Matthew Vaughn talks Argylle stunt scenes

Matthew Vaughn talks Argylle stunt scenes
Argylle, via UPI Media

Matthew Vaughn’s latest film, high-octane spy thriller Argylle, stars Henry Cavill, Sam Rockwell, Bryce Dallas Howard, John Cena and Dua Lipa.

Argylle – from Apple Studios and Vaughn’s Marv Films – features some varied stunt work; here the director breaks down some of the action scenes and how they were achieved.

Sunt co-ordinator Bradley James Allan had been supervising stunt co-ordinator on all Vaughn’s films from Kick-Ass onwards; he had expanded his role to second-unit director on the Kingsman films.

The 48-year-old Allan had started work on the stunt sequences for Argylle when he died in August 2021.

“Brad was my true partner-in-crime,” says Vaughn. “He had just become part of my company, MARV. We needed to train more young people as second-unit directors, so I had told Brad, ‘Come on board and we’ll start giving sequences to younger directors and we’ll oversee it.”

Roy Taylor then took over (he had also worked with Vaughn in the past) as stunt co-ordinator and second-unit director Damien Walters and fight co-ordinator Guillermo Grispo completed the action sequences that Allan had started before his death, something Vaughn was determined to see through, and helped create the rest of film’s stunt design.

Train fight

One of the stunt scenes was set on a train, and for this Sam Rockwell and Henry Cavill had to learn matching choreography alongside the stunt team members who were taking physical hits and somersaulting.

“The limited space for the stunts and the camera equipment turned out to be a positive, as Vaughn explains: “I was worried about shooting an action sequence on a train, but the confinement makes it easier, in a way, because you have less choice.”

Bakunin apartment safe house fight

For this fight scene, a single continuous shot through the apartment’s corridors was required, with special effects for wall explosions. Rockwell and Cavill propelled backward via a wire in the exact same body position so that a seamless blink transition could be achieved.

Murder ballet sequence

This ballet sequence blended romantic dance movements with tactical combat, choreographed in-sync with music. “I said to Brad Allan, ‘I want to do a love dance where they’re using smoke and the smoke becomes hearts, and Brad said, ‘Yeah, yeah, I get it,’” Vaughn says. “And he goes off and comes back with it. We were an unbelievable yin and yang. I could have these crazy action ideas and he would never even blink.”

Oil-skating sequence

The late Allan crafted several action scenes for Argylle, including a lethal oil-skating passage. The team’s approach synchronised the graceful dance movements with the illusion of gliding on oil – achieved by actually pouring lots of oil onto the floor! This meant that skilled ice-skaters had to be used to navigate the slippery surface.

Argylle via UPI Media
Henry Cavill, Dua Lipa and John Cena

Argylle Matthew Vaughn

Matthew Vaughn with Chip the cat (playing Alfie) 

Argylle opens in theatres on 2 February in the UK before streaming globally on Apple TV+.

All images and trailer courtesy of Universal Pictures. 

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