Whether you’re more interested in suave secret agents like Argylle, or superstar but shy best-selling authors like Elly Conway, there’s a character that’s sure to be your favorite in “Argylle,” the new razor-witted, reality-bending spy thriller from the twisted mind of filmmaker Matthew Vaughn (“Kingsman,” “Kick-Ass”).
In “Agrylle,” Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic World” franchise) 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 Aidan, a cat-allergic spy played by Oscar® winner Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), 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.
Ahead of the film’s opening on January 31, get to know Elly, Aidan and the rest of the characters of “Argylle.” Take it from John Cena, who plays one of the book characters in the film. “I don’t think audiences are only looking for bigger and brasher,” Cena says. “I think they also need purpose, narrative and characters to invest in, and ‘Argylle’ has this stuff in spades.”
REAL WORLD (IN THE MOVIE)
Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard)
Novelist by day, cat mom by night, Elly Conway lives a quiet life with an unhealthy obsession with her written characters. Elly is a recluse who lives in a world of her own making, until an agent named Aidan approaches her on a train, informs her that she is the target of a nefarious spy organization known as The Division, and Elly is thrust into a dangerous, glamorous, global race against the clock to unlock a mystery trapped inside her own head and save her own life. “As a 40-year-old woman, it’s not every day you get a part like this sent your way,” says Howard. “It feels like a small miracle, so empowering and satisfying and fun. It is the best script I have ever read and the best part I have ever gotten to play.”
Aidan (Sam Rockwell)
In every way that Elly Conway’s imaginary secret agent, Argylle (played by Henry Cavill), is smooth and confident, real-life secret agent Aidan is a bit rough around the edges. “Elly and Aidan meet on a train, where he looks like an unlikely passenger to be holding a first-class ticket,” says Vaughn. “You wouldn’t immediately peg Sam Rockwell as a spy, and that’s precisely the essence of a spy. In films like ‘Kingsman’ or ‘James Bond,’ spies are typically impeccably dressed, but in our movie, Sam’s character deliberately goes against that norm. He is the kind of spy who is meant to blend in seamlessly by not standing out.”
Ritter (Bryan Cranston)
The leader of a sinister rogue spy organization known as The Division, Ritter is desperate to keep his secrets hidden. Devious and dangerous, Ritter wants to know just what it is that Elly Conway knows and how she knows it – even if she doesn’t. “I’ve been a huge fan of Cranston’s ever since I first saw him in ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Malcolm in the Middle,’” says Vaughn. “Then ‘Breaking Bad’ came along, and I could not believe it was the same guy. Bryan is a rare talent who can master drama like no other and tackle comedy with the same finesse. There is no genre or character he could not handle.”
Ruth (Catherine O’Hara)
Elly Conway’s long-suffering mother and de facto book editor, Ruth is proud of her daughter’s success, but worries about Elly’s obsessive devotion to her fictional world. “Every twenty pages another anvil drops,” O’Hara says of the film’s script, written by Jason Fuchs. “It’s really exciting, and I couldn’t stop reading.”
Alfred Solomon (Samuel L. Jackson)
Alfred Solomon is the former deputy director of the CIA, now living in exile, shunned from the spy world. “Alfred is kind of the master behind the screen,” Jackson says.
Saba Al-Badr (Sofia Boutella)
In the real world of Elly’s and Aidan’s race around the globe to protect Elly from The Division, Saba Al-Badr is the mysterious “Keeper of Secrets,” who resides in a fortress-like palace.
Alfie (Chip, real-life cat of supermodel Claudia Vaughn [née Schiffer])
Alfie is Elly Conway’s cat and her closest friend. She never leaves home without him, so when Aidan drags Elly on a life-or-death race around the globe – with Elly’s future and the future of the world hanging in the balance – Alfie is also hanging on Elly’s back, in a feline-couture backpack with a domed viewing window. “I drew inspiration from my kids, who had me watch a Taylor Swift documentary featuring Taylor wearing a cat pack,” shares Vaughn. “I made a mental note to use it in the future.”
Argylle (Henry Cavill)
Handsome, charming, with a flattop haircut, Argylle is, as imagined by Elly Conway in her novels, a world-class spy who will stop at nothing to bring justice to those who deserve it. He is the epitome of espionage cool. “I felt Henry could give me all the classic spy stuff,” says Vaughn. “He can give me a wink; he can do all the things I want from a spy.” Agrees John Cena, who also plays a spy in the film, “Henry has everything you want from a leading man,” says Cena. “Poise, charisma, professionalism. The man is just a flat-out stud.”
Legrange (Dua Lipa)
Elegant, beguiling, lethal and Argylle’s nemesis, Legrange is an international terrorist, working for the highest bidder. “The role needed someone instantly recognizable and glamorous,” says Vaughn. “My kids introduced me to Dua Lipa through her music and then I saw her on a chat show… she looked glamorous and exactly like what we were looking for in the role.”
Wyatt (John Cena)
Serving as the self-described “muscle,” Wyatt is the best-friend and main accomplice to agent Argylle. “John reached out to me expressing his interest in any role that might be right for him in my films,” Vaughn shares. “You often hear that in Hollywood, but with John, it was genuine. I offered him a small part, just a two-week commitment, and he enthusiastically said yes.”
Keira (Ariana DeBose)
In Elly Conway’s imaginary world of the Argylle novels, Keira is a field tech who often teams up with agent Argylle and Wyatt – usually to bail them out of trouble. “It’s one of those pinch-me moments,” DeBose says of sharing the screen with the film’s all-star cast. “I’m honored to be even a small part of this universe.”