Image via YouTube
If the world needs saving, you send in Kingsman. And if you’re going to send in Kingsman, then you get Matthew Vaughn to set them in motion, the high-energy director proving himself to be a master of kinetic action with films like Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, Kingsman: The Secret Service and, now, its sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
Based on the comic book by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, the original Kingsman introduced the independent, self-funded British spy organization dedicated to keeping the world safe while, thanks to their cover as high-end tailors, looking like they’d just stepped out of a high-fashion shop front window. We met Harry Hart, played by Colin Firth with grace, charm and the ability to wield a lethal umbrella; Merlin (Mark Strong), the organization’s Scottish tech guru; Chester King (Michael Caine), a leader with a dark side; Roxy (Sophie Cookson), an eager new recruit; and, of course, Eggsy (Taron Egerton), a kid from the wrong side of the tracks who is recruited, taken under Harry’s wing, and who finally becomes a true Kingsman, rough edges and all.
This time Eggsy finds himself going up against drug dealer and head of the enemy organization the Golden Circle, Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore). The film begins with a huge shock: a devastating attack is launched on the Kingsman organization. After the attack, Eggsy teams up with Merlin — who appears to be the only other survivor — to investigate the circumstances behind it. The Kingsman’s "Doomsday Protocal" leads them to Kentucky, where they discover that Kingsman isn’t the only name in international espionage. Welcome to the lavishly-funded all-American organization, Statesman. Kingsman: The Golden Circle also stars Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, Pedro Pascal and Elton John(!).
FHM: You’re not a guy known for making sequels, so the fact you did this one was surprising.
Matthew Vaughn: “I set up the first one so there could be a sequel. As a director, I enjoyed making the first one so much that the idea was appealing. But sequels are very hard. The audience loves what’s gone before, but if you do the same thing, it’s boring and unoriginal. The sequels I love are a continuation of a story.”
FHM: So what story were you looking to continue?
Matthew Vaughn: “Eggsy’s. The best example for me of a mainstream character taking a journey over several films is Luke Skywalker. In The Empire Strikes Back, there’s this feeling that your hero is still not quite a hero, he’s still got conflict going on. I tried to apply that to The Golden Circle.”
FHM: How about the villain this time out?
Matthew Vaughn: “Julianne Moore plays Poppy Adams, a drug dealer who’s also the head of the Golden Circle criminal enterprise. One morning I woke up with the whole storyline in place. I was worried about the villain. It’s really hard to come up with a villain plot that doesn’t seem silly, and that’s relevant, and that’s believable. In the first movie, Valentine’s [Samuel L. Jackson] plot made sense, and the environment is a problem. Poppy’s plot, I guarantee people will be debating. Is she right? Is she wrong? Her aspirations make sense, but her method of making that happen really isn’t very nice! She’s an ex-pat who is unable to return to the United States for legal, and very illegal, reasons.”
FHM: Things begin with Kingsman under attack, and the action switching to America….
Matthew Vaughn: “It puts Eggsy in a position where he has to go out, spread his wings, and meet other people. I didn’t feel I had to blow up Kingsman, it was just the natural thing to do. And it leads to the Statesman. They’re the American equivalent to Kingsman, and now they have to work together. American and English share a language, but we’re very different culturally. I wanted to riff on the special relationship. What people loved about Kingsman: The Secret Service was seeing Colin Firth and Taron Egerton’s different worlds colliding, and I wanted to continue that with the American world colliding with the British. Where Kingsman is all about style and sophistication, Statesman embraces all out Americana. I used to love cowboy movies as a kid. I thought they were amazingly cool characters, and wanted to have some fun with Americana. So where we had an action sequence with an umbrella in the first Kingsman, here I wanted to do an action sequence with a lasso. We’ve given them whips that are cool as hell, and six-shooters which we’ve altered to make 12-shooters.”
FHM: You’ve got Game Of Thrones’ Pedro Pascal cast as Agent Whiskey. How would you describe the character?
Matthew Vaughn: “Think of him as the Marlboro Man sprinkled with James Coburn and Burt Reynolds. He’s got swagger. He has that Reynolds vibe. When was the last time we saw that Burt Reynolds-type character, with the smile and the cowboy hat and the mustache? Then Pedro walked into my life and I thought, ‘I’ve found him’.”
FHM: There’s also the issue of Colin Firth as Harry Hart. You know, the guy we saw die in the first film; shot in the head by Valentine.
Matthew Vaughn: “I remember feeling sick when Harry died. But the way I shot it, you never saw him die.”
FHM: That’s it?
Matthew Vaughn: “I can tell you Harry’s got a cracking headache. The franchise is the two of them, Eggsy and Harry. It’s extraordinary how much people loved their relationship in the last movie. The chemistry is there. I’ve always loved movies where it’s a double act, and they’re my double act.”
FHM: The action of the first film was pretty out there. How would you rate the action of the new film?
Matthew Vaughn: “We’ve got action sequences which are different. There are no exploding heads. Story made that sequence happen, and people enjoyed it because it was visually nuts, but there was a story behind that. So we have two or three sequences where the story has led me to some crazy, cool set pieces, but everything I try to do is for a reason."
FHM: So what’s next for Kingsman?
Matthew Vaughn: “I have a great idea for Kingsman 3. And it’ll take it to a level that no-one will guess. This movie sets up a lot of what will happen in Kingsman 3. That’s where it all comes together. There’s a whole new world waiting to explode…”
Lead image via YouTube.
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