Harry Styles sought out the role of 1950s British policeman Tom Burgess in Michael Grandage’s romantic drama My Policeman even before the director had a chance to send him the script.
“Harry Styles kind of chose himself,” Grandage told MovieMaker. “We hadn’t actually sent him a script, but the script had been distributed within his agency, and they knew what he was looking for in material. So they read this script and thought, This is actually the kind of thing he’s looking for. So they sent it to him, and then contacted us by saying… ‘Harry would be interested in meeting for this. He’s read the script, he’s read the book. He would like to talk to you about why he would like to play Tom,’ and I met him on those terms.”
Based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Bethan Roberts, My Policeman takes place during a time in the UK when being queer could get a person beaten, fired, or even thrown in jail. It follows the love story of closeted policeman Tom Burgess (Styles) and museum curator Patrick Hazelwood (David Dawson). But in order to be together, Tom decides they need a cover — so he befriends and marries schoolteacher Marion Taylor (Emma Corrin), and he and Patrick keep their secret for as long as they can.
Grandage describes his first meet-up with Styles as “fantastically collaborative.”
“It was so collaborative that I thought, I don’t really want to look elsewhere for another Tom,” he said.
When Dawson first heard that he would be starring opposite global pop star Harry Styles, he immediately got to work dispelling any preconceived notions about the musician.
“When Michael said that that’s who you’re going to be telling this story with, you can’t help but think, how strange is life?” Dawson said. “Very quickly, you have to consciously get rid of [the idea of] that person that you’ve known on screen or from their music. But I will say, sincerely, Harry makes that very easy to do. It really was an absolute pleasure to work with him. He’s incredibly down to earth and genuine.”
As Styles’ frequent sex-scene partner, Dawson described filming those intimate scenes as “kind of like a dance”
“We really wanted these scenes to be about storytelling,” Dawson told MovieMaker. “Harry and I made sure we always checked in with each other to ensure that we all felt comfortable with every part of this story.”
“’50s England is an era that I didn’t know that much about, in terms of the laws and society that were in place, and especially as a gay man myself,” he added. “That really got into my heart, so it made me really determined to want to be a part of this story.”
My Policeman begins streaming on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, Nov. 4.
Main Image: Harry Styles and Emma Corrin star in My Policeman. Photo: Courtesy of Prime Video © Amazon Content Services LLC.