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Director Matthew Vaughn responds to rumors that Taylor Swift is the secret author of Argylle


British director Matthew Vaughn has denied online rumors that Taylor Swift is hiding behind the pseudonym Elly Conway, the author of the novel linked to his new film Argylle.

The film sees its protagonist Elly Conway, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, thrust into the world of espionage when she meets real-life spy Aiden, played by Sam Rockwell, on a train.

Argylle also stars Henry Cavill, Dua Lipa, John Cena, Bryan Cranston, Ariana DeBose and Catherine O’Hara.

On Friday – the day Argylle was released in theaters – the Telegraph revealed the novel’s true authors: Terry Hayes and Tammy Cohen.

Before the production began filming, Vaughn asked Hayes to write a companion novel for the film – and soon Cohen was brought on board as well.

“What was crazy was my daughter didn’t believe me,” Vaughn says of the Taylor Swift rumors.

The Kick-Ass director told Sky News he spoke out at the first opportunity to refute the rumours, explaining he “didn’t want a bunch of Swifties or Taylor Swifts to think we were jumping in the train of his fame”.

Taylor Swift arrives at the 81st Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, January 7, 2024, at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Taylor Swift wasn’t the author, but she was an inspiration. Photo: AP

Even though the singer didn’t write the novel, she had a big influence on the film itself.

Vaughn’s family cat, named Chip, stars in Argylle as Alfie – a decision which the director said made him a “cat master” throughout the production.

The Scottish Fold cat belongs to the filmmaker’s daughter, who is a big fan of Taylor Swift and chose the animal after seeing that the star had a similar pet.

The decision to use the cat backpack was also inspired by the 34-year-old singer-songwriter: Vaughn saw her using a cat bag in her documentary Miss Americana.

After the film’s world premiere in London, Vaughn’s wife, Claudia Schiffer, received backlash online for taking Chip to Leicester Square in London.

Charities Blue Cross and Cat Protection condemned the use of the cat carrier type and warned people of “serious health complications” associated with the breed.

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Claudia Schiffer carries a cat as she attends the premiere of "Argyle" in Leicester Square in London, Britain, January 24, 2024. REUTERS/Hollie Adams TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Claudia Schiffer with Chip at the premiere. Photo: Reuters

“There is no such thing as an acting cat.”

The 52-year-old director says he didn’t know what he was getting into when he replaced the “acting cat” on day one with his pet.

“I can just tell you that there is no such thing as an acting cat. It was an expensive, non-acting cat.”

Vaughn says that in addition to directing the all-star cast, he was responsible for Chip’s food, travel arrangements and the litter box.

“I think he was so relaxed because I was there with him, always right next to the camera,” he explains.

Matthew Vaughn, director of Argylle
Vaughn reveals that his daughter is a Swiftie. Photo: NetStorage

In press interviews about the film, its star Bryce Dallas Howard said the production was about keeping Chip comfortable.

“When you work with an animal, exactly the same thing when you work with a young person, the priority is their safety.”

She explained that a realistic plush version of the animal was used for any action sequences or moments of big movement.

“Chip is Matthew and Claudia’s cat. He’s a cat that’s very important to them, he’s part of their family,” she said.

The Jurassic World star added that the director would film during Chip’s nap so the animal’s routine wouldn’t be interrupted by the cameras.

Argylle is in theaters now and will stream worldwide on Apple TV+.


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