Harry’s Forbidden Love Triangle in New My Policeman Movie
In a small seaside town in the 1990s, retired policeman Tom (Linus Roache) and his former schoolteacher wife Marion (Gina McKee) are side by side in a pretty good marriage. And if it’s not exactly the fiery affair they might have dreamed of, well, they’re old enough to know that life can be full of disappointments.
Old passions are rekindled, however, when a distant friend, museum curator Patrick (Rupert Everett), unexpectedly reappears in their lives, virtually paralyzed by a devastating stroke. Patrick is the man who, 40 years ago, first won Tom’s love – then broke his heart.
Marion is ready to forgive and forget, but Tom’s feelings are much more complicated.
So begins My Policeman, the new film starring pop star-turned-actor Harry Styles and Emma Corrin of The Crown. He soon returns to Brighton in the 1950s, a time when homosexuality was illegal.
A well-meaning but repressed young Tom (Styles) meets a young Marion (Corrin) and quickly falls in love with her, or as much as he can.
A well-meaning but repressed young Tom (Harry Styles, pictured) meets a young Marion (Corrin) and quickly falls in love with her, or as far as he can, in My Policeman
He soon introduces her to his slightly older and excitingly worldly wise friend Patrick, and the three become good friends. At least, until Marion realizes the exact nature of Tom and Patrick’s relationship.
For despite her love for Tom, she finds the idea of homosexuality repugnant – a prejudice that ends up having devastating consequences for all three.
The film is based on Bethan Roberts’ 2012 bestseller of the same name, which in turn is based on the real-life love triangle between writer EM Forster and married cop Robert Buckingham. His wife May shared her husband with Forster, cared for the author after his stroke and gave his friendship with Buckingham a veneer of respectability.
Many gay men in mid-20th century Britain took such measures in order to keep their relationships a secret, and the film shows this through Patrick’s friendship with Marion.
What sets My Policeman apart from other such tales is the thread of affection that ties the three characters together. “There’s a lot of genuine friendship between them all,” Harry said.
“Despite all the complexity and deceptive nature of the triangle, it is still there.
“Tom’s love for Marion is real and Tom’s love for Patrick is real, and Marion and Patrick are actually really good friends, so there’s real love there too. It was important that everyone don’t be so black and white in terms of “Well, you’ve done me wrong and that means I don’t love you anymore.” That’s not really the way the world works, or the way people human beings work.
What sets My Policeman apart from other such tales is the thread of affection that ties the three characters together.
Harry says Tom is very firmly of his time. “He was born into a very small world, and if you were born into that environment, you know where the edge of your world is. Tom is a curious man, and when he meets Patrick, it arouses his curiosity. He realizes that the edge of his world is a little further than Brighton.
In real life, Emma Corrin identifies as queer and non-binary and prefers the use of the gender-neutral pronoun “they”. Nevertheless, Emma feels compassion for the bigoted Marion.
“The decisions Marion makes intrigued me, because I really had to justify myself,” Emma explains. “I understood the complexities of these young people living and working in strange times and trying to figure out who they are.”
One thing that is beyond doubt is that, whatever her actions, Marion undoubtedly loves Tom – and fiercely too.
“She’s so convinced it’s going to work, and so convinced that he feels exactly the same way about her as she feels about him,” Emma says.
“And then when she finds out the truth about him and Patrick, her anger isn’t really about their relationship – which she doesn’t really understand – but about the fact that she was wrong. Anger drives her to do what she does, and that’s what she’ll have to live with for the rest of her life.
For Rupert Everett, the film carries a message of hope. “It’s a fascinating journey to take, to go back from modern homosexuality to 1950s homosexuality and see how far we’ve come,” he says.
“It’s a great opportunity to see how far things have come. It’s basically what makes you leave cinema with hope, because we’re constantly changing. It’s very exciting.”
My Policeman is available on Amazon Prime Video from Friday.
Animal magic: Meet the loyal Rottweilers who run away with ex-CIA agent Jeff Bridges in The Old Man
Jeff Bridges may be the biggest star in action thriller The Old Man, but he’s not the most blessed. The five Rottweiler dogs who play her character’s two pets, Dave and Carol, had inflatable bone-shaped pools on set in Los Angeles and enjoyed daily swims.
“They love the water, and getting them relaxed for the scenes they had to shoot was vital,” says trainer and owner Sarah Clifford.
Keeping them happy was very important as Dave and Carol are an integral part of the action.
‘In the book the series is based on, my character [ex-CIA agent] Dan Chase ran away from the Secret Service with his two big dogs so it had to happen,” says Jeff. “There is a bond between man and his animals.
Jeff Bridges may be the biggest star in action thriller The Old Man, but he’s not the most blessed. The five Rottweiler dogs who play her character’s two pets, Dave and Carol, had inflatable bone-shaped pools on the Los Angeles set
Creed, Cain, Freya and Finnelly were used for the bulk of the scenes and Daisy did the more energetic action sequences. “She had a bite like no other,” laughs Jeff.
The dogs live at Sarah’s ranch in California, which is also home to 11 other dogs as well as horses, a goat and a pig. Thousands of hours have been spent training them.
Sarah strapped a squeaky toy to a stuntman’s arm, added the scent of a treat and encouraged the dogs to attack until it was second nature. Cain learned how to gently apply pressure to a stuntman’s neck for scenes in which Dave and Carol protect Dan from bad guys.
Once on set, the animals had black and tan coloring added to their fur to look the part.
Jeff became very attached to his co-stars on set.
“They all had to overcome obstacles. Finnelly had a difficult journey from Budapest, where he was rescued. Freya was a breeding dog who didn’t socialize with humans, and Creed was days away from being euthanized because they couldn’t find an owner for her. From there to the red carpet premiere of The Old Man, it’s quite the journey!
The Old Man is on Disney+.