DUNKIRK – Interview Harry Styles

Harry Styles with Aneurin Barnard and Fionn Whitehead. (Photo by Warner Bros.)

From filmmaker Christopher Nolan, responsible for success such as Inception and The Dark Knight Trilogy, comes the epic action thriller DUNKIRK, in theaters July 21, 2017. From his own original screenplay, utilizing a mixture of IMAX® and 70mm film to bring the story to the screen. DUNKIRK opens as hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are surrounded by enemy forces. Trapped on the beach with their backs to the sea they face an impossible situation as the enemy closes in.

The film’s ensemble cast includes Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy and Barry Keoghan, with Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy. Produced by Nolan and Emma Thomas, with Jake Myers serving as executive producer. DUNKIRK was filmed on location in France, Holland, the UK and Los Angeles. Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Syncopy Production a film by Christopher Nolan, DUNKIRK.

During the press day at a hangar at the Santa Monica airport, location that we (press) could not disclose during the event, provided the perfect place to promote this new World War II drama. Singer and new upcoming actor Harry Styles spoke about his experience alongside with other cast members, director Christopher Nolan e producer Emma Thomas.

Here are some excerpts of Harry Styles shared with us:

You have a supporting role in this film. Why did you decide to do it instead of holding out for a starring role in some other film?

Harry – When I first spoke with Chris (Noland) about this film, I thought it was something that I would enjoy watching. It’s something I would have been excited to see even if I had absolutely no involvement. But when I spoke with him, I wanted to do whatever I could to be involved with it. I can’t say I thought about it too much other than to see that everyone on Chris’ set was so passionate about it. It’s so infectious. He creates this environment where the cast and crew has one thought: doing their best for him and doing their best for the film, and making it as good as it could possibly be. I don’t think there’s any room to think about too personal like this. Everyone has the same goal, which is to do their part for the film.

What was your awareness of the Dunkirk operation? What research did you do?

Harry – It’s something you learn in school. As Chris has said, it’s told in this very washed-over way. They talk about the end of the war and some of the events after it. But it’s often how pivotal Dunkirk was and the events that came after it. We all feel lucky to be part of something that tells such an important story in a lot more detail than it’s usually told.

How did you prepare for your role? What did you learn from your fellow cast members?

Harry – Being on a set like this, it’s hard not to be always learning, especially when you’re around people you’re a fan of. You just try to soak that up as much as possible. Chris has this way where he’s not really controlling you but he gives you confidence to be as natural as you possibly can. You don’t feel like you’re trying to hit too many notes. At the same time, he never has you overthinking stuff. I just felt very lucky to be on the set of a man, whose work I am a fan of, and working with a group of actors who I’m a fan of their work too. I’m just grateful that I was able to be involved with this.dunkirk_ver2_xlg

What was the most difficult scene physically? Was it difficult being in the hull of that ship shooting for days on end?

Harry – It was terrible. The thing was everyone on set was relatively aware that however tough it got for us, it was nothing compared to what actually happened. The focus we all had was to do our jobs and try to do our part in telling the story. There wasn’t really any room for personal discomfort or complaining. It’s also impossible to complain on a set where the director is going through the exact same thing as you. He’s not in a tent. He’s in the water with you. He’s in the sand with you. He’s cold. He’s the first one on set and the last one to leave. If anyone thought about complaining, they thought, “Yeah, I might not want to do that.”

Given the fact there isn’t a lot of dialogue, what does a note on a Christopher Nolan script look like?

Harry – The thing with Chris’ script is the same as it is across a lot of his other movies. They lend themselves to multiple viewings; you learn more things each time you watch it. I felt the same way when I was reading the script. You learn new things and find new things that and insight within it. Once you get your head around it – the technical stuff – you kind of enjoy it more and more. The more times you read it, it’s amazing.

What was the best one you got?

Harry – Chris kind of creates this world around you where you don’t have to act too much; a lot of it is reacting as much as anyone can possibly help you be in a situation. He creates that for you. It’s not overthinking it or thinking about “acting” too much. Chris really puts you at ease in terms of “say what you need to say” and “don’t overthink it.” If you’re acting, you don’t want to overthink anything. He just creates an environment where you’re not intimidated by the scale of everything that’s going on behind you. He makes you feel comfortable in front of the camera and he doesn’t distract you. And he’s nice.

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