Kingsman: The Golden Circle's director Matthew Vaughn wasn't prepared to gamble on the US election results, it seems.
The sequel to 2015's Kingsman: The Secret Service launched into production around March of last year, while Donald Trump was still a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
There were actually at least two references to Trump in the original screenplay, penned by Vaughn and Jane Goldman, but it appears both were slyly cut from the final film.
"In the edit, we toned down some stuff," Vaughn told Entertainment Weekly. One cut moment saw the film's villain, Julianne Moore's Poppy, express her desire to host The Apprentice - the very show that made Trump famous.
"We actually took out the Apprentice line," the director said. "Because we felt it was too close to the bone. I think America’s going through a pretty interesting and rough ride at the moment and I wanted this movie to be escapism. And that means not suddenly have half the audience going, 'That’s not cool, that’s not funny!' as the other half is cheering."
Vaughn's same rationale led to one of the film's pivotal sets being completely redesigned. "We were building a White House Oval Office in the style of Trump Tower," Vaughn explained. "We were making it in all gold and blinging it up."
Of course, with the film's production actually taking place before the election, keeping those Trump jokes in would also have required a certain level of prescience. Vaughn admits, "I remember saying to my American production designer, 'Trump might win, you know? Would this be as funny if Trump won?'"
"And he was like, ‘Trump will never win.' And I said, 'You know what, I have a weird feeling he might. So let’s build a normal Oval Office and scrap the Trump version.' I think my instinct was right. If you go too far — if movies get political when they’re meant to be fun — then it weighs everything down a bit too much."
That said, the first Kingsman did court its own political controversy when it depicted the death of numerous world leaders, including the US president, whose shown as having an obvious resemblance to Barack Obama. Vaughn, at the time, insisted it wasn't an attack on Obama, but "on all politicians".
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