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10th Apr 2017

Christopher Nolan explains why he cast Harry Styles in ‘Dunkirk’

The 'Inception' director explains his unusual casting decision

Rich Cooper

He’s one of the most famous singers on the planet. He’s one of the biggest directors in Hollywood.

Eyebrows were raised when Christopher Nolan decided to cast the former One Direction singer Harry Styles in his upcoming movie Dunkirk, but the man behind The Dark Knight and Interstellar isn’t known for messing about.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Nolan gave more details about Dunkirk, as well as an explanation of why he chose Styles for the as-yet unnamed role in the film.

Nolan said: “When we put the cast together, we had some established names: Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy.

“But for the guys on the beach, we really wanted young unknowns. [Harry Styles is] not that unknown, but he’d never done anything as an actor before. So he auditioned. I auditioned literally thousands of young men with different combinations of young men.

“And he had it.”

Nolan also explained why he wanted to make a film about the Dunkirk evacuation, his first movie based on real events.

“As somebody who’s made thrillers before, suspense-action thrillers before — I was looking for the most paradoxical situation,” Nolan said.

“A situation you can’t imagine a way out of. It’s the story of being trapped and surrounded by the enemy at the town of Dunkirk and having the impossible choice of annihilation or surrender.

“And the fact that the story does not end in annihilation or surrender is why it’s one of the great stories. Four hundred thousand men with their backs to the English Channel and home only 26 miles away, but no one cared — and that’s the situation of the story.

“This is a suspense movie, first and foremost. It’s not so much a war film as a suspense thriller. Dunkirk is one of the great suspense situations of all time.”

Dunkirk is due to be released in July 2017.