Harry Styles greets fans, joins cast and director at premiere of ‘My Policeman’ in Toronto

Right across from a huge illuminated sign that says “Love Accepted Everywhere”, British pop singer and budding actor Harry Styles joined his co-stars and director Michael Grandage on Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Sunday evening (September 11) for the world premiere of the romantic drama My policemana beautiful (and sad) statement about love, regret and freedom.

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And as the sold-out film played to its first public audience, they all jetted off to the Fairmont Royal York hotel to accept the TIFF Tribute Actor Award, a first for an ensemble and already generating Oscar buzz.

The film premieres in cinemas in October. 21 and worldwide on Prime Video, Nov. 4

IN My policemanStyles – whose first dramatic role was in a 2017 Christopher Nolan-directed WWII epic Dunkirk and his next in now girlfriend Olivia Wilde’s thriller Don’t worry honey (in theaters Sept. 23) — plays the opposite of his colorful, free-to-be-me self in this adaptation of Bethan Roberts’ 2012 book, inspired by the 40-year forbidden relationship between married writer EM Forster and the policeman Bob Buckingham.

Set in 1950s Brighton, England, where gay sex was a crime, Styles plays Tom, a gay policeman in a secret relationship with Patrick, a museum curator (David Dawson), while courting and eventually marrying Marion , a school teacher (Emma Corrin) .

Flash forward 40 years and we see the same three characters – played by Gina Mckee (older Marion), Linus Roache (older Tom) and Rupert Everett (older Patrick) – trying to come to terms with a life lived based on lies and destruction, perhaps too late to repair.

Grandage, before the screening at the Princess of Wales Theatre, briefly brought the cast on stage, where Styles – dressed for the occasion in a forest green blazer adorned with giant ribbon foliage and light green trousers – received a bit more cheers and applause, but not to the deafening degree or length at his concerts.

The fans in attendance knew there is a time and place that was outside the theater. Some fans lucky enough to get tickets didn’t even know what the movie was about and admitted they wouldn’t see it if Styles wasn’t in it.

At the brief post-screening Q&A, Styles said he “felt very lucky” to work with Dawson and Corrin because “they’re both wonderful people to be around,” and explained how that helped the scenes they had together . The film contains scenes where the three hang out, as well as very intimate one-on-one sex scenes.

“Having a basis for a real friendship outside of the characters obviously allows for the friendship scenes if you want, it doesn’t require a lot of acting,” Styles said. “And then in the more intense scenes, there’s a lot of trust and a sense of security there. So all of that benefits from a real connection with the people you’re working with, which I felt very fortunate to have during this project.”

Asked about working with the six actors, Grandage called them “the most wonderful group of people I’ve ever worked with,” noting that he went to college with Roache, has worked with Mckee and Dawson “quite a bit” and “talked about ” worked with Everett for “most of my career.” When he mentions Styles and Corrin, huge applause breaks out.

Regarding working with Styles and Dawson, Corrin said: “We were very lucky because we had about two, three weeks of rehearsal, which was very rare in film and I think because of my history in theater and all that there, we had three weeks to break down the scenes and talk about them, love talking about them, which was great, just to figure it out. It meant that when it came to filming, we all felt very safe and comfortable.”

Dawson added, “Early on, we promised each other that we would look after each one through the process, and that’s what made this a special team to be a part of.”

Roache, who played the older version of Styles’ character, was able to look at some of that material because the 1950s scenes were shot first.

“Michael also freed us because … you’re not the same person you are 40 years later. So in a way you didn’t have to be the exact mirror of your counterpart. Harry to me was the young man with all his future ahead of him and all that possibility and color and potential. And then I’m the man frozen in time, living with that heartache and heartache,” says Roache.

“And so I was just considering that dimension, but again, Michael is the one who brought us into the same world, even though there were two very separate periods and worlds; it was one universe that we were in.”

After no more than 10 minutes, TIFF chief programmer for special presentations Jane Schoettle ended the Q&A because “some of you have flights to catch.”

Taking that to mean him, Styles made a sheepish face and pretended to crash off the stage, which was met with laughter and applause. But it turns out he spent a lot of time saying hello and signing autographs to the hundreds of fans behind the barricade, many of whom had been waiting since morning to see him.

Styles is currently on the North American leg of his world tour promoting his third studio album, Harry’s house. He resumes his 15-date residency at New York’s Madison Square Garden this September. 14, and then have six dates in Austin, six in Chicago and a 15-date stint in Los Angeles before continuing through December.

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