Drink to that
‘i think it was kubrick who said you need Five water-cooler moments For a hit Film, i always try to put eight in’ matthew vaughn
back because I was contractually obligated to.”) “Coming from a Bond movie [2002’s Die Another Day],
I was a little snobby about the first Kingsman,” admits Halle Berry. “Like, ‘What are they doing here?’ But I was completely blown away. When Matthew called me up, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.” Channing Tatum describes himself as a “fan fan” of Kingsman, marvelling at its originality. Though the movie was rooted in a comic book – like the new film, it was adapted by Vaughn and co-writer Jane Goldman from the Mark Miller/Dave Gibbons series The Secret Service – it stood out. “There were so many other comic-book movies and already established IP around when the first Kingsman came out,” remembers Tatum. “And that film had such a new kind of voice, a new style. Nobody knew what it was, then it became everybody’s favourite movie of the year.”
Pitching in with equal enthusiasm, Bridges says: “I’m big fan of movies where the director is kind of ahead of the audience. You just don’t know what to expect. You saw the first one, I imagine? So when those heads…” he trails off into laughter, saying all that needs to be said about one of the original movie’s messiest moments. It wasn’t the only jaw-dropper. There was the church-bloodbath bit and, now perhaps even more controversial, the anal-sex-gag bit. “I think it’s really good to have moments in cinema that some people love and some people hate,” considers Vaughn. “I think it was Kubrick who said that you need five water-cooler moments, and then you’ve got a hit film. So I always try to put eight in, to make sure that at least five happen!” Pressed for more detail, he responds: “Yes, there are scenes [in The Golden Circle] that people haven’t seen before. But I’m not trying to compete with the church from the first one. I didn’t sit there and go, ‘OK, let’s think of another church-style sequence.’ But yeah… there’s a few moments people will definitely talk about.”
One of them being a climactic fight that, according to Egerton, is “every bit as dynamic and as dangerous” as the earlier unholy showdown. But he agrees that Vaughn isn’t out to repeat or outdo himself. “I think to try to be bigger and better in a comparable way, in as shocking a location as a church… I don’t think Matthew ever tried, because he knew to attempt to do a steroided-up version of that sequence would be destined to fail.”
The whole question of going ‘bigger’ in a sequel is a complex one, says Vaughn (despite the fact Kingsman 2 will play in 3D and IMAX). “I think ‘bigger’ means nothing, unless the story needs to be bigger,” he argues. “But if the story doesn’t ask for it, the viewer will be like, ‘Well, I don’t care about this.’” He didn’t go into The Golden Circle thinking he had to supersize things, he explains. All the same, the movie does look pretty epic. “Weirdly, it feels bigger because it’s a bit more international, and it’s got more movie stars in it,” he argues. “But there’s some very big stuff going on in the first one… that’s what people seem to forget!”
There’s one hackneyed ‘rule’ of sequels the new film doesn’t stick to. “It’s definitely not darker. Darkness is not Kingsman. Kingsman is not a dark movie,” says Vaughn, making the point clear. “There’s more emotion in this, I would say.” He lists his own golden circle of sequels: The Godfather: Part II, Aliens, The Empire Strikes Back... “I wouldn’t say those films got darker. They got more emotional. And that’s when sequels work: when you’ve got characters you want to see more of, and then you learn more about them,
and don’t just follow them on an interchangeable mission.”
The movie’s heightened emotions are all to do with Eggsy getting caught in a work and life quandary. “I always thought it would be interesting to see a spy fall in love and explore how spies aren’t meant to do that,” teases Vaughn. “Then you have the conflict of: do you follow your heart and be a vulnerable spy? Or do you act like James Bond, where you’re not really in the mood and don’t give a shit?” How much of a shit we’ll see Eggsy give remains to be seen; but Egerton does promise that the heart of the film, the “great struggle”, is about “being a normal lad from London who wants to retain something of himself… while also having to go out and save the world”.
Another question: who does Eggsy go gaga for? Is it current girlfriend Tilde? Or maybe fellow agent – and BFF – Roxy (Sophie Cookson)? Whoever it is, we can expect a charged moment or two – take Egerton’s (cryptic) word for it. “There was one thing I wanted to see between the characters in the first one that you didn’t get… and you get it in this one. I’ll leave it at that.” And if the story doesn’t get you, the soundtrack will; it seems ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ is far from the only killer tune on offer.
“If you really love music, if music is important to you when having a movie experience – well, in this movie, music is a character,” says Berry. “And I think that’ll speak to lots of people.”
For Firth, Vaughn’s use of music doesn’t just have you tapping your toes – it keeps you on them. “The completely unexpected music choices,” he says admiringly. “Like in the trailer, with Frank Sinatra [‘My Way’]. You don’t see that coming. And there’s a lot of that going on in this movie, where you think, ‘I know where this moment is… oh.’ You think you’ve got a silly moment, but then it turns poignant.” The art of surprise is a tough one, Firth says. “You can’t just make things go bang. You’ve got to set things up this way, then unexpectedly take it that way.” Hopefully, though, Vaughn isn’t practising his mastery of misdirection with his last words to TF: “My problem is, with so many movies I just go, ‘God was that worth buying a ticket for? Not really.’ But I think this is a really fun, big experience that’s worth seeing in a cinema.” He pauses then adds, “I don’t hate the film, which is a good sign!”
Kingsman: the golden circle opens on 20 september. Also joining the cast as Statesmen are Halle Berry as Agent Ginger Ale (above, with Mark Strong’s returning Merlin) and Channing Tatum (below left) as Agent Tequila.