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How Taylor Swift’s Cats Influenced A Movie New On Streaming

April 13, 20243 Mins Read

Argylle director Matthew Vaughn says Taylor Swift’s love for cats changed the direction of his latest movie.

Argylle — which is new on streaming on AppleTV+ — stars Bryce Dallas-Howard as Elly Conway, a best-selling author of espionage novels that uncannily predict future events in the real global spy world.

Learning from a real spy, Aidan (Sam Rockwell), that an international crime syndicate wants her dead, Elly embarks on a global mission with the agent to thwart the bad guys’ plans. Accompanying the duo on the mission is Elly’s cat, Alfie, played by Vaughn’s feline, Chip.

Vaughn told The Hollywood Reporter that Elly left Alfie at home in the early version of the Argylle screenplay. The writer-director said that the plot point changed, however, when he realized if Swift could bring her cats — she owns three — anywhere she goes, Elly could have Alfie join her adventure in Argylle.

“I saw a Taylor Swift documentary where she has her cat in a cat pack and I remember thinking it was a crazy image,” Vaughn recalled for THR. “I thought having the three of them going on an adventure together would be fantastic. I was nervous about it being a cat because cats aren’t exactly the most trainable animal.”

As such, Alfie accompanies Elly on her mission while sitting in the comforts of a cat-pack. Like two of Swift’s felines, Alfie in Argylle is a Scottish Fold cat.

Before Argylle was released, Swift’s fans — aka Swifties — developed a theory that the global music star was the real author of the then-forthcoming Argylle novel. The Telegraph (via The Wrap) revealed that the Argylle book was written by two authors: Terry Hayes and Tammy Cohen.

Vaughn Says The Cat’s Expressions In ‘Argylle’ Are Real

Also starring Henry Cavill, John Cena, Catherine O’Hara and Bryan Cranston, Argylle is making a quick transition to streaming after a less-than-enthusiastic reception with audiences and critics when it was released in theaters February 2.

While Argylle earned a 72% positive score based on 1,000-plus verified users of Rotten Tomatoes, the aggregate site’s critics deemed the film “rotten” with a 33% rating based on 288 reviews. Argylle ended its dismal run by earning only $96 million in worldwide ticket sales against a $200 million production budget.

MORE FROM FORBESWhy ‘Ripley’ Director Cast A Cat As A Key Character In The Netflix Series

Naturally, Argylle now has a chance to find a new audience on streaming. If new viewers are curious to learn how much of Chip’s performance as Alfie is real, Matthew Vaughn has some revelations that might surprise people — at least when it comes to the feline’s expressions.

“Cats are more expressive than people tend to give them credit for and I learned that massively while looking through the lens when making Argylle,” Vaughn told THR. “There are some moments when people say, ‘Well, that shot is so obviously CG and looks fake’ and I’m like, ‘No, no, that was real.’ I was astonished at how emotive a cat is.”

However, since Argylle is an action film, Vaughn was quick to point out that he did use CGI for Alfie’s more dangerous scenes.

“Like, we couldn’t obviously throw a cat off a building,” Vaughn told THR.

Argylle is streaming on AppleTV+.

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