The Funny Story Behind Aaron Taylor-Johnson's Porch Toilet In Nocturnal Animals

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains mild spoilers for Nocturnal Animals. If you wish to go into the film knowing absolutely nothing about the movie, you may want to click away to another article.

Writer/director Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals is a grim and serious noir for the most part, but it does have its moments of levity. One such scene arrives late in the movie, and features Aaron Taylor-Johnson's character, Ray, sitting buck naked on a special toilet that he has installed on his front porch. It's such an odd scene that I felt compelled to ask the actor about it when I sat down with him for an interview recently -- and I was surprised to learn that it was something that was thought up in the middle of production.

I had the opportunity to chat with Aaron Taylor-Johnson at the Los Angeles press day for Nocturnal Animals, and I dedicated a portion of my time talking about one of the strangest moments in the movie. Apparently the actor had absolutely no problem filming the sequence, but he was surprised by its inclusion, as it wasn't something that Tom Ford came up with on the spur of the moment. Said Taylor-Johnson,

It was fine. What was great, it wasn't in the script. It kind of came halfway through making the movie. Tom's like, 'I actually have a great idea. Your character is a plumber, and he's decided to put his toilet outside, and that's his great invention. Because he's just so arrogant. And you're going to be naked out on the loo when they find you.'

As noted, it creates a funny moment just because it's so weird seeing a dude naked and using a toilet on a porch -- but it wasn't just included in Nocturnal Animals for the sake of being weird. Instead, it presents an important moment of weakness for Ray -- who has all the power in most of the movie's early scenes -- as he is approached by the characters played by Michael Shannon and Jake Gyllenhaal. Aaron Taylor-Johnson explained,

It was good. It created an atmosphere that made my character in a vulnerable position. So it was interesting; it was a different dynamic. It gave us a lot more, as actors, to play with within this environment.

You can watch Aaron Taylor-Johnson talk about his weird porch toilet in Nocturnal Animals in the video below:

Nocturnal Animals is now out in limited release, but will be expanding to theaters nationwide on December 9th. Look for it to be a highly talked about feature this awards season.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.