Christopher Nolan has opened up on the controversial casting of Harry Styles in his upcoming war epic Dunkirk, comparing his choice to cast the pop singer to Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight.
The casting of Styles raised many eyebrows when it was announced he had joined the cast. Styles landed the small part of a soldier named Alex fighting to survive in the film that tells the story of when allied forces were surrounded by the German army during World War II.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, Nolan defended his choice to cast Styles as he assured the pop singer’s fame had nothing to do with him booking the gig:
“As a director, I have to trust my instincts, my ability to figure out who’s the right guy for the part. I’m not too worried about baggage. I was new to Harry. I mean, I’ve heard his name from my kids, but I wasn’t really familiar with him… What I was seeing [when he auditioned] was a very charismatic guy who clearly had a truthfulness and a subtlety in his ability to perform as a film actor.”
Nolan went on to compare his unconventional casting choice to Heath Ledger as The Joker in the second installment of The Dark Knight trilogy:
“When I cast Heath Ledger as the Joker [in The Dark Knight], it raised a lot of eyebrows and caused a lot of comment. I have to trust my instincts, and Harry was perfect for this part.”
Dunkirk features a triptych narrative as it tells a story of survival divided into three separate points of view, following those in the air, in the sea, and on the beach. In the same interview, Nolan praised Styles contribution as he explained that he hopes people don’t miss the realism he brings to his character because of his career as a pop singer:
“What I’m hoping for, when people see the film, is I’m hopeful that they won’t miss what he’s done, because it’s very subtle, very truthful and real. I wasn’t giving him a sort of flashy thing to do. But it’s really important what he does in terms of what it says, I think, about human nature and what people do in different situations, and I think he pulled it off with incredible grace and reality. And that as a director, that’s what you’re looking for.”
The film stars Fionn Whitehead, Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Jack Lowden, Barry Keoghan, Tom Glynn-Carney, and Harry Styles. Here’s the official synopsis:
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.
Dunkirk his theaters July 21, 2017, and will be presented in digital projection, 35MM, 70MM, IMAX digital and IMAX 70MM.