Heart-throb Harry has the film factor: Dunkirk director says former 1D star is a natural when it comes to acting
The film-maker observed that Styles, who was making his debut in the movie, has ‘the kind of face that makes you believe he could have been alive in that period’.
‘Harry’s character’s very unglamorous,’ he said. ‘It’s not a showboating role. And Harry shied away from being a “star” in it. He’s a humble guy who didn’t want attention.
Christopher Nolan said he cast Harry Styles in his stirring Dunkirk epic because the former One Direction singer has an ‘old-fashioned face’
‘He enjoyed the idea of not carrying it; that he was part of an ensemble. Like the soldiers they played, the actors were all in it together and supported each other very well,’ said Nolan, who was in London, from his home in the U.S., visiting friends.
He said Dunkirk was all about survival: the mass exodus ‘speaks to the whole nature of heroism, and getting home to fight another day’. Nolan’s film captures the essence of the British spirit (though the director prefers to call it ‘the human spirit’).
It has been hailed as one of the year’s best movies, topping several critics’ polls, and is seen as a major contender in the Golden Globe, Bafta and Oscar awards.
Nolan, who also made the Dark Knight trilogy and Inception, stressed that he and his casting directors had been looking for unknowns for the ‘land’ part of the film. ‘Harry sent in a tape, and we liked the tape. And he joined the workshop, and that was that. It was a really old-fashioned process — and Harry’s features, ability and demeanour fitted right in.’
‘Harry’s character’s very unglamorous,’ he said. ‘It’s not a showboating role. And Harry shied away from being a “star” in it. He’s a humble guy who didn’t want attention
Nolan added he’d love to work with the 23-year-old singer again. ‘He’s very talented. I’ve no idea whether he wants to pursue acting, but he’s a natural.’
He said he got lucky with his cast that, in addition to Mr Styles, included other relative newcomers Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Barry Keoghan; the next ranks such as Billy Howle, Jack Lowden and Aneurin Barnard; and veterans Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hardy.
I was lucky enough to get the chance to watch Dunkirk and the Working Title-Joe Wright film Darkest Hour, starring a magnificent Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, on the same day, and found them to be an almost perfect double bill, examining the same events, from very different angles.
- Dunkirk is released on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on Monday (December 18).
With Washington politics in disarray, it’s an opportune time to revive Peter Morgan’s compelling play Frost/Nixon, about how broadcaster David Frost pulled off a coup by persuading disgraced president Richard Nixon, who’d left the White House, to give him a series of televised interviews. Daniel Rigby and Jonathan Hyde will portray the TV giant and Tricky Dicky in Kate Hewitt’s production running at the Crucible, Sheffield, from February 22.
British newscaster Sir David Frost (right) interviews former American President Richard Milhous Nixon (1913 - 1994) for his television program 'Frost On America,' Monarch Bay, California, April 1977?
Daniel Rigby and Jonathan Hyde will portray the TV giant and Tricky Dicky in Kate Hewitt’s production running at the Crucible, Sheffield, from February 22
Glyndebourne love story is born again?
Playwright David Hare is re-shaping his romantic drama about the founding of Glyndebourne for the West End.
Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll, who starred in the Hampstead Theatre production of The Moderate Soprano two years ago, have finally become available, as has the original director Jeremy Herrin.
Hare told me it had been an ‘absolute nightmare to juggle their dates’ but, at last, ‘all the pieces are together, in the right time and the right place’.
Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll, who starred in the Hampstead Theatre production of The Moderate Soprano two years ago, have finally become available
Allam has, primarily, been occupied with playing top cop Fred Thursday in the ITV series Endeavour
Allam has, primarily, been occupied with playing top cop Fred Thursday in the ITV series Endeavour. Ms Carroll was busy filming Prime Suspect 1973 and Will, and is currently appearing in Young Marx at London’s splendid new Bridge Theatre.
In The Moderate Soprano, Allam portrayed John Christie, the boffin who founded Glyndebourne; and Carroll his wife the, well, moderate soprano Audrey Mildmay. Theirs was the love story that launched the world famous opera house in the East Sussex countryside.
I remember the play being enormously touching. Hare explained it was written as a one-act play for Hampstead. ‘Now, I’m turning it into a two-act play.’ The aim is to bring out more of the relationship between Christie and Mildmay.
Hare claimed he can’t travel on the London Underground ‘without people coming up to me saying: “I’ve never loved any play of yours as much as I’ve loved that one.” ’?Even folks who’ve never been to Glyndebourne (above)
Hare claimed he can’t travel on the London Underground ‘without people coming up to me saying: “I’ve never loved any play of yours as much as I’ve loved that one.” ’
Even folks who’ve never been to Glyndebourne.
The playwright said he also wants to make clearer the theme of the English and German characters. ‘This supposedly English institution was actually created with the help of people who escaped Hitler. It’s actually three-quarters German,’ he noted — adding that he wrote the play long before Brexit.
The Moderate Soprano will run at the Duke of York’s Theatre from April 5 until June 30. Hare’s Tube groupies can purchase priority tickets from 10am today (Friday); they go on general sale Tuesday morning.
The old razzle dazzle heads back to town?
Barry Weissler hummed a familiar tune down the phone line from Manhattan and said: ‘The Razzle Dazzle is back.’
As in: ‘Give ’em the old razzle dazzle … give ’em an act with lots of flash in it.’
That number was one of the hits in the John Kander and Fred Ebb musical Chicago, which is jazz-handing its way back to the West End five years after it left town (against its will, it should be said), after running in three theatres over 15 years.
Mr Weissler, who produced the Chicago revival with his wife Fran — on Broadway and London — said he and his associates had been waiting for a West End house to bring it back. The Phoenix unexpectedly became available when the star of a high-profile new production had a ‘scheduling conflict’, so Weissler has been able to secure the theatre for an initial year’s run, with the first performance on March 26.
The cast is likely to be a combination of star names and solid theatre professionals.
The show’s about two showgirls, Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart, who get their own back on their cheating men by eliminating them. But then they have to face the music, in a murder trial.
Weissler said the story of ‘murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation and adultery could not be more pertinent’.
He added that he and the creative team, including director Walter Bobbie, choreographer (in the style of Bob Fosse) Ann Reinking, and their surrogates, will be involved in casting the main roles.
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