Christopher Nolan goes back in time in his next movie, Dunkirk. Ahead of the upcoming World War II thriller, the renowned filmmaker explains why he cast One Direction’s Harry Styles as his uncanny hero.
From Musician to Historical Figure
Styles is known all around the world, not for his acting abilities, but for his music. As a member of One Direction, the Brit pop star has released five albums and received numerous music awards. However, that does not mean he cannot act. In July, the 23-year-old will make his big acting debut.
With any other director, the inclusion of a world-famous pop star with no acting background aside from a few guest appearances on television will seem like a marketing stunt, a way to entice young fans to go pay for the ticket. But the fact that a seasoned director has chosen him makes one believes that maybe the young star has more to offer other than his teen following.
In an interview with L.A. Times, Nolan revealed that he wanted an “unknown actor” to star alongside Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, and others.
“When we put the cast together, we had some established names: Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy,” he told the publication. “But for the guys on the beach, we really wanted young unknowns.”
The filmmaker recognizes that Styles is far from unpopular with almost 20 million followers on Instagram and another 30 million doting fans on Twitter. But not a lot of people know the young star as an actor. “He’s not that unknown, but he’d never done anything as an actor before,” Nolan said.
Moreover, the filmmaker added that Styles has beaten thousands of other young actors for the part. The One Direction member actually auditioned for the part and got it.
Harry Styles On His Acting Debut
Meanwhile, Styles talked to BBC Radio 2 to talk about his experience working under the guidance of Nolan. The young star stated that filming the WWII movie “was one f the best experiences” of his life. Although he admitted that he had no idea what he ought to be doing for a while, he enjoyed being pushed out of his comfort zone.
Moreover, he has nothing but respect and admiration for the man who has given him his big acting break. Styles stated that Nolan is “amazing” and he assured fans that the upcoming movie is going to be great.
Why Dunkirk is a Suspense-Thriller
The Battle of Dunkirk is an important part in history. It tells the story of the escape of more than 330,000 soldiers from France, Canada, Belgium, and the U.K. from German troops in 1940.
Before this movie, Nolan went to space with Interstellar and the fictional Gotham City in The Dark Knight Rises. So it seems uncharacteristic for the filmmaker to make a movie based on a historical event.
But Nolan wanted a paradoxical situation that is basically impossible to get out from. As the 46-year-old explained, the Battle of Dunkirk is a great story because the heroes are faced with two options: die or surrender. However, neither happened.
“Dunkirk is one of the great suspense situations of all time,” he stated. The story, he shared, is something that he wanted to do for so long. As a filmmaker, it was a challenge because there were a lot of different environments involved. Moreover, while the story will be simple, in true Nolan fashion, expect some plot structure.
Dunkirk also stars Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, James D’Arcy, Aneurin Barnard, Jack Lowden, and Kevin Guthrie. Nolan not only directed but also wrote the script. Meanwhile, Hans Zimmer signed up to score the movie. Dunkirk will be released on July 21. For now, watch the trailer below.