johnson's performance was entirely overshadowed, though. 

In an otherwise withering review of "Kick-Ass," Roger Ebert still had something positive to say about Johnson's performance. "Aaron Johnson has a certain anti-charm," he wrote, "his problems in high school are engaging, and so on." In 2013, Johnson returned to the role of Dave Lizewski in the sequel "Kick-Ass 2." He also voiced the character in the first "Kick-Ass" video game. 

He was in Godzilla

In 2014, Aaron Taylor-Johnson — now going under his newly changed name after marrying "Nowhere Boy" director Sam Taylor-Wood (via TV Guide) — played U.S. Navy Lieutenant Ford Brody in Gareth Edwards' take on "Godzilla." Acting with him was Bryan Cranston –- who played his father Joe -– and Elizabeth Olsen, who played Ford's wife, Elle.

"Godzilla" marked a bit of a pivot for Taylor-Johnson, for while the "Kick-Ass" movies were their own particular brand of action-comedy, "Godzilla" was his first turn in a straight action movie. The actor had to undergo military training for the role, and performed many of his own stunts (via Metro). Even then, what seems to have attracted Taylor-Johnson most to "Godzilla" was Edwards' auteur-esque approach to the material. 

Speaking on the panel for "Godzilla" at 2013 San Diego Comic-Con, he said that there was an intimacy and emotional depth to filming that took him aback, likening the blockbuster more to a big-budget art film. "The 'Godzilla' crew is such a small group of people that it feels more like an independent movie than anything I've ever worked on," he told Total Film (via Digital Spy).

Taylor-Johnson is Quicksilver in the MCU

In the same year that he appeared in "Godzilla," Aaron Taylor-Johnson had a short, mid-credits cameo as Pietro Maximoff in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," again, appearing with Elizabeth Olsen as his sister, Wanda. Fans of the Marvel pantheon knew what this meant. Sure enough, Taylor-Johnson's Maximoff, aka Quicksilver, played a larger role in 2015's "Avengers: Age of Ultron." And though Olsen's Wanda/Scarlet Witch became one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most recognizable superheroes, Pietro/Quicksilver meets a relatively quick end in the final act of "Age of Ultron."

In an odd coincidence, Taylor-Johnson also isn't the only "Kick-Ass" alum to play Quicksilver. Evan Peters, who played Todd, one of Dave Lizewski's best friends, had in 2014 debuted as the superpowered speedster in "X-Men: Days of Future Past." Funnily enough, the two had an interesting conversation about it while at San Diego Comic-Con 2014. "It's kind of funny and sort of strange," Taylor-Johnson told Collider. In between panels and interviews, the two bumped into each other for the first time since filming "Kick-Ass." By then it had become public knowledge that both Taylor-Johnson and Peters were playing the same character. "I said how funny it was," Taylor-Johnson shared. "It was all easy and cool. You don't get, I don't get very sort of competitive or you know find it like awkward or anything."