Throughout its production, gay historical drama My Policeman has largely been in the headlines for its casting of Harry Styles. But the cast and director recently sat down with GLAAD to discuss how their film fits into queer representation and recent right-wing efforts to attack LGBTQ+ rights.
Based on the novel of the same name by Bethan Roberts, My Policeman follows the story of policeman Tom Burgess (Styles) and his wife Marion Taylor (Emma Corrin). Their marriage is put to the test when the couple befriends a museum curator, Patrick Hazelwood (David Dawson), who subsequently embarks on a clandestine affair with Tom.
The film takes place in 1950s Britain, when so-called “gross indecency” laws still held authority to put Tom and Patrick in jail. Even as laws criminalizing homosexuality have since been repealed, Corrin hopes that the film resonates with the audiences today, facing renewed threats of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. “I hope that it inspires conversations about how recent that was and also how fragile our world is now that we live in,” they told GLAAD.
“A lot of the stuff that’s going down now in the United States — all that shit with queer literature and the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bills, the gay ban — these are very real things that people are living through and that’s not to mention there are places in the world where people still cannot live authentically so I hope that it inspires those conversations.”
When asked about the importance of representation, Dawson said, “If I was a young lad, watching It’s a Sin, Heartstopper, Pose, My Policeman — it would have had a great impact on me as a young person.”
Corrin added, “I think that it’s nice that we now have films like this. It’s such a gift for people to be able to turn on Netflix and be confronted with people that they recognize themselves in and who they can learn from and see their experiences reflected at them which is so powerful.”
GLAAD also spoke to the film’s director, Michael Grandage, who shared his own experience of living through the same time period. “I am proud to be a part of a community that has made incredible advancements in the 40 years, but I do feel like it’s quite fragile at the moment,” he said. “If I’m being honest, [with] the Roe vs. Wade verdict in America, we know that that’s led to some justices saying let’s now turn to gay marriage. We know that gay marriage is on the agenda here in the UK in some quarters. I just feel it’s vulnerable again and that’s a very personal journey for me in that respect.”
All the same, he expressed hope in the younger generation. He said, “For me, the young are the least prejudiced generation ever born at this point and I want them to see what it was like living in a time where you couldn’t be who you were… you went to jail for being yourself, and I want them to become ambassadors for never going back there and keeping moving forward.”