Argylle: Is Elly Conway Based on Taylor Swift?

At first glance, ‘Argylle,’ the Matthew Vaughn film, seems like an unconventional but intriguing spy flick layered with a meta-narrative. The film follows Elly Conway, a spy novelist who realizes that her stories about the fictional Agent Argylle are actually real. Despite having no prior knowledge of the covert spy network and its inner workings, Elly has somehow narrated events that took place in reality within her book series. For the same reason, once her plot catches up to real-time, the covert spy network— both good sides and bad— reveal themselves to her in an effort to gain invaluable knowledge about Argylle’s latest conspiracy-investigative mission.

The premise remains promising, offering a riveting storyline for Vaughn’s latest endeavor into the world of spy stories. However, ‘Argylle’ additionally picks the viewers’ curiosity through the off-screen pieces that move behind the film’s making. As the film entered public knowledge, so did the fact that an eponymous book series was written by elusive writer Elly Conway, whom no one seems to be able to track— despite their Instagram presence. Thus, curiosity gathered about the author, who shares their name with the on-screen protagonist, eventually leading to speculations about singer-songwriter Taylor Swift’s attachment to the project.

Scottish Fold Cats: The Connection Between Elly Conway and Taylor Swift

No, Elly Conway from ‘Argylle’ is not based on Taylor Swift or any other real-life celebrity. Within the film’s narrative, Elly is a spy novelist who realizes she has convoluted but significant connections to the spy network operating within the shadows. As such, the character on its own holds almost no parallels to Swift, the multiple Grammy-award-winning artist. However, the comparison between Conway and Swift doesn’t only come from Bryce Dallas Howard’s character within the film, ‘Argylle.’

Instead, it’s the real-life, off-camera author of the eponymous novel, similarly named Elly Conway, that drew people’s attention toward Swift’s possible attachment to Vaughn’s film. The film and its companion novel came to public attention around the same time. For the same reason, Conway, a seemingly first-time author infamous for their ability to remain under the media’s radar, invited the public’s intrigue.

People made numerous speculations regarding Author Conway’s identity, from names like Daniel Craig to Claudia Schiffer coming up. Likewise, many even believed Vaughn to be behind the pen. Either way, the general consensus remained that Conway was likely a pseudonym equipped by someone within the public eye. Therefore, it wasn’t long before Swift’s name was included in the conversation.

The most significant aspect of ‘Argylle’ that feeds people’s inclination to tie Swift’s name into the project emerges from one piece of iconography that both titles— the film and the musician’s brand— hold: The Scottish Fold Cat. Within the film, Bryce Dallas Howard’s character has a pet cat, a Scottish Fold named Alfie, whom she carries around in a yellow Argyle-print cat carrier backpack.

Even though such backpacks are common enough, their appearance in Swift’s 2020 documentary ‘Miss Americana’ persists as one of their most memorable on-screen appearances. The musician has three pet cats, a Ragdoll named Benjamin Button, and two Scottish Folds named Meredith Grey and Olivia Benson. Fans of the artist, commonly referred to as “Swifties,” have been known to adore Swift’s pets and closely relate them to the latter’s brand. Therefore, once ‘Argylle’s’ Alfie showed up in the trailer inside a cat carrier similar to the one showcased in Swift’s documentary— the theories wrote themselves.

Taylor Swift// Image Credit: Miss Americana/Netflix

The Swifties gathered numerous seemingly innocuous details that might attach Swift to Conway, including an argyle-print sweater in a music video, shared lipsticks, and a Conway Recording Studios sweatshirt. In fact, the ‘Argylle’ protagonist’s red hair, a color donned by Swift in three music videos, also became an “easter egg” to stoke the theories. Given the significance of Swifties within social channels and the artist’s general influence, the theory gained traction despite its flimsy evidence. Furthermore, the ‘Argylle’ marketing department also didn’t shy away from benefiting from the convenient publicity.

Nevertheless, eventually, the theory ended up disproving itself. While Elly Conway is a pen name, it isn’t one equipped by Swift— or any other A-list celebrity. Instead, Terry Hayes, an Australian novelist/screenwriter, and Tammy Cohen, a British author, are the ones behind the mysterious Elly Conway.

“God, I hope all the people that pre-ordered on the basis that Taylor [Swift] wrote it aren’t disappointed,” said Cohen in conversation with The Telegraph after the reveal of her and her co-writer’s involvement in the book. In turn, Hayes humorously added, “I hope they are! If that’s why they buy a book, they deserve every punishment they get.”

Thus, as it remains, Elly Conway has no relation to Taylor Swift— save for their shared love for Scottish Fold Cats. Still, Swifties may be pleased to learn that Swift ended up having some involvement in at least on-screen Elly Conway’s character creation. As it would turn out, Vaughn’s daughter is a big fan of the musician. As a result, the kid convinced her mother, Claudia Schiffer, to bring a Scottish Fold cat into the house as a pet. Eventually, the same cat, named Chip, belonging to the Vaughn-Schiffer household, ended up being cast as Alfie in the film.

Read More: Who Was the Real Agent Argylle? Mid-Credit Scene, Explained