spies like u.s.

get ready for more fun and spy games as eg­gsy goes west in kings­man: the golden cir­cle. di­rec­tor matthew vaughn and his all-star cast re­veal the se­cret to fol­low­ing a sur­prise smash: more sur­prises…

Total Film - - Comic Book Preview - eta 20 septem­ber words Matthew LeyLand

icould bore you to death with my knowl­edge of Prince,” reck­ons Matthew Vaughn. No you couldn’t, re­torts TF, buzzing with the dis­cov­ery that Vaughn’s new film Kings­man: The Golden Cir­cle kicks off (lit­er­ally) with ‘Let’s Go Crazy’. One of the late pur­ple mae­stro’s great­est hits, its rag­ing riff-o-rama fits TGC’s open­ing high-speed, taxi-based brawl like a (white lace) glove.

The song’s ti­tle, mean­while, is the per­fect state­ment of in­tent for the spy-movie se­quel. Lit­tle won­der Vaughn, af­ter “nearly a year of ne­go­ti­at­ing”, was stoked to bag the rights to the tune… and then shocked when, at test screen­ings, some view­ers didn’t like it, or Prince. “I was like, ‘Re­ally?’” says the pro­ducer/writer/ di­rec­tor. “I sup­pose when you think about it, Prince didn’t re­ally pro­mote him­self for 20 years, so a whole gen­er­a­tion didn’t get to dis­cover him… I’m hop­ing they will with this film.”

An­other hope for the movie: to de­liver a se­quel truly wor­thy of Kings­man: The Se­cret Service. A hy­per­stylised cel­e­bra­tion/sub­ver­sion of spy movies cen­tred on an ‘in­de­pen­dent in­ter­na­tional in­tel­li­gence agency’, the 2014 re­lease grossed $414m glob­ally, be­com­ing Vaughn’s big­gest hit. “With the first Kings­man, I didn’t know whether the world would share my love for a rein­ven­tion of the spy genre,” he re­veals. “With this one, the thing I’m ner­vous of is: will au­di­ences re­late to the way I’ve tried to tackle do­ing a se­quel?”

Though Vaughn has a suc­cess­ful pre­quel un­der his belt – 2011’s X-Men: First Class – The Golden Cir­cle is his first bona fide fol­low-up. But how do you chase a movie as fresh out the box as The Se­cret Service? As Vaughn puts it, “It’s very hard to be orig­i­nal twice.”

One an­swer: hit the ground run­ning. “When I first read the script I went… ‘Wow!’” re­calls Taron Egerton, the break­out star of Se­cret Service who’s back in the role of Gary ‘Eg­gsy’ Un­win. But wowed as he was, the ac­tor had con­cerns. “I re­mem­ber say­ing to Matthew, ‘Don’t we need to spend some time es­tab­lish­ing what’s go­ing on in the world, what’s been hap­pen­ing?’ He went, ‘No.’” Soon enough, Egerton was up to speed. “You want to get straight

into the ac­tion,” he ex­plains. “Straight into the cut and thrust.” Like that open­ing scene, Egerton is a ball of en­ergy. Sit­ting – and stand­ing – in a Lon­don ho­tel, he’s highly an­i­mated, lean­ing for­ward, throw­ing him­self back, play­fully pulling/push­ing a cof­fee ta­ble and wav­ing t-shirted arms that ex­pose some im­pres­sive guns. Well, he is a Kings­man. “At the start of the movie, he’s this newly, fully formed se­cret agent, and in a re­la­tion­ship with the princess [Hanna Al­ström’s Tilde] from the first one.” Ob­vi­ously, the good times can’t last. “The world that he’s dis­cov­ered and now finds him­self hap­pily oc­cu­py­ing… is de­stroyed,” Egerton re­veals. “Ev­ery­thing is com­pletely turned on its head.”

Pick­ing up the thread, Vaughn adds: “The Kings­man or­gan­i­sa­tion is wiped out, so Eg­gsy has to fend on his own for a bit. And he’s al­ready deal­ing with the fact that he doesn’t have a men­tor.” Or does he? No spoil­ers for any­one still to see The Se­cret Service, but that movie didn’t end well for Eg­gsy’s over­seer Harry Hart (aka Gala­had), played with gen­tle­manly rel­ish by Colin Firth. Firth, how­ever, ap­pears to be back in ac­tion… “I played Harry in the first film, and I play the guy with the eye patch in the new film’s trailer,” says Firth, grin­ning slyly. So has Harry prop­erly re­turned? Is it a flash­back? Dream se­quence? Just a cameo, surely? “You’ll be sur­prised… He might be around quite a bit,” says Egerton, leav­ing it coyly at that.

At any rate, Firth is but one of the big names form­ing The Golden Cir­cle. The ti­tle refers to a se­cret or­gan­i­sa­tion linked to the movie’s big bad, en­tre­pre­neur Poppy (Ju­lianne Moore); but it could also be a nod to the num­ber of Os­car-win­ners in the cast: Firth, Moore, Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry, even El­ton John (“He plays El­ton John,” re­veals Egerton). And there’s Chan­ning Ta­tum and Game Of Thrones star Pe­dro Pas­cal, too.

The bulk of the new in­take play mem­bers of States­man – as the name sug­gests, the US equiv­a­lent of Kings­man. Although it’s not quite as sim­ple as that… “They’re very, very dif­fer­ent,” stresses Vaughn. “The Kings­man were a cel­e­bra­tion of Bri­tan­nia; the States­man are a cel­e­bra­tion of Amer­i­cana.” The for­mer group’s cover is that they’re high-class Sav­ile Row tai­lors; the sec­ond group is into booze. “The big joke is that, while they’ve got the same aims and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as Kings­man, the States­man are all bil­lion­aires and in the al­co­hol busi­ness,” says Vaughn. “They’re fun. They’re south­ern gentle­men, but at the same time, they’re a lit­tle bit looser and cooler than Kings­man. Not as up­tight.

And Eg­gsy is sort of weirdly in the mid­dle of the two.”

So what’s our hero’s first im­pres­sion of his new al­lies? “His first im­pres­sion? They kick the shit out of him and nearly kill him, so he’s like ‘Who the fuck are these guys?’” says Vaughn. “And then they re­alise they’ve got shared val­ues and a com­mon in­ter­est, and they team up. They’re a good com­bi­na­tion.”

Vaughn likens the Transat­lantic chemistry to ’70s TV smash The Per­suaders!. “I loved Tony Cur­tis and Roger Moore do­ing their thing. That’s def­i­nitely had a big in­flu­ence on me.” An­other in­flu­ence: the old west. “You can’t have Amer­i­cana with­out cow­boys,” in­sists Vaughn. “[The States­man] are from the south. They like their bour­bon. They like their horses. They wear cowboy hats. But they don’t look like id­iots. We cel­e­brate all that, make them look cool.”

Although one States­man – woman, rather – is more at the geek-chic part of the cool spec­trum. “I play Gin­ger Ale,” says Halle Berry. “And I’m sort of the Mark Strong char­ac­ter of the group – the geeky, nerdy one.” (Strong him­self reprises his role as se­nior Kings­man, Mer­lin.) Chan­ning Ta­tum, mean­while, is Agent Tequila; Pe­dro Pas­cal is Whiskey; and at the top of the drinks cab­i­net is Jeff Bridges as Cham­pagne. “I’m the head of the States­man. The boss,” says Bridges, em­phat­i­cally drawl­ing that last word. “Although I don’t re­ally like that ti­tle, ‘Cham­pagne’. I just call my­self ‘Champ’.”

It’s a nick­name that fits, not least in the eyes of his di­rec­tor. “I get starstruck more from sports peo­ple than I do with ac­tors, be­cause they’re part of my pro­fes­sion,” says Vaughn, who’s called ‘Ac­tion!’ at ev­ery­one from De Niro and Pfeif­fer (2007’s Star­dust) to Sa­muel L. Jack­son and Michael Caine (the first Kings­man). “But I’ve got to say, I was like, ‘Whoa, I’ve got Jeff Bridges here! Mind you, ev­ery­one else was prob­a­bly think­ing about True Grit where I was all,‘Tron!’” El­ton John was an­other bucket-list big­gie. “I re­mem­ber him so clearly as a kid, see­ing him on The Mup­pets… when it’s the lit­tle boy in you, you do get a lit­tle starstruck.” (On the first Kings­man, it was Mark Hamill: “I was like, ‘It’s Luke fuck­ing Sky­walker!’” Vaughn says with typ­i­cal sweary glee.)

Ask the stars them­selves what drew them to The Golden Cir­cle and the an­swer’s the same: the first one (aside from Egerton, who dead­pans, “I came

‘the world that he’s dis­cov­ered and Finds him­selF hap­pily oc­cu­py­ing is de­stroyed… ev­ery­thing is turned on its head’ taron egerton

patchy de­tails Colin Firth’s Harry is back, some­how. Ex­actly how, and in what form, though, re­mains top se­cret. (be­low) Taron Egerton (Eg­gsy) on set.

new re­cruits (above) Jeff Bridges and Ju­lianne Moore head the A-list ad­di­tions to the cast, play­ing chief US spy Agent Cham­pagne and big bad Poppy, re­spec­tively,

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.