[Update: Stanley Tucci and Game of Thrones actor Robert Aramayo have also joined the cast, per Deadline.]
No disrespect to any entertainment reporters across the pond, but when it comes to movie news, the only UK reporter I truly trust is Baz Bamigboye at the Daily Mail. I can’t speak for the rest of that publication, but Baz has a solid track record in my book, so I believe him when he says that Aaron Taylor-Johnson is teaming back up with his Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn for the Kingsman prequel that has finally started production in London.
Baz took to Twitter on Thursday evening to report that Matthew Goode (Watchmen) has joined the cast along with former Bond girl Gemma Arterton, who will be playing someone’s nanny, while Tom Hollander (Bohemian Rhapsody) has been cast in three roles — George V; the Kaiser; and a Russian tsar, all of whom are part of Queen Victoria‘s family tree. Baz also confirmed Collider’s scoop that Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man), Daniel Brühl (Captain America: Civil War) and Charles Dance (Game of Thrones) were enlisting in the prequel, which will star Harris Dickinson (FX’s Trust) and Ralph Fiennes, as well as Djimon Hounsou and Alison Steadman (Orphan Black).
We’d predicted that Vaughn would recruit some of Europe’s biggest stars for his next Kingsman film, and Taylor-Johnson, Arterton, Hollander and Goode certainly qualify. We’re not surprised, as the director is a major talent magnet who convinced Oscar winners Halle Berry, Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges to join Kingsman: The Golden Circle along with Channing Tatum, Pedro Pascal and Elton John.
While the Kingsman prequel will be the third film in the franchise, it is not being billed as Kingsman 3, as the film will not feature franchise star Taron Egerton as Eggsy. Instead, Dickinson will play Conrad, a cocky yet charming young hero who’s eager to serve his country and fight in World War I. According to our own Steve Weintraub, the prequel is more of a period drama than a spy thriller, and the story centers around ““the man who would be Kingsman.” Make of that what you will.
Vaughn has ambitious plans for his growing Kingsman universe. Not only is he shooting the prequel, but he’s also developing a proper sequel to The Golden Circle that would conclude the Harry Hart-Eggsy relationship. As Collider reported, Vaughn expects to shoot that film later this year following a short break between Kingsman movies. Additionally, Vaughn is developing a Kingsman TV series and a Statesman film based on the American league of spies introduced in The Golden Circle. That’s a whole lot of Kingsman on the horizon, but you’ll have to wait until Nov. 9 for the prequel to hit theaters.
Taylor-Johnson is one of Hollywood’s best young actors, but the truth is that he could use a movie like the Kingsman prequel. He was poised to blow up after his back-to-back castings in Godzilla and Avengers: Age of Ultron, but he failed to capitalize on the moment. I thought he was great in The Wall, but that film came and went. I thought he was even better in Nocturnal Animals, as in, ‘he should’ve won the Oscar!-good,’ but again, that film fared poorly with general audiences. Meanwhile, Outlaw King was perceived as a failure for Netflix, which doesn’t release ratings… unless they’re good, and I don’t believe A Million Little Pieces has secured domestic distribution since debuting last fall in Toronto. MovieTalk fans know that I don’t love most comic book movies but Kick-Ass is one of my favorites and a large part of that is due to Taylor-Johnson, and how he just seemed to be on the same insane page as Vaughn in that movie. Here’s hoping Vaughn has found a character worthy of such a talented performer. He’s represented by WME and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
Arterton recently lent her voice to the TV miniseries Watership Down and will soon be seen alongside Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston in the Netflix comedy Murder Mystery. Hollander is coming off a huge year in which he co-starred in Bohemian Rhapsody and A Private War, as well as Netflix’s Birdbox and Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle. Goode will soon be seen opposite Keira Knightley in Gavin Hood‘s whistleblower drama Official Secrets, which IFC Films acquired out of Sundance, and he has also wrapped the indie movie Medieval with Ben Foster and Michael Caine. He’s repped by CAA, which also reps Arterton along with Independent Talent Group. Hollander is repped by WME and United Agents.