No, Emma Corrin was not going to talk about their “My Policeman” co-star Harry Styles. Perhaps I should have been more forceful in my questioning, but…no. Considering the swirl of gossip around the pop star that shouldn’t be surprising. But, when asked about working with Styles and their other co-star, David Dawson, well, the response instead segued to compliment the film’s director, Michael Grandage.
“It was such a fun set, and it was great because we had three weeks of rehearsal before we started shooting, which is so rare in film,” Corrin says. “It really meant that Michael really created this atmosphere where everyone became such good friends. That really helped, because I think something that was really important was that you were able to buy into the friendship and really believe the friendship between the three of them, which makes the fall out even more devastating.”
Frankly, that’s a pro’s pro answer. It gives you something without giving you anything. Honestly, bravo.
Based on the 2012 novel by Bethan Roberts, “My Policeman” centers on a trio of friends in 1950s Brighton, England. Corrin portrays Marion, a young school teacher who is smitten with Tom, a local police officer played by Styles. Their lives become more complex when Tom introduces Marion to Patrick, a local museum curator portrayed by Dawson. Unbeknownst to Marion, Tom and Patrick are having a secret affair, one that could lead to dire consequences due to British laws against gay activity at the time.
“I was really intrigued by the complexity of the different relationships between everyone, and especially the friendship between Tom, Patrick, and Marion,” Corrin says. “I thought it was so rare that love and friendship is really explored in film in that way. Also, I really thought it would hopefully inspire conversations and audiences, thinking about how recent it was, the fifties when homosexuality was illegal and there were so many restrictions on people’s freedoms to live, and how they wanted to live. And how recent that was, and everything that people have fought for to get us the place we are now, but also how those things are so fragile and how much progress we still have to make.”
The film actually begins in the 1990s, where a much older version of Marion, played by BAFTA Award winner Gina McKee. Both actors communicated beforehand to try to sync their performances as much as possible.
“We had a Zoom where we talked about it, which was so brilliant, and shared all of our thoughts about Marion, and it was so interesting to see things we’d felt the same or instincts about her, and about the two when they’re at these different stages of their lives,” Corrin reveals. “But because of Covid, we didn’t actually spend much time with the older counterparts. They filmed second, so they filmed after us. I think Michael shared the dailies and different parts of the film, so they could pick up on physicality or tones of voice that they wanted to use.”
As the film’s storyline unfolds, Marion makes a choice that tragically affects everyone’s lives (one more than the others). Corrin justified Marion’s actions for her performance noting, “I think that it comes from a place of such intense hurt that it’s almost like she’s blinded by that and loses sight of who she is. Because I don’t think it’s part of her character, but at the same time, she’s a product of the society she’s living in, and I think that that made her incredibly ignorant as to the reality of what the repercussions would be of her actions. I think in the later years you see how she lives with that as she’s older.”
Corrin also has another film set for public consumption soon, Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre’s adaptation of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover.” Another period piece, “Chatterley” debuted at the 2022 Telluride Film Festival and found Corrin in some explicit sexual scenes. Not a surprise if you know the source material.
“I was excited to do a role that would take me out of my comfort zone, and I think that it really did. I also really wanted to work with Laure,” Corrin says. “I love her work so much, and I think I was excited to do something really different with an adaptation that has been done before.”
An Emmy nominee for her breakthrough role as Princess Diana in season four of “The Crown,” Corrin recently completed production on the new “world-building” limited series from Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling, “Retreat.” Batmanglij and Marling are best known for their collaborations “Sound of My Voice,” “The East” and “The OA.” Corrin lit up when discussing the experience.
“I think they are some of the brightest, sharpest minds working and writing today,” Corrin says. “I think that they have a huge insight into human nature, also, the workings of society and the complexity of society and the future. I think that it’s incredibly ahead of its time as a series. I just loved the scripts. I couldn’t put them down. And that doesn’t usually happen, even with good stuff. I just couldn’t stop reading. Also, it was modern, which interested me because I hadn’t done anything modern in a while and I love their work on ‘The OA.’ Yeah, it was really, really great.”
“My Policeman” opens in limited release on Friday. It debuts on Prime Video on November 4.