Let’s start at the beginning, for simplicity’s sake…
There is a movie coming out in February 2024 called Argylle. It is from Kingsmen director Matthew Vaughn and has a truly loaded cast, with everyone from Henry Cavill to Bryce Dallas Howard to Sam Rockwell to Bryan Cranston to Samuel L. Jackson to Dua Lipa involved in some way. It also has a really wild premise, with pulse-pounding spy-type action parroting the events of a series of spy novels written by a character in the movie named Elly Conway.
The official description from the studio might help.
Elly Conway, an introverted spy novelist who seldom leaves her home, is drawn into the real world of espionage when the plots of her books get a little too close to the activities of a sinister underground syndicate. When Aiden, a spy, shows up to save her (he says) from being kidnapped or killed (or both), Elly and her beloved cat Alfie are plunged into a covert world where nothing, and no one, is what it seems.
The trailer might help, too. Maybe. Possibly. I think you should watch it anyway because it makes the whole thing feel like a cross between a Jason Statham action movie and the movie Spy, which co-starred Jason Statham as a satirical version of the characters he plays in your normal Jason Statham action movie. I’m actually kind of mad he’s not in this movie now. Maybe there’s a twist we don’t know about yet. Fingers crossed.
Anyway, yes, Dua Lipa whispers the phrase “we’re not so different” into Henry Cavill’s ear in this trailer, so I already love it.
But here’s where things get strange. The Elly Conway character in the movie, who writes the Argylle novels that come to life in the film, is also, allegedly, a real person who writes a real book about a secret agent named Argylle. It’s all very twisted and convoluted and it was explained about as well as one can explain it in a recent examination by Vanity Fair. Here’s the most relevant passage.
The funny thing about all this is that there doesn’t seem to be a “real” Elly Conway, either. There are no photos of Conway on the internet, and her author bio on the Penguin Random House website is suspiciously short: “Elly Conway was born and raised in upstate New York. She wrote her first novel about Agent Argylle while working as a waitress in a late-night diner.” Both X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram contain verified profiles under this name that have a smattering of posts, but there is no way of validating who is actually posting from either account.
All of this, as one might suspect, has led to a slew of suspicion and speculation from the type of people who like to build gigantic conspiracy boards in their homes and connect potential clues together with strings of red yarn. And that, also as one might suspect, has led a not-unsubstantial amount of people to wonder if this mysterious and possibly fake author is actually…
… you guessed it…
… world-famous musician Taylor Swift writing under a pseudonym.
And so, what I have done here is attempt to sort through the potential evidence and various ravings to present you with the case for and case against Taylor Swift being the secret mastermind behind Hollywood’s most mysterious new spy movie. There are some strange corners of the internet out there, folks. Bring a hardhat and flashlight.
The short version here goes something like this: Ladies and gentlemen, the Swifties are at it again.
The longer version is… uh, more involved and requires a knowledge of Swift/Swiftie history, complete with the thing where Taylor Swift has written under a pseudonym before and how she occasionally drops hints via clue or puzzle and her very devoted fan base pieces them all together with an efficiency that would be the envy of any murder detective. Think of this crew as kind of like Columbo except with yoga pants and a comfy crewneck sweatshirt instead of a trenchcoat.
Thankfully, for me, much of the legwork here was done by Polygon’s Petrana Radulovic, who scoured the Swiftie hangouts to present a list of potential clues and scored them on a scale from 1-10 based on validity. Some of them are as simple as “the cat in this movie is a Scottish Fold and Swift owns two of those and has carried them in a similar backpack” or “Taylor Swift has, on occasion, worn an argyle sweater.”
Some are a little more intense. I recommend clicking through and reading all of these but here are my two favorites.
Conway’s first post was on Swift’s birthday in 2022: This is perhaps the most compelling piece of evidence, because the book and movie were announced a full year and a half prior (in June 2021). No other news surrounding the movie or book was released on Dec. 13, 2022. 9/10
Chip the cat (the cat in the movie) made an Instagram post about a big announcement the day before the announcement of the Eras Tour movie: …and it was also the day before the first trailer for Argylle dropped. Considering the cat is owned by the director of the movie, Matthew Vaughn (and his spouse, Claudia Schiffer), that pretty much explains away the coincidence. -1/10
The important things to note here are as follows:
None of this is technically impossible
I think I would honestly watch a movie about the dedicated fans of a pop star solving a murder by piecing together clues on the internet
I did not realize the director of the Kingsmen movies was married to Claudia Schiffer
Really just a lot to process here. Which brings us to…
Three things here, all equally important:
Taylor Swift is a very busy lady, what with her new movie lighting up the box office and her busy schedule of attending Kansas City Chiefs games, and I just don’t know where she would have found the time to write a spy novel
Let’s all take a deep breath here
That Vanity Fair article I linked to way back up in the intro also includes this sentence: “Vanity Fair’s sources confirm that Swift is not, in fact, the author of the book”
So… you know. There’s that.
Taylor Swift is probably not the secret mastermind behind Argylle, a mysterious new spy movie that stars Henry Cavill and Dua Lipa.
… unless that’s exactly what they want you to think.