Matthew Vaughn is Still Being Coy About What the Hell’s Happening in Argylle

Matthew Vaughn is Still Being Coy About What the Hell’s Happening in Argylle

Matthew Vaughn, the guy who brought us comic book adaptations like X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass and Kingsmen: The Secret Service, has a new movie that seems akin to Stranger Than Fiction if it were directed by, well, Matthew Vaughn. At least, that’s what it seems on its face.

There’s a twist to the upcoming movie Argylle, though Vaughn has been agonizingly vague about everything regarding his new spy thriller. Actually, maybe its not all spy thriller. Maybe its an 80s action throwback. Maybe it’s a date movie. Who’s to say? Well, the director should, but he’s not really saying much. In an interview with io9, Vaughn said that this film is very much a product of now. His earlier films were very much a response to what the director thought was a too-serious attitude toward genres like superheroes or spy flicks. Now in 2023, with all the darkness in the world, Vaughn seems to be going for something very silly, and in his words, hopeful.

“It’s a reflection of how taste has changed,” he said. “It’s also more fun and bright. I think the world right now is a pretty miserable planet we’re living on in the moment, so it’s two hours of escapism.”

Matthew Vaughn wearing his “Kingsmen” glasses. His description, not mine.

He further described it as a throwback to the 80’s adventure movie Romancing the Stone, calling it the “ultimate date movie,” as the Robert Zemeckis-directed ‘84 action was his “first successful date.” So, yes, Argylle is a spy movie, action movie, date movie, thriller, sci-fi, meta commentary.

“I’m going batshit crazy by the end of it,” he said.

The Argylle director keeps trying to convince the public that the author of the book in the movie, Elly Conway, is a real person and that she has a real book that’s still unreleased. The Hollywood Reporter did a deep dive into this supposed first-time writer Conway and her supposed $US200 million book deal, and it seems there really isn’t any sign of the author. Vaughn told io9 that certainly, the author exists. Though, he also said that the film is actually based on “the fourth book in the series,” which of course, tips the believability of this whole cheeky guessing game toward the ludicrous.

“It’s making me laugh. I’ve worked with Neil Gaiman [on Stardust], Mark Miller, and no one’s ever asked [about them]. There’s a book here, it’s 365 pages.”

From every angle, it seems the speculation about the real-life book is an effective piece of meta marketing. After his full Comic Con panel, the director told audience members to look under their seat, and that 100 of them would be getting a full copy of the actual Argylle book, but alas, io9 wasn’t one of those lucky few to get their hands on a copy. There was also a lot of talk about one of the film’s taglines being “don’t let the cat out of the bag,” which does also relate to the actual cat in the film—one kept inside a spaceship backpack for at least some portion of Argylle. Interestingly, Vaughn said the original cat they got for the film was fired after one day of filming. He used his daughter’s cat instead.

In an exclusive clip shown to New York Comic Con attendees, we got to see that the initial trailer for the movie is far more spliced up than it seems. The actual scene from the film cuts back and forth between Sam Rockwell playing the supposed real life spy Aiden and Henry Cavill as the fictional spy Argylle. Author Elly Conway, portrayed by a fish-out-of-water Bryce Dallas Howard, seems to be as confused as the audience just what the hell is happening. She blinks, and suddenly the hard-pressed Aiden is replaced by the suave, in-control Argylle.

Still, it’s all very Kingsman in style, especially the action sequences, though there’s also a fair bit more flailing and roughhousing than the ultra-clean cinematic stylings of Vaughn’s earlier action films. Vaughn said the initial trailer was cut from the first 28 minutes of the movie, and even that was obviously meant to deceive.

Argylle will see full theatrical release Feb. 2, 2024 with a Apple TV+ release still to be determined.

Want more entertainment news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and DC releases, what’s coming to cinemas in Australia this year, and everything streaming this month across all platforms. Check out our dedicated Entertainment tab for more.