This article contains major spoilers for “Argylle,” so beware!
“Argylle” is keeping a lot of secrets. While the film’s marketing has been squarely focused on teasing the identity of “the real agent Argylle,” the movie has even more twists and turns that add new wrinkles to Matthew Vaughn’s spy action bonanza (which is now in theaters). While Universal has been keen on keeping the various plot turns under wraps, some of the “Argylle” cast had a difficult time staying quiet about one of the movie’s big surprises.
In “Argylle,” Bryce Dallas Howard plays Elly Conway, the author behind the successful “Argylle” spy novel series. Suddenly, she finds herself caught up in the real world of spies when dueling secret agent organizations discover that her novels have somehow been accurately predicting what’s going to happen in their web of intrigue. Eventually, Elly learns that she’s not really author Elly Conway. Well, technically she is, but she led a forgotten previous life where she was Agent Rachel Kylle, or Agent R. Kylle. So Elly learns that all of her “Argylle” books are actually memories of real missions she went on as a secret agent, and now the underground world of spies is anxious to find out what happened to some valuable information when one of her missions went wrong, causing her to lose her memory and leading to her new life as Elly Conway.
Bryan Cranston plays the leader of the villainous organization known as The Division, but that’s not exactly the only role he has to play. That’s because Cranston’s character also pretends to be Elly Conway’s father, in an attempt to manipulate her into revealing the secrets he so desperately needs. Furthermore, he’s also the one responsible for brainwashing Agent Rachel Kylle after a botched mission left her with amnesia, and with the help of his chief scientist (Catherine O’Hara, who also pretends to be Elly’s mother), convinced Rachel that she was Elly Conway.
With so many twists and turns in play, it should come as no surprise that both Bryan Cranston and Bryce Dallas Howard had a little trouble keeping a lid on the unique dynamic between their characters.
‘Oh, this is juicy!’
We spoke with Bryan Cranston and Bryce Dallas Howard in a joint interview during a press junket for “Argylle,” and each of them relished the surprise reveal where Cranston’s villainous character Ritter suddenly appears as Elly Conway’s father. Cranston recalled:
“So much fun. To be able to pivot and play another angle of something and for my character, Ritter, to play a character. Matthew said there’s a nice twist in it, ‘You’re the bad guy, you’re the villain of the piece, but there’s a nice twist in it you’re going to enjoy.’ And sure enough, getting to that point, ‘Oh, this is juicy!'”
Howard echoed those sentiments and added, “All the twists and turns are so exciting to play, and it is really hard doing this, because I definitely don’t want to ever give anything away.” But it sounds like both Howard and Cranston accidentally gave away this twist on a few occasions.
Howard remembered a time when she was talking about working with Cranston on “Argylle” and she gave away the reveal of Ritter appearing as Elly’s father:
“I caught myself, Bryan and I were hanging out earlier last year, and I was like, ‘We were in a movie together. He played my dad.’ And Bryan was like, ‘Bryce, that’s not what you’re supposed to say.’ It’s all because I was going around being like, ‘We’re father and daughter.’ And it was like, “What are you saying, Bryce? Like ruin the whole movie why don’t you.'”
It sounds like it was a rare slip-up for Howard, as Cranston added, “She never slips up like that. And I was like, ‘Oh, good.’ Because I do. And in these interviews she goes [shifts eyes and mumbles under breath].” Cranston also tried to make Howard feel better about her slip-up, as he admitted to making the same mistake when talking about working with Catherine O’Hara in the movie:
“To let you off the hook, when we first started talking about it, I go, ‘Well, yeah, I play her father, Catherine O’Hara and I play… oh, oh no, oh, wait a second. Forget I said that. Pull back in.'”
Despite Cranston and Howard’s fumbles, it seems that this twist was able to stay secret until the film’s release. It’s just a good thing this wasn’t a Marvel or “Star Wars” project, because the two stars might have been taken out by their deadly snipers.
“Argylle” is playing in theaters everywhere now.