Matthew Vaughn casts KINGSMAN: THE GREAT GAME: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Gemma Arterton, Matthew Goode & Tom Hollander join!

Aaron Taylor-Johnson is teaming back up with his KICK-ASS director Matthew Vaughn for the KINGSMAN: THE GREAT GAME, the prequel that has finally started production in London. On Thursday, the Daily Mail reported 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. Daily Mail also confirmed 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’).

I assumed 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 KINGSMAN: THE GREAT GAME 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 Collider, 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 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 STATESMEN 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. KICK-ASS is one of my favorites non-Marvel, non-DC comic book movies 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.

KINGSMAN: THE GREAT GAME is due in theaters November 8, 2019.

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