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Argylle star Bryce Dallas Howard responds to Taylor Swift fan theories

The cast and film's director Matthew Vaughn reflect on the new spy thriller

Watch: The Argylle cast reflects on the Taylor Swift fan theories the film and book inspired

Bryce Dallas Howard says the Argylle cast "never want[ed] to mislead anyone" when the internet came alight with Taylor Swift fan theories around the film.

A lot of mystery surrounded Argylle to begin with, with Swift's fanbase believing the singer had written the then yet-to-be-published novel under the pseudonym Elly Conway. Sharing their fan theories online, word soon spread about the ways in which the book could have been linked to the 1989 hitmaker because of several ‘clues’ that they felt pointed to the author’s real identity.

Read more: Who or what is Argylle? The literary mystery behind Matthew Vaughn’s new film (The Telegraph, 6 min read)

Director Matthew Vaughn has since dispelled the rumours, but the cast tell Yahoo how interesting they found it for the film to be the subject of such buzz that wasn’t even true. Howard, who plays Conway in the film, admits: “I mean to be perfectly honest I was not entirely privy to what was happening, there were a lot of elements of this project that were very mysterious while we were making it.

Bryce Dallas Howard is Elly Conway in ARGYLLE, directed by Matthew Vaughn. (Universal Pictures)
Bryce Dallas Howard plays Elly Conway in Argylle, the unknown author that fans believed was a pseudonym for Taylor Swift. (Universal Pictures)

“Matthew said this funny thing where he was talking about how his daughter came to him and said ‘why didn’t you tell me Taylor Swift wrote the book?’ and he was like, ‘What? What’s happening here?’ So, it’s very exciting to have something [where] there will be a reveal in all of that’s

“And part of the fun is hearing folks, what their theories are, and we would never want to mislead anyone. I’m obsessed with Taylor Swift; I wish she was the author but she’s not.”

Argylle follows Elly, an espionage author who becomes embroiled in the world that inspired her novels after she is targeted by a secret organisation set on discovering her plan for her next book. The reason? Elly has a knack for predicting events before they happen and so they want to know what happens next — just as much as her readers.

Despite the fact that Swifties will be disappointed to learn the singer isn’t really Conway, Howard adds: “I love the dedication and excitement of the fans, and their enthusiasm and of course their support of her.”

Dua Lipa and Henry Cavill in Argylle (Apple TV+)
Argylle follows Elly, an espionage author who becomes embroiled in the world that inspired her novels, and though the film was surrounded by mystery the cast never intended to 'mislead anyone'. (Apple TV+)

John Cena and Ariana DeBose, who play Ely’s fictional characters Wyatt and Keira, added that they didn’t really focus on the theories running wild on the internet whilst making the film. DeBose says: “It's funny, when we were making it, I was so focussed on the job at hand, I was just like, ‘Cool, what are we doing today?’ Like, I didn't even really give it air, but I think it's fun.”

“I think when you're making it, you don't think about it,” Cena goes on. “But, we're about to show a spy movie to the world where the tagline is ‘the greater the spy, the bigger the lie’ and now on the way to showing the world we’re surrounded by all these misdirects and espionage, if you will.

“I couldn't think of a better project to be surrounded by such a conspiracy and so many different opinions. It's perfect for Argylle.”

For Vaughn it wasn’t too difficult to work with an outline rather than a finished book — since the novel was still being written when production began. “Kick-Ass was just a three-line version of a comic, we were literally designing the costume in the comic at the same time, and it’s the same thing with this,” he says.

L to R: Sam Rockwell as Aiden and Bryce Dallas Howard is Elly Conway in ARGYLLE, directed by Matthew Vaughn. (Universal Pictures)
Despite the fact Swifties will be disappointed to learn the singer isn’t really Conway, Bryce Dallas Howard Howard adds: 'I love the dedication and excitement of the fans.' (Universal Pictures)

“We had the manuscript of the book, we had the script, and we amalgamated and created a whole new universe. Creatively there are no rules apart from be brave and do things differently. So we had a little fun.”

With Henry Cavill taking on the title role of Argylle, the film sees fiction and reality begin to blur when Elly meets Aidan (Sam Rockwell). Faced with a real life spy, Elly struggles to tell Argylle and Aidan apart as she begins to see both whenever the real-life spy gets thrust into action.

This proved a fun challenge for Cavill and Rockwell, who both say it was “a lot of fun” to work together on the fight choreography and figure out what would suit both their physicalities.

“We were learning how the other moved and making sure that fit together at the same time, while remaining individual,” Cavill says. “It’s a fun challenge as well, rather than just being up to you to do your piece it was about blending them together which was a new challenge, and enjoyable actually.”

L to R: Henry Cavill, Dua Lipa, and John Cena in ARGYLLE, directed by Matthew Vaughn. (Universal Pictures)
Reflecting on making the film without a finished novel, Matthew Vaughn says: 'Creatively there are no rules apart from be brave and do things differently'. (Universal Pictures)

Rockwell adds: “Henry and I are physical actors and we like to move, I think it’s safe to say that we’re athletic and so I enjoy thatx I think we do a lot of physical roles, me and Henry, a lot.”

The villain of the piece is Ritter, played by Bryan Cranston, and the head of the spy conglomerate out to get Elly and discover what’s in her next manuscript. Cranston, who is well known for his villainous transformation in Breaking Bad, found it fun to play an over-the-top bad guy. One who shoots first and asks questions later.

“Even though it’s delineated in the script of who this guy is and what he’s after it’s fun to be able to fill in and improvise some lines, some point of view,” Cranston reflects.

“Matthew gives you the environment that allows that to happen, so you feel free to create something, try something, go out on a limb and have fun. And it worked out really well I thought.”

Samuel L. Jackson in ARGYLLE, directed by Matthew Vaughn. (Universal Pictures)
Of working with an A-list cast, Matthew Vaughn adds: 'It was a pleasure and honour. Imagine working with this many actors who are all geniuses'. (Universal Pictures)

While the cast heaps praise on their director, Vaughn is keen to put emphasis on their accomplishments. He explains: “It was a pleasure and honour. Imagine working with this many actors who are all geniuses, it's very easy for me to direct people who are just at the top of their game.”

Reflecting on the film’s amped up action and rollercoaster of a plot, the director goes on: “I'm just hoping people come out with a smile… we designed this movie to be a ray of sunshine in a very dark world, and I just want people to have 2 hours to just escape, enjoy yourself, have some fun and have some thrills.

“You know, it's quite simple. We know we're trying to be entertaining on this one.”

Argylle premieres in cinemas on Friday, 2 February, and it will stream at a later date on Apple TV+.

Watch the trailer for Argylle: