My Policeman author wants Harry Styles film to remind people LGBTQ+ rights are ‘precarious’
My Policeman author Bethan Robert’s wants audiences to “enjoy the love story” while remembering LGBTQ+ progress is “precarious”.
Harry Styles, Emma Corrin and Rupert Everrett star in the film adaptation of My Policeman, which follows a story of forbidden queer romance, yearning and heartbreak as it travels across two timelines.
In the ’50s, Tom (Styles) marries Marion (Corrin) despite being gay and in love with Patrick (David Dawson), setting in motion a tangled and messy affair.
In the ’90s, we meet an older Patrick (Everret) after he has had a life-altering stroke causing him to move in with Tom (Linus Roache) and Marion (Gina McKee).
Robert told PinkNews at the film’s European premiere she hopes “people will remember how difficult it was for LGBTQ+ people from Britain in the ’50s and see that while things have moved on, they are precarious”.
“But more than that, I hope they really enjoy the love story,” she added.
The cast and crew took the the red carpet at the BFI London Film Festival on Sunday (15 October) for the premiere.
Roache, who plays the older version of Harry Styles’ character Tom, reflected on the experience of working with Rupert Everrett.
“I’ve always been a big fan of Rupert’s,” he said.
“When Rupert talks about the ‘70s and ‘80s in the gay world, he’s shared a lot of things that have opened my eyes,” Roache continues.
“The movie is a testament to the fact that we are making progress but we still have a way to go. A younger audience probably doesn’t realise how bad it was that you couldn’t love who you wanted to love at all.”
Roache said that while he and Harry Styles “chatted” about playing the same character, fundamentally they are different roles.
“Harry [Styles] and I chatted but Michael made the point that you are not the same person 40 years later. In a way we were free to be true to who we are.
“Harry’s Tom is very full of colour and possibility and then what happens in the ’50s freezes Tom in time until we reach me.”
Gina McKee, who plays the older version of Emma Corrin’s Marion, explained how her character has to process her husband, Tom, having an affair with their mutual friend Patrick, a tension that transcends the 40 years.
“There are three characters in a domestic situation but it is loaded with so much unresolved history. That dynamic when you are expressing the ordinary but the unspoken communication is absolutely raging, those elements really interested me,” she said.
Director Michael Grandage cast two sets of actors to play the characters across the decades. He said he casted the young actors first, and found it “easier than you think” to cast the older trio because he wasn’t in search of lookalikes.
Grandage is particularly keen for young people to watch the film “see what it is like when you live in a society where you are not allowed to be yourself or free. And become advocates for why we need to keep moving forward, not back.”
McKee agreed with this message, adding: “It made me realise, yes we have made progress but in terms of legislation it is painfully slow.
“I’m aware that we can’t relax and we need to be vigilant and if you care, don’t get comfortable.”
For Tom and Patrick’s first kiss, Grandage said he took inspiration from the 1963 film The Servant starring Dirk Bogarde and James Fox.
“There’s a scene with a giant convex mirror which sits over all the action and it was such an extraordinary experience when I first saw that, I put a little convex mirror for when the two men first kiss.”
My Policeman will air in cinemas on 21 October and be available on Amazon Prime from 4 November
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