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‘Argylle’ director shoots down Taylor Swift conspiracy theory

But Matthew Vaughn (Kingsman) explains how the pop superstar is pretty responsible for his family’s Scottish Fold, Chip, appearing in the film

By Marlow Stern

Taylor Swift in 'Miss Americana.' (Picture: NETFLIX)

Have you heard the latest conspiracy theory being peddled by the Swifties? Because it’s a doozy.

According to Taylor Swift’s online fandom, the pop superstar somehow found time in between The Eras Tour (and its the subsequent box-office smash of a documentary), re-recording her albums, and traveling across the U.S. to watch her beau Travis Kelce catch footballs, to pen a spy novel called Argylle, which has been adapted into a blockbuster movie starring the likes of Bryce Dallas HowardSam RockwellHenry Cavill, Ariana DeBose, John CenaBryan CranstonSamuel L. JacksonDua Lipa, and Catherine O’Hara, and will hit theaters Feb. 2.

The novel Argylle was released on Jan. 9 with a pseudonymous author who goes by the name “Elly Conway,” and centers on a spy novelist who finds herself (and her Scottish Fold, Alfie, who she carries around in an argyle-print cat backpack) roped into an international plot involving feuding spies, assassinations, and plenty of mayhem. Since Swift has a long history of wearing argyle sweaters, even selling a ‘Red (Taylor’s Version) Argyle Sweater’ on her website for $65; has two Scottish Folds named Meredith Grey and Olivia Benson (after the Grey’s Anatomy and Law & Order: SVU characters, respectively); carried around Olivia Benson in a similar cat backpack to the one featured in the film Argylle in her 2020 documentary Miss Americana; the Conway character is played by Bryce Dallas Howard in the film, who has red hair — just like the redheaded writer featured in Swift’s acclaimed short film All Too Well; and there is no internet history of any author named “Elly Conway,” the Swifties surmised that “Elly Conway” was none other than Swift.

Well, Rolling Stone went directly to the source: Argylle director Matthew Vaughn, who says that, alas, the rumours are not true.  

“I’m not a big internet guy, and it was actually my daughter who came up to me — this is the power of celebrity and the internet — and said, ‘You never told me Taylor wrote the book!’” recalled Vaughn. “And I’m looking at her going, ‘What are you talking about Taylor Swift wrote the book? She didn’t write the book!’ And I was laughing because I was like, ‘It’s not true! She didn’t write the book!’ But my daughter was convinced of it.”

And Vaughn, the filmmaker behind Layer CakeKick-AssX-Men: First Class, and the Kingsman films, is adamant that there is a real Elly Conway.

“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,” he maintains. “And I say that because I imagine Taylor Swift has a load of people trying to jump on her bandwagon left, right, and center, and 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.”

Swift is, however, responsible for the Scottish Fold that features in the film Argylle, since Vaughn’s daughters convinced his wife (and their mother), supermodel Claudia Schiffer, to buy them one for Christmas after seeing the cat in Miss Americana. And it’s the Vaughns’ Scottish Fold, Chip, who features in the blockbuster film.

“Ironically, what she is responsible for is the Scottish Fold,” explains Vaughn. “I got home one day, it was Christmas, and I was like, ‘What the fuck is that noise?’ And I’m running around the house and I hear a noise, and the kids had seen a Taylor Swift documentary [Miss Americana] and there was a Scottish Fold in that, and they’d persuaded my wife, Claudia [Schiffer], to get them the kitten for Christmas. It was bought without my permission and hidden from me.”

He adds, “As crazy as it sounds, that is our only Taylor Swift connection.”

As for how Chip landed the role of Alfie, it turns out that the original cat they’d cast in Argylle wasn’t getting the job done, so they tapped him in.

“That was not by design; it was literally by default,” says Vaughn. “That first day of filming with the cat we had — this actor cat — wasn’t really working out, and I literally went to my daughter’s bedroom, because the cat sleeps with her, and I said, ‘Look, I’m gonna borrow the cat.’ And she went, ‘Fine.’ I don’t think she realized it meant for three months. It was odd because he rode to work with me every morning, shared my trailer. But he was great. And he seemed to enjoy it as well. He was a natural. The nepo cat.”

From Rolling Stone.