'Argylle' director Matthew Vaughn said he learned of the online rumor through his daughter
Vaughn, 52, told Rolling Stone he first heard about the internet conspiracy theory that Swift, 34, is the author behind Argylle's source material and that the author Elly Conway was actually a pseudonym. (Bryce Dallas Howard plays Elly in the movie, as a fictional famous spy novelist.)
“I’m not a big internet guy, and it was actually my daughter who came up to me — this is the power of celebrity and the internet — and said, ‘You never told me Taylor wrote the book!’ " Vaughn said. “And I’m looking at her going, ‘What are you talking about Taylor Swift wrote the book? She didn’t write the book!’ "
"I was laughing because I was like, ‘It’s not true! She didn’t write the book!' " he added. "But my daughter was convinced of it.”
Swift fans began speculating online that the pop star might be behind the Elly Conway pseudonym due to a number of details related to the book and movie that fans thought could be easter eggs. That included the book's cover, which features a Scottish Fold cat who looks similar to Swift's pet Meredith Grey.
“There is a real book … and it’s a really good book," Vaughn told Rolling Stone. "And there is an Elly Conway who wrote the book, but it’s not Taylor Swift. And I say that because I imagine Taylor Swift has a load of people trying to jump on her bandwagon left, right and center, and I don’t want to be a part of that club."
"I did read the conspiracies and I was like, wow, they don’t leave a stone unturned!" he added. "But it’s not Taylor Swift. She definitely didn’t write the book.”
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Conway's identity has been in question for some time now. An Instagram account that ostensibly belongs to the author has zero posts, and their biography on Penguin Random House's website states only that the writer "was born and raised in upstate New York" and wrote the Argylle novel "while working as a waitress in a late-night diner."
The cat who appears all over Argylle's marketing materials and in the movie, though, does have a connection to Swift. Vaughn's family owns the Scottish Fold cat, named Chip. The family adopted him after his daughters saw Swift's cat in her 2020 documentary Miss Americana, and Chip made his way into the Argylle movie after the first cat hired for the film did not work out.
“I got home one day, it was Christmas, and I was like, ‘What the f--- is that noise?’ And I’m running around the house and I hear a noise, and the kids had seen a Taylor Swift documentary and there was a Scottish Fold in that," Vaughn recalled. "They’d persuaded my wife Claudia [Schiffer] to get them the kitten for Christmas. It was bought without my permission and hidden from me.”
"But he was great. And he seemed to enjoy it as well," Vaughn added of Chip. "He was a natural. The nepo cat.”
Argylle the book is on sale now. The movie, which also stars Sam Rockwell, Henry Cavill, Dua Lipa, Ariana DeBose, Bryan Cranston, Samuel L. Jackson, Catherine O’Hara and John Cena, is in theaters Feb. 2.
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