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Why a debunked Taylor Swift theory about the ‘Argylle’ film leaves more questions than answers

“There is a real book… and it’s a really good book," says the film adaptation's director Matthew Vaughn. But who wrote it?
'Argylle' director addresses Taylor Swift rumors head on — after hearing about it from his daughter
Did Taylor Swift write "Argylle"?Raymond Hall / GC Images / Apple TV
/ Source: TODAY

The director of "Argylle" is clearing the air regarding a certain conspiracy theory involving Taylor Swift.

Since at least October 2023, rumors have circulated that the original novel, which came out Jan. 9, was written by none other than Swift. The author of "Argylle," Elly Conway, is reportedly a pseudonym — something Swift has been known for.

The film, which is set to be released on Feb. 2, stars Dua Lipa as a femme fatale and Henry Cavill as the titular detective Argylle on a mission to dismantle a multinational spy network. But in a meta moment, the film is also about the book's author, starring Bryce Dallas Howard as Conway.

The movie's tagline — "Once you know the secret, don't let the cat out of the bag" — further fueled the fan theories, with many pointing to Swift's famous fondness for felines, best exemplified by her 2023 Time Person of the Year cover photo featuring her cat, Benjamin Button.

But Matthew Vaughn, the director of the upcoming thriller, set the record straight in a recent Rolling Stone interview.

Here's everything to know about the popular fan theory.

What did Vaughn say about the rumors?

During the interview, Vaughn addressed the theories head-on, and sorry Swifties, he swiftly debunked them.

“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," he said.

He also revealed that it was his daughter who brought the rumors to his attention.

“‘You never told me Taylor wrote the book!,’” he said, quoting his daughter. “I’m looking at her going, ‘What are you talking about Taylor Swift wrote the book? She didn’t write the book!’”

He jokingly quips that he then had to convince his daughter otherwise.

“I was laughing because I was like, ‘It’s not true! She didn’t write the book!’ But my daughter was convinced of it," he added.

Why do people think Taylor Swift wrote ‘Argylle’?

Swift fans gathered some evidence to support their theory regarding the authorship of "Argylle."

Many pointed to the singer's historic use of pseudonyms and her background with ghostwriting.

Swift is known for her pen names, one being the pseudonym Nils Sjöberg she used when co-writing “This Is What You Came For” with ex Calvin Harris. Joe Alwyn was also credited under the alias William Bowery for tracks including “Exile” and “Evermore."

Other fans have argued that the cat featured in the poster for "Argylle" resembles Swift's cat, Olivia Benson.

'Argylle' director addresses Taylor Swift rumors head on — after hearing about it from his daughter
The official poster for "Argylle."Apple TV

In her 2020 documentary, “Miss Americana,” she was seen using a cat backpack to carry Olivia, like the one seen on the poster.

'Argylle' director addresses Taylor Swift rumors head on — after hearing about it from his daughter
Taylor Swift carries her cat in a backpack in "Miss Americana."Netflix via Youtube

Swift also has a history of wearing sweaters with an argyle pattern. Fans can purchase a "Red (Taylor's Version)" argyle sweater on Swift's website for $65.

Further, Bryce Dallas Howard, who plays Conway in the movie, has red hair. Similarly, at the end of Swift's short film “All Too Well,” she appears as an author with bright red hair.

'Argylle' director addresses Taylor Swift rumors head on — after hearing about it from his daughter
Bryce Dallas Howard stars as Elly Conway in "Argylle."Peter Mountain / Apple TV

While each clue is seemingly small, Swift has a history of leaving cryptic clues in her music videos, social media platforms and merchandise that can serve as hints for the singer's next move. During an appearance on “The Tonight Show” in November 2021, she admitted that she's tried to plant Easter eggs as much as three years in advance.

"When it got out of control was when I started to realize that it wasn't just me that had fun with this, that (fans) had fun with it, too," she said. "And I should never have learned that, because then I couldn't stop."

Taylor Swift and Cat are seen in Soho on September 16, 2014 in New York City.
Taylor Swift and her cat are seen in in New York in September 2014.Raymond Hall / GC Images

But many Swift fans also pointed out that the “Cruel Summer” singer likely wouldn’t have had time to write the book given her busy 2023 — which involved releasing two rerecorded albums, her international “Eras Tour” and her high-profile appearances at Kansas City Chiefs games to cheer on boyfriend Travis Kelce.

"Argylle" the book was originally set to publish in September 2022, according to the Hollywood Reporter. That date was then pushed back to March 2023, and it finally hit shelves on Jan. 9.

If Taylor Swift didn't, then who actually wrote ‘Argylle’?

While the novel is said to be written by Conway, the only information available about her is that she was raised in upstate New York, according to her biography on the Penguin Random House website.

The site also notes that she “wrote the Argylle novel while working as a waitress in a late-night diner.”

The anonymous author seems to post regularly on Instagram.

However, to add to the conspiracy, the day Conway shared her first Instagram post was December 13, 2022 — Swift's 33rd birthday.

In the Rolling Stone interview, Vaughn doubled down that Swift did not pen the book, before saying, "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," Vaughn said.

He continues, "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.”

While Swift reportedly had no part in the creation of the novel, Vaughn did share how she had some influence on the film.

According to Rolling Stone, she inspired the Vaughn family to get a Scottish Fold cat named Chip, who appears in the film.

Vaughn's daughters convinced Claudia Schiffer, his wife, to get them one for Christmas after spotting the cat in "Miss Americana."

"It was bought without my permission and hidden from me," he said.

'Argylle' director addresses Taylor Swift rumors head on — after hearing about it from his daughter
Chip the cat on set of "Argylle."Apple TV

“As crazy as it sounds, that is our only Taylor Swift connection," Vaughn added.