DUNKIRK

Dunkirk Star Jack Lowden On Working with Director Christopher Nolan And, Yes, Harry Styles

“If I hadn’t been in this, I would have gone to see it.”


Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee. Grooming by Melissa Dezarate at Art Department.

If you’re looking for a truly immersive summer movie experience, nothing fits the bill quite like seeing Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan’s new historical drama, in an IMAX theater—just ask the film’s star, 27-year-old Scottish actor Jack Lowden. “In Imax, it’s an experience,” says Lowden. “It’s like a ride. It’s insane.”

With great emphasis and enthusiasm in his review, it’s clear that Lowden is speaking not just as an actor doing his dutiful promo, but as a true fan of the movie. “I am such a fan of [Nolan’s] films,” Lowden adds. “If I hadn’t been in this, I would have gone to see it.”

Starring in the war epic is a breakout moment for the on-the-rise actor, as well as far cry from his initial intended career: professional ballet dancer.

Growing up in Scotland, Lowden’s older brother Callum went on to study at the English National Ballet School; naturally, as little brothers are wont to do, Lowden wanted to follow in his brother’s footsteps. “I came along and wasn’t very good and was gradually pushed along towards the narrating parts,” Lowden recalls. “I ended up talking when I should have been dancing.”

It was then that Lowden decided to give acting a chance, focusing on theater in his first few years, including a lead role in the touring production of “Black Watch.” Following the tour, Lowden moved to London, found an agent, and proceeded to book jobs in films such as the 2016 BBC mini-series War & Peace, co-starring Lily James, which Lowden calls his “first big, big job,” and the Rachel Weisz-led drama Denial.

But it’s with Dunkirk that Lowden is striking big in the U.S., starring as Collins, a Royal Air Force pilot during the Dunkirk evacuation of World War II. Despite the major caliber of the project, Lowden describes the process of getting the job “regular.”

“We all auditioned,” he says. “All you knew was it was Christopher Nolan and it was about Dunkirk. But no one saw a script. We went in in different groups of people. Even when we got offered the job, we really didn’t know what we were doing.”

Photo by Alex Hodor-Lee. Grooming by Melissa Dezarate at Art Department.

The movie centers around three different perspectives of the evacuation, with Lowden sharing most of his storyline with Tom Hardy, however the two never share the screen together as they navigate different cockpits. “ It was a very strange experience,” Lowden says. “A lot of it was on my own, as well. It was actually fun. It’s like shooting your own little short film.”

Albeit, a short film that happens to be directed by one of the most famous directors in the world. “It was daunting because of how big of a fan I am,” Lowden says of working with Nolan. “He’s a lovely bloke. He shoots very, very quickly. He’s like the ultimate boss, as well. It was a strangely intimate experience shooting with him. He stands so close—he’s not away in a tent shouting stuff; he’s right there. But he’s very delicate and respectful of all of the actors, and he very much gives you your space. He’s not a control freak when it comes to that. He picks the right people for the right parts, and he just lets you do them.”

One of those people, as you may have heard, is Harry Styles, the former One Direction member-turned-solo artist. “Harry’s great. Of course I knew who he was,” says Lowden. “When he walked into the audition, I was like, ‘Whoa, that’s Harry.’ I actually auditioned with him. He is really good [in the film]. He is 23, but he has a lot of confidence. I think that’s what Chris saw, and he honestly really, really wouldn’t have put him in the film [otherwise]. And when you see the film, it’s not like he sticks out like a sore thumb. The whole film is an ensemble film, and he’s very much part of the ensemble. He doesn’t look like a rookie.”

Lowden himself will take on a leading male musician—though one a bit more morose, and not so keen on flashy Gucci ensembles—with is next role, starring as Morrissey in the biopic England Is Mine, opening in the U.K. next month. “It’s a portrait of an incredibly shy man,” says Lowden. “He is fascinating. I didn’t grow up listening to the Smiths, but now I am a fan. I love his music and listened to so much of it for the film. It’s not a regular biopic; they picked a part of his life that people don’t really know about. You learn what informs his lyrics.”

The film will also see Lowden take on the musical aspect, doing all of his own singing. “That was easily the most fun,” he says. “Because it was a portrait of him and not a direct copy, there was so much to play with, so I didn’t feel any pressure. If I’d played him from The Smiths onwards, I would have felt more pressure.”

From there, Lowden will play an aspiring professional wrestler in Stephan Merchant’s upcoming film Fighting With My Family, due out early next year, and starting in just a few short weeks, begins filming Mary Queen of Scots, in which he’ll play Lord Darnley opposite Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie.

“It’s been nuts,” Lowden says of his schedule—not that he’s complaining. “I hate chilling. I hate even the notion of chilling. I like doing stuff. Since I was 21, I have not been able to sleep past 9 a.m.; I just want to get up and do something. It’s an inherent feeling of guilt, like ‘You can’t just sit on your arse.’”

Related: Harry Styles Finally Speaks in Newest Dunkirk Trailers

Harry Styles’ Fashion Style Evolution: See 32 of the Pop Star’s Best Looks

Harry Styles attends the “DUNKIRK” premiere in New York City.

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Harry Styles attends “Dunkirk” Premiere at Ocine on July 16, 2017 in Dunkerque, France.

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Harry Styles attends the ‘Dunkirk’ World Premiere at Odeon Leicester Square on July 13, 2017 in London, England.

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Promoting his new album, Styles wears a red plaid suit out in London.

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Styles stays committed to Gucci in a logo sweatshirt while out in Paris in 2017.

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Styles performs on NBC’s “Today” at Rockefeller Plaza wearing a shocking pink suit.

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Harry Styles performs “Sign of the Times” in a Gucci suit on Saturday Night Live.

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Styles shows off his dramatic haircut, but keeps it classic in his fashion choices with a perfect fitting black suit and crisp white shirt.

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For the BBC Music Awards, Styles wore black and white vertical striped pants and a black shirt. Here he is on the red carpet with his bandmates from One Direction.

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Not ever afraid to take a risk on the red carpet, Styles wears a floral Gucci suit with wide-legged trousers.

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Styles greets his adoring fans in a navy spring coat and gray jeans on his way into BBC Radio 2.

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Fearlessly wearing a Gucci geometric print two-piece suit and black leather boots, Styles attended an event in London.

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Styles wears a bold Saint Laurent bomber jacket to perform One Direction’s latest single as part of Good Morning America’s summer concert series.

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Attending the Capital FM Summertime Ball with One Direction, Styles wears a chevron-printed shirt with a skinny scarf.

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Styles attends the Glam Rock Christmas Party in London in a revealing black shirt and long, striped trousers.

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Taking a major fashion risk on the red carpet, Styles wears a Lanvin striped suit and black boots.

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Performing with One Direction at the 2014 American Music Awards, Styles wears a gold embellished jacket and low-rise jeans.

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Styles, along with the other boys of One Direction, attend the Royal Variety Performance with the Royal family. Styles wears an animal print jacket over a black low-cut shirt.

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Styles goes full rock-and-roll at LAX in all black jeans and t-shirt, accessorized with a blue scarf, wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.

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At the launch for One Direction’s fragrance, Styles wears a oversized plaid shirt, unbuttoned in his usual manner, tight jeans, and a large hat.

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Seen out with friends (Hi, Ed Sheeran), Styles wears a Calvin Klein sweatshirt and a head scarf wrapped around his famous locks.

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For the 2013 British Fashion Awards, the London megastar shows up in a sheer black shirt, blazer, and a scarf.

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Styles wears a dark wool coat over an animal print shirt and black jeans at the Burberry Spring/Summer 2014 show.

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For the World Premiere of One Direction This is Us, Styles wears a heart print Burberry shirt under a black suit.

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Styles, showing off his tattoos in an unbuttoned shirt, and Miley Cyrus pose together backstage at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards.

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Seen in Miami Beach to film a One Direction music video, Styles steps out in unbuttoned plaid shirt and a tan hat.

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Styles gets buttoned up in a double-breasted suit and patterned shirt at a dinner in London.

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Harry Styles’ fashion for a 2012 taping of the Late Show With David Letterman with his band One Direction featured a monochromatic ensemble completed by leather moto boots.

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True to the trends, Styles wears a blazer with pushed up sleeves over a gray shirt at BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards.

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Styles goes casual with black jeans, a gray t-shirt and Converse while hanging out with Nick Grimshaw at the Shoreditch House in London.

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