Matthew Vaughn Discusses ‘Argylle’ at NYCC 2023

At New York Comic Con, I had the chance to interview Matthew Vaughn. His upcoming film, Argylle, which he directed and produced, is set to release in theaters on February 2, 2024. 

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 (Oscar® winner Sam Rockwell), 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.

I asked him about what he considers the biggest challenge of Argylle, the importance of making movies for the fans, as well as the trailer. Keep reading for our full conversation!

Peter Mountain/Universal Pictures

Was there a certain project that really challenged you and how did that help you with future work? Additionally, was there a specific challenge tied to Argylle?
Matthew Vaughn: Oh, wow! Okay, that’s a big question. Well, I’ll reverse it, ‘cause the challenge in Argylle is making a movie with a cat, not easy. I’m a dog person. I love dogs. I have cats as well, but my cats are very much in my daughter’s domain. Then we had a very, very bad cat actor, which I fired after the first day and then, I borrowed my daughter’s cat that I would always say to my daughter, “Why do you have a cat,” and secretly hope my dog might eat the cat one day. Now, I’d be very upset if my dog ate the cat. I actually fell in love with the cat after driving to work with him and making a movie with him.

So, that was the biggest challenge on Argylle and on the other movies, it depends. It was as early as when I made Layer Cake, I didn’t know how to direct, so that was a challenge, not knowing what a camera or what a lens — how it all works. So, every movie is a challenge and if you think you know what you’re doing, you don’t, but you get more seasoned. It’s not easy and what I’ve learned is you have to roll the punches and embrace the problems, the problems normally make the film better and it’s what I think goes wrong with all of the big-budget movies. They just spend their way out of trouble but they don’t fix the problem, they’re hiding it. So when we don’t have enough money to hide the problem, we have to fix the problem and change it, and normally it’s for the better.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 14: (L-R) Chris Hewitt and Matthew Vaughn speak onstage during a Special ARGYLLE Panel presented by Universal Pictures at New York Comic Con at Jacob Javits Center on October 14, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Mendez/Getty Images for Universal Pictures)

I’m a big convention girl, I’m so happy to be here. What is it like for you to be here, and how excited are you to just speak with the fans and get their feedback? There must be no better feeling than being in a room with so many people who love the same thing. I imagine it’s almost like being at a theater opening night for your movie.
You know what, it’s a lot more enthusiastic ‘cause when you do a premiere, it’s full of — 80% of the room want the movie to be terrible, they’re Hollywood assholes that are just like, “We don’t want this to be a hit, we didn’t make it.” And so, when you come here or my favorite thing is sneaking into Multiplex when my films out and sitting at the back and learning. By the way, sometimes I’m sitting there going, they’re laughing at something that wasn’t — I’m like, “What are they… wait, wait, hold on. Have I missed something here?” And other times they don’t laugh, so that’s where you learn a lot and I’m a big believer, I try to make movies that I would like watching, so then I hope other people like watching it.

I make movies for fans, I hope. One day, maybe, I’ll lose all the fans but I don’t make movies for Hollywood or with Hollywood, and I think the fans… the things that I do, which resonate, are always the things that Hollywood told me not to. “Don’t have the church scene in Kingsman, cut it. Don’t have a 22-year-old hit girl,” they try to put these really stupid, what they think, rules to make the movie more commercial but they make it less commercial because they make it shit.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 14: Matthew Vaughn speaks onstage during a Special ARGYLLE Panel presented by Universal Pictures at New York Comic Con at Jacob Javits Center on October 14, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Mendez/Getty Images for Universal Pictures)

There’s such an excitement for this movie and that following is earned because like you said, you make movies for the fans and they response to it. And so, going off of that, what is it like to see the social media or fan reactions for this one?
Well, weirdly, I try not to read it too much. I’m not a social media guy because I think if I fall down that rabbit hole, I’m never going to get off. Also, when you’re making something, it’s really — so when it’s finished, I do, but when you’re still making it, you could suddenly dive, go down the wrong path ‘cause someone says, “Oh my God, they’ve got a point.” This one, I’m very excited about ‘cause the trailer played bigger than we’d ever thought it would; I mean, when I say, like three times bigger than any of the Kingsman trailers, so I’m like, “What happened?” But I insisted to Universal — again, this is between Hollywood and me — I said, “You’re only allowed to cut footage from the first 28 minutes of the movie.”

So there’s so much more that people are gonna go, “Where did that come from,” which that’s what I’m really excited about. So, I know some people think they’ve seen the whole movie and they’re complaining the trailer is too long and I’m like, “No, you haven’t. You’ve seen 2.5 minutes of the first 28 minutes.”