Throughout its production, the gay historical drama my policeman widely made headlines for its Harry Styles cast. 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 police officer Tom Burgess (Styles) and his wife Marion Taylor (Emma Corrin). Their marriage is tested when the pair befriend a museum curator, Patrick Hazelwood (David Dawson), who then embarks on a clandestine affair with Tom.
The film is set in 1950s Britain, when so-called “gross indecency” laws still held the power to put Tom and Patrick in jail. Even as laws criminalizing homosexuality have since been repealed, Corrin hopes the film will resonate with audiences today, in the face of new threats from anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. “I hope this inspires conversations about how recent this was and also how fragile our world now is that we live in,” they told GLAAD.
“A lot of the things that are going on in the United States right now – all this crap with queer literature and the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bills, gay bans – these are very real things that people are going through and what Not to mention there are places in the world where people still can’t live authentically, so hopefully this inspires those conversations.
Asked about the importance of representation, Dawson said: “If I were a young boy, watching It’s a sin, Heart stroke, Laid, my policeman – that would have had a big impact on me as a youngster.
Corrin added, “I think it’s good that we now have movies like this. It’s such a gift for people to be able to turn on Netflix and be exposed to people they relate to and learn from and have their experiences reflected back to them, which is so powerful.
GLAAD also spoke with the film’s director, Michael Grandage, who shared his own experience living around the same time period. “I’m proud to be part of a community that has made incredible progress over the past 40 years, but I feel like it’s quite fragile right now,” he said. “If I’m being honest, [with] the Roe v. Wade verdict in America, we know that led some judges to say, let’s move on to same-sex marriage. We know that gay marriage is on the agenda here in the UK in some quarters. I just feel like he’s vulnerable again and it’s been a very personal journey for me in that regard.
All the same, he expressed hope in the younger generation. He said: “To me, young people are the least harmful generation ever born at this point and I want them to see what it was like to live in a time when you couldn’t be who you were…you went to prison for being yourself, and I want them to become ambassadors to never go back and keep moving forward.