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Harry Styles on Playing a Closeted Gay Man Born in a ‘Small Bubble’ in ‘My Policeman': ‘He’s Very Curious’

”If you’re born into that kind of environment, you feel like you know where the edge of the world is,“ the actor said

Harry Styles shared that he got into the character of a closeted gay man, Tom, in “My Policeman” by first coming to understand him, saying that Tom has lived in a very small bubble and is now “very curious” about the world that surrounds him.

“I think he’s someone who is born into a very small world and, if you’re born into that kind of environment, you feel like you know where the edge of the world is,” he said at a press conference Sunday at the Toronto International Film Festival. “So I think when he meets someone like [his lover] Patrick, who is well-traveled and likes art, he finds himself kind of being curious about those things.” 

“My Policeman,” which was honored with the TIFF Tribute Award for Performance for the actors’ collective performance, centers on Tom, a gay policeman living in the 1950s. Although Tom is married to Marion, played by Emma Corrin, he develops a relationship with Patrick, played by David Dawson, a museum curator who embraces Tom’s curiosity.

The “Don’t Worry Darling” actor noted that by being born into this “very small world,” Tom might find it hard to imagine a life that deviates from the set norm.

“I think people live entire lives in very small bubbles like that, and if that’s how you’ve been brought up, and everyone around you and generations before you, your parents, etc. have all lived within their kind of small bubble, it’s obviously very difficult to even picture the world outside of that … It’s feeding his curiosity, it’s kind of strange for him to be curious about stuff.”

Although Tom finds a relationship that satiates his curiosity, he also deeply values his relationship with his wife, who Styles believes is “the most accepting of him.”

“And then I think with Marion he also finds, ultimately, a friend who is the most accepting of him. And I think that’s why — kind of regardless of whichever way you think [of] their relationship — I think their friendship is incredibly real and loving and tender.”

When reflecting on how the time period inhibited explorations of sexuality, Styles revealed in an interview with Rolling Stone that he sees “My Policeman,” as a story about “love and about wasted time.”

“It’s obviously pretty unfathomable now to think, ‘Oh, you couldn’t be gay. That was illegal,’ ” he told Rolling Stone. “I think everyone, including myself, has your own journey with figuring out sexuality and getting more comfortable with it.”

“My Policeman” will have its theatrical release Oct. 21 and will stream on Prime Video beginning Nov. 4.

Variety first reported the news.