The King's Man is the prequel story that tells how the infamous Kingsman super-spy organization came to be. However, as we stated in our official review of The King's Man, director Matthew Vaughn also layers in quite a bit of actual World War I-era history over his comic book spy origin story. In a weird sort of way, The King's Man may be one of the better historical recaps that modern movie audiences get about why WWI ever happened. But are all of the characters of The King's Man actual figures of history?
Fans have been asking that question about one breakout fan-favorite member of the Kingsman's founding roster: Polly (Gemma Arterton). Polly is the most trusted maid and confidant (and perhaps more) of the Duke of Oxford (Ralph Fiennes) – she's also a badass sharpshooter on the battlefield. Obviously the Duke of Oxford (the titular "King's Man") was a real person – even if he wasn't a super spy (or was he?). So what about Polly?
ComicBook.com spoke to The King's Man cast, and asked Gemma Arterton herself which actual women of history – or fictional ones – she based Polly on. As Arterton explains:
"Not any[one] specific. I mean, it was the time of the Suffragette Movement [which] was in full swing, so there were these amazing women who were getting together underground and sort of creating their own kind of network, in order get the vote and votes for women. So there were a lot of women at that time... that were not necessarily aristocratic backgrounds, women from all over the place, no matter which background."
"So that was important, that Polly represented the "Everywoman," you know?" Arterton continues. "She's not from the same social class as the Oxfords, she's a servant and she's from a different time and a different place. And she's also loosely based on the Blechly Women that cracked codes during the Second World War. Those were a group of women who were extraordinary actually, that were kind of unsung heroes, incredible code crackers. So she [Polly] is sort of a mish-mash – and you know, I was reading it going 'she's kind of the Rock 'N Roll Mary Poppins.' So I was thinking about that a lot.
But yeah, mostly it was all on the page, and Matthew [Vaughn] this was his first script that he'd written without Jane (Goldman), and he didn't have the female voice that he would usually have in the writing of it, so he was anxious like 'Did I write a good female part?' and I was like, 'You did. She's pretty cool. So yeah, it was all there.'"
The King's Man is now in theaters.