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British director Matthew Vaughn has dispelled online rumours that Taylor Swift was behind the pseudonym Elly Conway – the author of the novel connected to his new film Argylle.
The film sees its protagonist Elly Conway, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, thrown into the world of espionage when she meets real 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 of Argylle’s release in cinemas – The Telegraph revealed the real writers behind the novel – Terry Hayes and Tammy Cohen.
Before filming for the production got under way, Vaughn asked Hayes to write a companion novel for the film – and soon Cohen was also brought on board.
“What was crazy is my daughter wouldn’t believe me,” Vaughn says about the Taylor Swift rumours.
The Kick-Ass director tells Sky News he spoke out at the first opportunity he got to quash the rumours, explaining he “didn’t want a bunch of Swifties or Taylor Swift thinking we were jumping on the bandwagon of her fame”.
Although the singer didn’t write the novel, she has had a big influence on the film itself.
Vaughn’s family cat, named Chip, stars in Argylle as Alfie – a decision that the director says turned him into a “cat handler” for the entire production.
The Scottish Fold cat belongs to the filmmaker’s daughter, who is a huge fan of Taylor Swift and chose the animal after seeing 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 use a cat bag in her Miss Americana documentary.
Following 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 Cats Protection condemned the use of the type of cat carrier and warned people of the “serious health complications” associated with the breed.
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‘There’s no such thing as an acting cat’
The 52-year-old director says he didn’t know what he was getting himself in for when he replaced the “acting cat” on the first day with his family pet.
“I can just tell you, there’s no such thing as an acting cat. It was an expensive non-acting cat.”
Vaughn says in addition to directing the star-studded line-up, he was responsible for Chip’s food, travel arrangements and litter box.
“I think he was so relaxed because I was there with him, always right next to the camera,” he explains.
During press interviews about the film, its star Bryce Dallas Howard said the production revolved around ensuring Chip was comfortable.
“When you’re working with an animal, the same exact thing when you’re working with a young person, the priority is their safety.”
She explained that a life-like stuffed version of the animal was used for any action sequences or moments of high movement.
“Chip is Matthew and Claudia’s cat. This is a cat that is very important to them, part of their family,” she said.
The Jurassic World star added that the director would shoot around Chip’s naptime so that the animal’s routine wasn’t interrupted by cameras.
Argylle is in cinemas now and will stream globally on Apple TV+.