Dunkirk: Sir Mark Rylance pays tribute to 'witty' co-star Harry Styles

Tom Butler
UK Movies Editor

Oscar-winning actor Sir Mark Rylance has praised his ‘Dunkirk’ co-star Harry Styles for his professionalism calling him “a normal actor, who seemed like he’d being doing it for ages.”

Former One Direction singer Styles makes his acting debut in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ which arrives in cinemas this Friday, 21 July. Rylance – who won an Oscar in 2016 for ‘Bridge of Spies’ – admits while he hasn’t seen Styles’ full performance yet, he found the singer-turned-actor to be a charming presence on set.

“[Harry’s] a very witty guy, he makes me laugh,” Rylance, civilian mariner Mr Dawson in ‘Dunkirk’, told Yahoo Movies.

“He’s got a wonderful surprising wit to him. He’s not self-conscious or uppity about himself at all. I thought he was a really great lad.”

Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, and Fionn Whitehead play a trio of stranded soldiers in ‘Dunkirk’ (WB)

Barry Keoghan, a crewmember on Dawson’s boat that sails to Dunkirk, says Styles wasn’t afraid to get stuck in on the film’s gruelling shoot.

“I remember seeing him helping the lads up off the harbour,” Keoghan shared.  “He put his feet into the mud like we all did.”

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‘Dunkirk’ offers a new look at the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from the beaches of Northern France in WWII. ‘Interstellar’ director Christopher Nolan strives for realism putting you firmly in the thick of the action, and his reliance on real practical effects over CGI was a huge boon for the actors on set.

Christopher Nolan sourced real WW2 boats, planes, and vehicles for ‘Dunkirk’ (WB)

“If there’s planes needed to come overhead, he got planes,” explains Jack Lowden, who plays RAF pilot Collins.

“If there were boats [on screen] he got boats. If the water needed to go on fire, the water went on fire. It really helps you as an actor. The less you’ve got to imagine, that’s half the work.”

‘Dunkirk’ arrives in cinemas on Friday, 21 July.

Interviews by Stefan Pape.

Hear Christopher Nolan discussing Harry Styles’ ‘Dunkirk’ audition below…