Argylle Is a Spy Movie With Action, Intrigue And… Taylor Swift?

Argylle Is a Spy Movie With Action, Intrigue And… Taylor Swift?

One of our first big blockbusters of the year is Matthew Vaughn’s spy thriller, Argylle. But something a little strange is going on with this movie, so we’re putting on our best spy hats to unravel as many secrets about Argylle as possible.

What is Argylle about?

argylle movie
Image: Universal Pictures

Everything about Argylle is oddly secretive, from the identity of the author of the book (more on that later) to the plot of the actual movie, that seemingly blurs the lines between fiction and reality. This is a spy movie, after all, but how much is truth and how much is a clever marketing ploy?

The official synopsis tells us this:

From the twisted mind of Matthew Vaughn comes Argylle, a razor-witted, reality-bending, globe-encircling spy thriller.

Bryce Dallas Howard is Elly Conway, the reclusive author of a series of best-selling espionage novels, whose idea of bliss is a night at home with her computer and her cat, Alfie. But when the plots of Elly’s fictional books—which center on secret agent Argylle and his mission to unravel a global spy syndicate—begin to mirror the covert actions of a real-life spy organization, quiet evenings at home become a thing of the past. Accompanied by Aiden, a cat-allergic spy, Elly (carrying Alfie in her backpack) races across the world to stay one step ahead of the killers as the line between Elly’s fictional world and her real one begins to blur.

The synopsis makes it clear that Argylle isn’t going to be your typical spy movie. The secretive nature of the real story doesn’t really help set expectations for what we’re in for, but it seems like it will be a mix of comedy, action and thriller that revolves around a real spy conspiracy, the plot of a spy novel and the author of that spy novel.

The director, Matthew Vaughn, has added to the intrigue, playing coy with the reality of his upcoming film.

“It’s a reflection of how taste has changed. 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.” Vaughn told io9 in an interview last year.

Regardless of what the film is really about, it’s something that caught the attention of the major studios. Back in 2021, Apple pulled out $200 million to secure the streaming rights for Argylle, a massive deal. So clearly there’s something in the water with this movie.

Who is Elly Conway, the author of Argylle?

argylle movie
Image: Universal Pictures

Here’s where we get deep into conspiracy theory territory.

Since the hype around Argylle began one of the main questions that has been raised is about the identity of the book’s author, Ellie Conway. All we really know about Conway is that she is a first time author, Matthew Vaughn picked up the rights to the book before it was even published, and she apparently lives in New York with a forced social media presence. She’s also apparently a character in the film (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), in a very meta take.

The Hollywood Reporter dug into Conway’s identity in September and found very little.

This has led to a number of rumours about the real author of Argylle. Could it simply be a severely introverted author with no public pictures or history who doesn’t want to be in the spotlight? Could it be a pen name for either Vaughn or his screenwriter Jason Fuchs? Another popular theory suggests it might be one of the cast members of the film, with Bryce Dallas Howard being a popular choice.

Of course, the internet also thinks it’s Taylor Swift.

Sure, when you look at it, there are some elements that seem to link Taylor Swift with Argylle. Both she and the Elly Conway character own Scottish Fold cats, Swift sells argyle sweaters, and they both live in New York. Those could all be pretty basic coincidences, but some fans also brought up clues like the fact that Conway’s first social media post was on Taylor Swift’s birthday (hmm), she wore a jumper reading “Conway Recording Studios” in this post (hmmm), and the only other notable Elly Conway (a character in our beloved soap Neighbours) made her debut also on Taylor Swift’s birthday (HMMMM). Is this too many coincidences or are we all just spiralling now?

There’s also the fact that Taylor Swift is known for planting easter eggs and clues through her work and on social media to promote her various projects, which fans love to unravel. This Argylle mystery does seem very her style, but it could also be a case of the marketing department capitalising on the hype to sell tickets. Here I am writing about it after all.

Conway herself seemingly came out to debunk this theory on Twitter/X:

Vaughn also quashed the theory, telling Rolling Stone: “There is a real book … and it’s a really good book. 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. 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!’ But it’s not Taylor Swift. She definitely didn’t write the book.”

All that aside there is evidence that seems to suggest that there is some kind of mystery to be solved with Conway’s identity.

Some of the film’s taglines are “the greater the spy, the bigger the lie” and “don’t let the cat out of the bag” implying there’s some kind of deception going on here that shouldn’t be spoiled.

There’s also this response from star Bryce Dallas Howard about the theories on Conway’s identity who said “I do know the truth and if I told you I’d have to kill you… eventually everyone will know, but they’ve got to see the movie first”.

This mystery could end up leading to nothing at all, so if you do subscribe to it be prepared to look in the mirror and see a clown.

Who is in the cast?

argylle movie
Image: Universal Pictures

Ok, back to the movie.

The cast of Argylle is absolutely stacked. We have Henry Cavill as fictional spy Argylle, Sam Rockwell as real spy Aiden, and Bryce Dallas Howard as Elly Conway, the author caught between the two.

John Cena, Dua Lipa, Bryan Cranston, Sofia Boutella, Ariana DeBose, Catherine O’Hara and Samuel L. Jackson round out the rest of the cast – what a lineup of potential authors stars!

Matthew Vaughn, who helmed the Kingsman movies and Kick Ass, is the director with a script from Jason Fuchs.

When can we watch Argylle?

So when can we actually watch the movie and learn the truth?

Argylle is scheduled to release in Australian cinemas on February 1, 2024. It will then stream on Apple TV+ at a later date.


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