In Kingsman: The Secret Service, Taron Egerton plays Gary “Eggsy” Unwin, a street-wise kid on the wrong side of the tracks… until he’s taken under the wing of Colin Firth’s Harry Hart, a high-ranking secret agent. Kingsman was one of 2015’s sleeper hits—a February release that’s grossed more than $127 million—and Egerton believes much of that is due to director Matthew Vaughn’s ability to craft a great story.
“I think he’s always asking, ‘what’s the coolest thing that could happen here? What could excite an audience’s imagination most here?’” Egerton says. “It’s him thinking in that way that ultimately leads to the product you end up seeing on screen.”
Check out an exclusive behind the scenes clip from the film’s upcoming DVD release, and read below for more from Egerton.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I know you’ve spoken about your preparation for the role in various interviews but I’m always curious about the production aspects of a film like this, especially in terms of how physical it is. You did most of your stunts, correct?
TARON EGERTON: There is some work by stuntmen in the film, as there always is. Matthew’s decree at the start of shooting was, “I really want to see if we can get Taron and Colin to do as much of this as is in their capabilities and is safe.” So we worked with a great team, and he was taught his fights by a man named Rick English and I was taught by a man named Damien Walters. And yeah, we ended up doing most of it except for a couple little things. Occasionally, the insurance company would step in and say, “No, that’s nuts,” in which case… you know, Colin Firth breaks his neck on set and the film sinks, so Rick would step in and likewise for me, Damien. But yes, all of the fighting, you can clearly see it’s me and Colin. We trained alongside one another, Colin for even longer than me because he was cast before me. I’m don’t know, because I’ve never done a film before, but I’m told we do more stunts than is usual.
So in your opinion, what was a harder challenge? Learning all those stunts or perfecting Eggsy’s accent?
Can you hear the difference in the accent now? [Laughs] I always wonder how other people hear it. It’s a very tough accent. I’ve found it’s very tough because it’s got lots of influences. It comes from a city with lots of different inhabitants and different cultural backgrounds, and it’s a kind of mix of sounds. In terms of what was more difficult… the whole thing was an acting challenge. I wasn’t in that shape before we started filming, and that’s what strikes me as being a thing that was really demanding, because it took up so much time. And you had to totally adapt a lifestyle to intensive diets and the way you live, really. So the challenges were many and varied, but I suppose the physical part of it was demanding for me especially, because I was just trying to navigate my first experience of making a film.
This was a huge breakout role for you, and it happened so unexpectedly. But what a great first film. You got to work with some amazing co-stars, a talented director, and tell a really fun story. How has the transition been for you as an actor?
I mean, its fine. I don’t really get recognized. I’m making a film with Hugh Jackman at the moment, and he says he remembers when he had a sort of similar experience in X-Men. He said it’s surprising how it can take awhile for that to happen; it’s kind of a year or two later, bizarrely. So it hasn’t massively changed my life, but it’s just very odd to see yourself on the side of a taxi in Germany. It’s quite a strange feeling. By and large, you just sort of focus on the job and the work. And I’m very proud of the work, and anything else that happens is secondary and you just sort of deal with that as it comes, really.
The film was a surprise hit in so many ways. And with the DVD release, it will definitely be introduced to many new fans. Why do you think the movie connected so well with audiences?
I think you can construct it in a variety of ways. Personally, I know it may sound like a bit of cop-out to say but I think it’s pretty much exclusively down to Matthew Vaughn’s instincts for this sort of thing. Matthew makes the films he loves as a kid, you know? If you ask him to cite his favorite directors and films, then you’re going to hear him say, I would imagine like [George] Lucas and Spielberg and Indiana Jones—the films he loves are those classic popcorn movies that bend and stretch your imagination and make you get behind the character. They’re the movies he loves. And I think they’re the movies he tries to make. And then he hires great people. He hires people like Brad Allen to do the fight choreography, and he gets Colin Firth killing 70 people inside a church. There’s also a kind of an archaic streak in Matthew, he’s a bit of a “two fingers up” sort of guy, so I think he gets a bit of a thrill out of being provocative. And that combination of things, that chemistry just kind of makes an awesome, slightly weird spy film that gets people excited. Because people forget that it is an independent film. It doesn’t fall to the usual problems of the studio movies, where changes happen and decisions are made largely by a committee to try to appeal to as many people as possible. Whereas something having integrity in terms of going for one idea and going for it hard can actually yield better results. And I kind of think that’s what it is. He is, in some respects, a bit of a one-man studio, and it works for him. It’s Matthew Vaughn for me all the way.
Have you heard about the sequel rumors?
I have heard about the sequel rumors! It cropped up on the Internet. I’m told I’m the main character, but I haven’t heard anything yet. [Laughs] I’m really not surprised. I think there’s certainly more stories to tell. But I’m still waiting for Matthew Vaughn’s name to pop up on my phone and tell me he wants to do another film with me, which hasn’t happened just yet.
If he called you right now and told you that you had free reign over Eggsy’s storyline for the next movie, what would you like to see from the character? Especially given where we left him.
I don’t know… I suppose with a sequel, you’d have to expand a little bit. I’m not a writer or a director; I walk and talk. I suppose it would be great to see some new characters, it would be great to see the universe expanded a little bit, it would be nice to see some new gadgets and all that sort of stuff… You can see what I’m not a filmmaker, clearly. [Laughs]
More with Roxy?
Yeah, of course! She’s a great character and there’s more to be seen with her. I mean, I don’t want to presume I’m a part of it until someone calls me up and asks me to be, you know? [Laughs] I think it’s a very vibrant universe that can exist with or without me. So I hope they decide to pursue Eggsy’s story but until I’ve signed a contract, I’m not going to presume!
That’s fair! Can you talk about your next projects at all?
I’m filming at the moment—this weekend I finish shooting Eddie the Eagle, which is a film I’m making with director Dexter Fletcher and Hugh Jackman. But beyond that, there’s not anything I can talk about.
Kingsman: The Secret Service is available on Digital HD May 15 and on Blu-Ray and DVD June 9.