My Policeman's Linus Roache on how Harry Styles influenced his performance
Golden Globe and BAFTA nominee Linus Roache speaks to RadioTimes.com about playing an older version of Styles' character in the new film.
In My Policeman, Linus Roache portrays an older version of the character played by Harry Styles – and the actor has explained how his performance was influenced by the former One Direction star.
Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, Roache revealed that both he and Styles made sure their performances were unique rather than simply imitations of each other since they’re "not really the same people" after 40 years of heartache and repression.
"I don't think either of us wanted to inhibit the other," he said. "He [Styles] carries the weight of the movie, the younger characters are predominantly the story. So it really was a case of just letting them do what they're going to do.
"What I loved about Harry's performance is he brings a lot of intelligence but just interest and the sense of wonder and almost innocence and so although I'm playing the repressed version of that, I kind of held that as my truth."
Roache added that he was "genuinely a big admirer" of his co-star and praised him for branching out into acting.
"I think he's a super-talented individual, not just as a musician," he said. "He's become quite a figure for us all as an expression of being yourself. He seems to have done what very few people can do in life, which is actually be himself.
“So I admire him a lot. And I love the fact that he's branching out into acting and I think he does a wonderful job in this."
Over his career, Roache has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry – from Angelia Jolie and Vin Deisel to Christian Bale and Albert Finney. But he said that he hasn’t seen anything like the hysteria and intrigue surrounding Styles.
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“There was a massive roar from the crowd”, he said of the moment Harry Styles stepped onto the red carpet for the movie’s World premiere at Toronto International Film Festival. "Everybody was deafened by it and some people said it was like Beatlemania all over again. Even Brad Pitt didn’t get that response!"
Based on the 2012 Bethan Roberts novel of the same name, My Policeman opens in '90s Brighton, when Patrick Hazlewood (Rupert Everett) is brought to a seaside home to be looked after by Marion (Gina McKee) and her husband Tom (Roache) – with whom he had an affair 40 years earlier.
The film shifts from the '50s to the '90s to explore this love triangle and the effects that repressed love can have on an individual, and Roache said he was instantly drawn to the character when he received the script from director Michael Grandage.
"It was a really beautiful, complex story of love, loss and regret and I love stories that span big periods of time where you feel like a life has been lived," he said. "So the opportunity to tell the story of the 1950s and the love triangle and then see the aftermath in the 1990s gives the film a lot of depth and a lot of humanity we can really relate to."
To prepare for the role, and get into the mindset of his character, Roache wrote little backstories for Tom's life in the '90s, which involved fictionalising Tom’s daily routine, including what pub he went to and how many friends he had.
He also found that conversations with co-star Rupert Everett helped with context for what the characters were going through.
"Rupert is fascinating”, he said. "When he speaks up it's very powerful because you're in the presence of someone who's lived that reality and been quite fearless with his sexuality.
"We did talk a little bit. Some of it was quite eye-opening, to be honest. I was not involved in the gay scene in that era. He opened my eyes to a lot of things. It's wonderful to have him on board to bring that perspective.”
He added: “The movie works definitely to remind us the culture has evolved and changed and to look how privileged and how much better we are now, and yet, there's still always further to go and this isn't true of everywhere in the world either. So I think at that level, it works as a sort of cultural reference.
“But I think it also works as a story that reminds you not to hold back from loving who you need to love and who you want to love and to be free with that choice."
Read more: My Policeman review – A poignant story with some weak performances
My Policeman is released on 4th November 2022 on Prime Video. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide or visit our dedicated Movies hub for the latest news.
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