Harry Styles’ Body- and Soul-Baring Performance in ‘My Policeman’ Seduces Toronto, Draws Standing Ovation – Variety

Harry Styles has finally debuted his dramatic chops, charming the Toronto International Film Festival at the world premiere of “My Policeman.”

An emotional, decade-spanning drama about a 1950s cop juggling an idealistic wife and a secret male lover, Styles turned up with his costars Emma Corrin and David Dobson to unveil the long-awaited project.

The company of actors and their director, Michael Grandage, received a standing ovation at Toronto’s Princess of Wales theater following the Sunday night premiere. Applause was cut short thanks to Styles’ schedule — the singer had to catch a plane immediately after the screening to resume his world tour.

At a brief Q&A, Styles discussed how he and his costars built an authentic bond as on-screen friends, and navigated some soul- and body-baring love scenes with both. “Having a base of a real friendship outside of the characters … it doesn’t require much acting. In the more intense scenes, there’s a lot of trust and safety there,” he said.

The premiere audience was clearly stacked with Styles fans, pleased by his departure from pop star in sequined jumpsuits and a six pack to a middle class cop in corduroys and slacks.

The script makes several references to how average Styles’ character is meant to look, all moments met with laughter by the crowd.

Before the lights went down at top, director Grandage expressed gratitude for the progress made in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights — but said there is “still room for further debate,” alluding to current threats to gay marriage and anti-trans legislation.

Along with the main trio, the cast includes Gina Mckee, Linus Roache and Rupert Everett. It is directed by Michael Grandage, who is best known for his work helming stage productions. Producers are Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Robbie Rogers, Cora Palfrey and Philip Herd.

Adapted for the screen by Ron Nyswaner from Bethan Roberts’ novel of the same name, “My Policeman” follows three young people – a gay policeman Tom (Styles), a teacher named Marion (Corrin), who he marries, and a museum curator named Patrick (Dawson), with whom he is having an affair. The story unfolds in 1950s Britain. Flashing forward to the 1990s, Tom (Roache), Marion (McKee), and Patrick (Everett) are still reeling with longing and regret, but now they have one last chance to repair the damage of the past.

“My Policeman” is one of two movies starring Styles to debut on the fall film festival circuit. The actor’s role opposite Florence Pugh in Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling” world premiered at the Venice Film Festival.

“My Policeman” opens in theaters on Oct. 21 and debuts on Prime Video on Nov. 4.