Matthew Vaughn debunks yet another Taylor Swift conspiracy theory

In the Taylor Swift fandom, to buy into yet another far-fetched conspiracy theory is called “clowning.” “I’m putting on my clown makeup,” a stan will say, before launching into a complicated numerology-based hypothesis to explain why the next Taylor’s Version will come out on a certain date. Swifties can be capable detectives, yes, but they also share similarities with the Q-Anon community in the way they dream up and discard theories to fit their preferred reality. Such is the case with Argylle, the mysterious novel that’s been adapted into a blockbuster by Matthew Vaughn.

The crux of this latest Swiftie theory is that there is something suspicious about Argylle. The book is by an anonymous author who goes by the pseudonym “Elly Conway.” According to a biography from her publisher, Penguin, Conway “was born and raised in upstate New York. She wrote her first novel about Agent Argylle while working as a waitress in a late-night diner.” Vaughn acquired the rights to adapt her book long before it was actually published; the novel only just came out on January 9, and Vaughn’s film debuts in February. Vaughn’s Argylle is also an interesting meta-adaptation of the material, wherein Elly Conway the author is actually a character in the film being played by Bryce Dallas Howard.

Swifties latched on to the mystery of the real Elly Conway’s identity for a number of reasons. For one, Conway’s meager social media presence started with a post on Swift’s birthday. For another, the fictional Conway in the Argylle film carries around her Scottish Fold cat in a backpack carrier—the same kind of cat and carrier Swift has. There’s the New York connection; “Elly” now resides in the city, and has posted photos in locations near Swift’s home and studio. Then there’s the fact that the movie character is a redheaded author, just like Swift portrayed in All Too Well: The Short Film, which launched a bevvy of “Taylor is writing a book” theories. Finally, she has been known, on at least one occasion, to use a pseudonym to hide her collaboration with another artist (“Nils Sjoberg” penned the Rihanna/Calvin Harris track “This Is What You Came For”). There are more connections, if not very convincing ones, but when you train your fanbase to look for “Easter eggs,” as Swift has, the investigations will be dogged and thorough.