Join me as I lose another bit of my rapidly dwindling sanity while trying to figure out who's the real Agent Argylle. Matthew Vaughn's next movie is a bit of a wild card, but its quickfire marketing campaign is certainly unique!
Henry Cavill is Agent Argylle, right? Well, that's what you'd think before diving deep into the rabbit hole that Argylle's marketing push has been so far plus the resulting online conversation. For starters, the movie script is already a bit meta, as it follows Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard), an introverted spy novelist who's drawn into the real world of espionage when her books, featuring fictional secret agent Argylle (Henry Cavill), threaten to uncover the activities of an underground syndicate. Plus, she soon discovers Argylle is a very real person.
So, we have two stories being represented on-screen: The action-heavy adventures of Argylle (fictional) and whatever the hell is going on in real life with Conway, the spy who tries to save her (Sam Rockwell), and the bad guys after her. Also: There's a cat which the Internet doesn't trust.
Things only became more complicated following the first trailer and the initial marketing push when the conversation shifted towards the supposedly real writer behind the novel which the movie is said to adapt. Moreover, director Matthew Vaughn insists she's called Elly Conway (like the character in the movie) and that she's very much a real person who we haven't met yet. Whatever the outcome, the conversation around Conway alone has boosted Argylle's presence on social media, with online theories ranging from Taylor Swift to British thriller writer Tammy Cohen.
In fact, you can already buy and read the novel that inspired the movie, though you won't know who really wrote it just yet. There's also word of more Argylle novels existing in some shape or form, plus Vaugh wants to create a 'shared spy universe' that might include his Kingsman movies.
Even if we ignore all the noise about Conway and the authorship of the Argylle novel, we still must circle back to the fictional mystery of Argylle's true identity, which Universal Pictures and Apple are also weaponizing. The $200 million production budget has been put to good use at least when it comes to the star-studded cast, which includes Henry Cavill, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston, Dua Lipa, Ariana DeBose, John Cena, Samuel L. Jackson, Sofia Boutella, Rob Delaney, and Richard E. Grant, among others.
The fact so many big names have been thrown into this potential franchise starter only enhances the mystery of the real Argylle's identity, but what are the chances of the in-universe fictional characters actually being real? Even if Vaughn fools around with the story structure and the audiovisual presentation, we'd say that making Henry Cavill or Dua Lipa the real real Agent Argylle would be too obvious of a wall-break. Therefore, I turn my eyes to the 'real life' cast surrounding Bryce Dallas Howard.
Is Argylle the cat somehow? As funny as the online posts are, that's too big of a silly troll move. Is he Sam Rockwell's Aidan, going double undercover? Maybe, but too straightforward. If we keep looking through the seemingly friendly and villainous characters, the potential answer wouldn't be satisfactory enough, so we're betting on either a secret cast member (please avoid saying Taylor Swift) or Bryce Dallas Howard's Elly Conway herself. What?! Well, if you think about it, why is she such a good spy thriller writer? Did suppressed memories come out through her writing? That'd be a cool twist which says something about the tough act of creating fictional works, and directly ties into all the real-life Elly Conway trolling that's happening.
What do you think about this whole thing? What's your personal theory? Vote now!:
Argylle releases in cinemas this Friday, February 2. Due to Apple's involvement, it's expected to release on Apple TV+ in the near future too.
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