Harry Styles Talks Timeless Quality Of Role In 1950s Love Triangle Tale ‘My Policeman’

Fresh from a tumultuous Venice and a Madison Garden concert in between, Harry Styles was back on the festival circuit this weekend for the Toronto world premiere of Michael Grandage’s My Policeman.

Adapted from Bethan Roberts’ late 1950s-set novel, Styles plays a young police constable who embarks on a forbidden and then illegal relationship with a male art gallery curator (David Dawson) while asking a local teacher (Emma Corrin) for her hand in marriage.

Linus Roache, Rupert Everett and Gina McKee also feature in the cast as older versions of the three characters, 40 years down the line when laws and attitudes around homosexuality have changed and moved on.

The press conference for the film, which world premieres on Sunday evening, was a calmer affair than Styles’ previous tumultuous festival outing at Venice for Oliver Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling.

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Beyond reports of a falling out between Wilde and co-star Florence Pugh, there was also a media furore over images that seemed to show Styles spitting at fellow cast member Chris Pine as he sat down for the premiere. Both actors denied the reports.

None of this was alluded to in the controlled environment of the My Policeman Toronto press conference, to which questions were submitted and vetted in advance.

The actor was able to speak at length – alongside the rest of the cast – about his reasons for taking on the role and hopes for the film as launches in Toronto. A key draw had been the timeless quality of his character and its authentic complexity, he said.

“The general themes are incredibly timeless. I think that’s why the film works so well. The themes of love and freedom and the search for that is incredibly relevant, whatever time you want to set it in,” he said.

“Then, for me, a big draw was that people are able to see a part of themselves in each of the characters. The most beautiful thing about the story is that all of the characters have some really nice qualities and they also have some flaws that we might hope not to have, but as humans, we all have them.”

Grandage said he had been drawn to the book for the way it showed how attitudes towards homosexuality had changed over the last 60 years, at a time when acceptance of non-heterosexual sexual orientations felt “a little fragile”.

“The world we find ourselves in now is very different to the one represented in the film in 1957. Although for the first time in my life, I think that is a little fragile at the moment and that is part of what drew me to this film,” he continued.

“The film is many things but it is great when a film can be part of a debate and certainly My Policeman can be part of the debate that’s going on right now..”

 

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