INSIDE THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
EXCLUSIVE: MATTHEW VAUGHN INTRODUCES THE WORLD OF HIS “BIGGER, BOLDER, CRAZIER” KINGSMAN SEQUEL
EQUELS ARE weird,” sighs Matthew Vaughn ( below). “The audience wants what you did before, but if you do that, they go: ‘ Well, this is just fucking unoriginal and boring!’ Writing this was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
“This” is Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the follow-up to Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service. One of the surprise smashes of last year, the batshit-insane spy caper launched Taron Egerton’s career (see page 92), turned Colin Firth, at 55 years of age, into a bona fide action hero, and made over $400 million worldwide. A sequel was always likely with those numbers, but Vaughn, who previously passed on directing sequels to Kick-ass and X-men: First Class, was by no means a shoo-in to return.
“I didn’t know if I wanted to direct this or not,” says the director, who has given Empire exclusive access to early concept art for the film. “I was worried about the villain. Spy films are only as good as their villains. Then one morning I woke up with the whole storyline in place, and a new villain plot.”
It’s too early to divulge details, but we can reveal the villain is called Poppy, and will be played by Julianne Moore. When a surprise attack leaves the Kingsman organisation reeling, it’s up to former wide boy Eggsy (Egerton) and trusty quartermaster Merlin (Mark Strong) to take her on, with the help of American counterparts the Statesmen.
Headed up by the swaggering, sharpshooting cowboy Jack, and Halle Berry’s Ginger, Vaughn says the introduction of the American agents will keep the film feeling “fresh and unique”.
The relationship between Jack and Eggsy may also fill the void created by the absence of Firth’s Harry Hart, who was bumped off towards the end of the first movie. Vaughn says that Firth may show up for an “Obi-wan Kenobi”-style cameo in flashbacks, but don’t expect a miraculous recovery. “I think the world would like to see Colin again,” he says, “but sadly we’re not a sci-fi movie.”
The first film wasn’t sci-fi, but it was a Bond movie’s naughty cousin. There was swearing. There was a very controversial anal sex joke. And there was extraordinary über-violence, most notably the sequence where Firth single-handedly wiped out a church congregation.
“You try not to read what people want, but they do want another church sequence,” says Vaughn. “I have no reason for a massacre to happen. But I have other sequences you’ve never seen before.”
It’s all very early doors, but Vaughn has plans for an epic skiing sequence, and the mother of all barroom brawls. “There’s an opportunity to make it bigger and funnier and crazier,” says Vaughn. Which translates as robot dogs, one-armed henchmen and good guys being attacked with “a massive fucking frankfurter”. Long live the Kingsmen. CHRIS HEWITT
KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE