While Matthew Vaughn has dabbled in spy movies before, Argylle marks a big change for the director in terms of rating. Eschewing his usual R-rated, hyper-violent action hits like Kick-Ass and Kingsman, Vaughn’s latest is firmly in the PG-13 camp, which he says was a conscious choice.
Speaking to the Inside Total Film podcast and GamesRadar+, Vaughn explains he wanted to make a date movie inspired by films like Charade, Romancing the Stone, and North by Northwest. "These are movies that didn't need to be an R, like Kick-Ass needed to be," he says. "The rating should be a reflection of what the film is, not trying to make a movie for a rating."
Argylle follows a reclusive author called Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard) who writes a best-selling set of novels starring superspy Agent Argylle (Henry Cavill). However, she soon finds herself sucked into the happenings of a real-life spy organization when her novel gets too close to the truth.
But even though the rating fits the story, Vaughn adds that they had to make some adjustments to get the film over the line in the edit.
"We had to make a few little cuts to get it to PG-13. Two of them annoyed the hell out of me, but, hey, ho," the Kick-Ass director continues. "I was like, 'Really, that makes it an R?'
"It sort of made me laugh. I didn't know this at the time but headshots give you an R, chest shots, don't. I said, 'I don't understand that because shooting someone in the chest is acceptable, but then the head is really bad?' I don't think most people care where you're going to get shot, if you're gonna get shot, you're gonna get shot."
For more from our interview with Vaughn, listen to this week’s edition of the Inside Total Film podcast, which is out on Thursday. Argylle arrives in UK theaters on February 2 and US theaters on February 3. Check out our list of the best action movies that you can watch right now too.