Argylle Author Elly Conway’s Real Identity Revealed


  • The revelation of the author(s) behind the novel Argylle has underwhelmed those expecting a big Hollywood name like Taylor Swift or J.K. Rowling.
  • The novel Argylle was a collaboration between authors Terry Hayes and Tammy Cohen, with Hayes providing “connective tissue” and Cohen writing the bulk of the novel.
  • The speculation and rumors surrounding the mystery author did not have a significant impact, and the film’s box office performance has been disappointing.

Matthew Vaughn’s latest cinematic offering, Argylle, has not exactly set the world alight, much like the revelation of the identity of the source novel’s author. Having spent weeks teasing the “real” Elly Conway, the truth has now finally been revealed – and massively underwhelmed those expecting a big Hollywood name.

Just like the enigmatic Agent Argylle of the movie, the author behind the novel Argylle carried their own shroud of mystery, fueling wild theories and speculation that ranged from pop icons like Taylor Swift to literary giants such as J.K. Rowling being behind the pen name Elly Conway. However, in an interview with UK newspaper The Telegraph, the identity of the author – or, as it turned out, authors – was revealed to be a collaboration between authors Terry Hayes and Tammy Cohen. So, definitely not Taylor Swift, then.



2 /5

Release Date
February 2, 2024

2hr 15min

Apple Original Films, Apple Studios, Cloudy Productions

Once you know the secret don’t let the cat out of the bag.

The partnership between Hayes, known for his novel I Am Pilgrim, and Cohen came about thanks to Vaughn. After plans to adapt Hayes’s I Am Pilgrim fell through, Vaughn approached Hayes with a novel idea — to create a book that the film’s main character would have written, rather than a traditional novelization of the film. Hayes subsequently approached his publisher, who were on board with the idea, but had to call in Cohen due to Hayes already having an existing project behind schedule.

The collaboration between Hayes and Cohen on Argylle was a blend of Cohen’s writing, which formed the bulk of the novel, and Hayes’s contributions, which he described as “connective tissue.” As well as the two authors, both Apple and Universal Studios were revealed to have had their own input on the story, meaning that the crafting of Argylle is the result of something akin to a writers’ circle round-robin.

Argylle, both the novel and the film, brings an experience to life, crossing mediums and providing that little bit more for those who don’t just want to go to the cinema and watch a movie. However, the movie’s theatrical debut pulled in only $35 million worldwide – not great for a film that reportedly would need to make $500 million to break even if coming from a traditional studio release.


Argylle Review: A Terrific Ensemble Can’t Save Convoluted Action Comedy

A spy novelist (Bryce Dallas Howard) and her cat are unwittingly drawn into a globetrotting conspiracy.

Did Anyone Really Care About Argylle’s Mystery Author?

Sam Rockwell as Aidan talking to Bryce Dallas Howard as Elly at Prince Albert Square in Argylle
Universal Pictures

Marketing ploys can be a tricky thing to get right. When they work, then they can break the internet, rake in millions, elevate a project to new levels and on and on. However, when the speculation and rumors are far grander than the truth, then the reveal is always going to end up being something of a damp squib.

Despite Argylle’s writing duo having their own careers as authors, the solving of the mystery surrounding the identity of Elly Conway has not set the world alight in the way it was expected to, and in the end, those who even noticed that the authors had been revealed didn’t appear to be that impressed.

However, even after the news was published, both in The Telegraph and also in a post on Cohen’s Instagram account, many continued to speculate on the possibility of Swift or Rowling being behind it. As noted by many, perhaps the movie would have fared better at the box office if it had been able to engage an army of Swifties. Instead, it seems that Argylle has proven to be a love it or hate it movie, and while critics are definitely in the latter category, the film’s audience score has been gradually rising as they have embraced the silliness of the story and accepted it for what it is.

Argylle is out now in cinemas, and will movie to Apple TV+ in the future.

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