Harry, Who? Christopher Nolan Had No Idea How Famous Harry Styles Was Till He Cast Him In ‘Dunkirk’

Harry Styles, who?

The British singer, who reached the pinnacle of fame early in his life with boy band One Direction, is all geared up for his acting debut in Christopher Nolan’s new World War II suspense-thriller, Dunkirk. But while the teenagers of the world might have cowered at Harry’s feet, not everyone in Hollywood knew how famous the young singing sensation from across the Atlantic was, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Before Nolan cast Styles for the role of a British soldier in Dunkirk, which tells the story of the evacuation of 33,500 Allied soldiers after the German Army had cut them off in Dunkirk, France during the Second World War, the director concedes that he had little idea of how famous the young prodigy was.

“I don’t think I was that aware really of how famous Harry was,” Nolan told THR, before admitting the young ones in his family were crazy about the British pop star.

“I mean, my daughter had talked about him. My kids talked about him, but I wasn’t really that aware of it. So the truth is, I cast Harry because he fit the part wonderfully and truly earned a seat at the table.”



Oscar winner Mark Rylance, cast in the film alongside Harry Styles, and who plays an intrepid fisherman in the film, also said that he did not know about the extent of Styles’ popularity till his 11-year-old niece educated him on the subject.

“She was just more excited than anything I’ve ever done because I was going to be acting with Harry Styles. I went up in her estimation. I won the Harry!”

Harry Styles also spoke about the production in glowing terms. Although Styles said that he has harnessed acting ambitions for long, being on the sets of Dunkirk was an overwhelming experience for him.

“I’d say realizing the scale of the production was very overwhelming. I think whatever you imagine kind of a giant film set to be like, this was very ambitious even by those standards. You know the boats and the planes and the volume of bodies… it was pretty amazing.”

He said his fellow band members were looking forward to the film with a lot of anticipation as well.

Unsurprisingly, Harry Styles has garnered the most attention in the build-up to Dunkirk. It is something fellow cast-member, Fionn Whitehead, who also makes his debut in the film, is not pleased with. Whitehead said that the over scrutiny of Harry’s role in the film is unfair not only to the film in general, but also the singer, according to the Express.

“He’s great, he’s a good actor and a lovely guy. I think the hysteria – [perhaps] it should have been expected when you take a figure like that and give him a short back and sides and put him in a uniform.

“I think it’s got a bit silly really. The meaning has got lost somewhere along the way and people have stopped realizing there’s an amazing cast – including Harry – but there’s, you know, the creme de la creme of actors.”

Apart from Harry Styles, Mark Rylance and Fionn Whitehead, Dunkirk also stars Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy and Kenneth Branagh. It opens on July 20.

[Featured Image by Mike Coppola/Getty Images]