Christopher Nolan Had No Idea Harry Styles Was Mega-Famous When He Cast Him For Dunkirk

harry styles with short hair in dunkirk

One Direction may be taking a lengthy break right now, but it was only a few short years ago that the pop group was one of the biggest musical acts in the world. While it would be hard to completely avoid songs like "What Makes You Beautiful," Christopher Nolan recently admitted he really didn't know who One Direction's Harry Styles was before he cast him in Dunkirk. He said of the upcoming actor:

I don't think I was that aware really of how famous Harry was. I mean, my daughter had talked about him. My kids talked about him, but I wasn't really that aware of it. So the truth is, I cast Harry because he fit the part wonderfully and truly earned a seat at the table.

While a lot of singers get into acting because of their famous names, apparently that's not how Harry Styles landed the gig in Dunkirk. Previously, the actor had popped up on an episode of Saturday Night Live and on one iCarly episode from about five years ago. Dunkirk will be his really big break in acting, and especially on the big screen. But Nolan told Billboard the young singer was cast for his performance and not simply because he was a known name. In fact, Christopher Nolan seems barely aware of who One Direction is/was.

Still, being a famous singer has some pros. Apparently, working with Harry Styles gave actor Mark Rylance some street cred. His 11-year-old niece apparently was more impressed with Rylance's work with Styles than the awards that Rylance has won.

She was just more excited than anything I've ever done because I was going to be acting with Harry Styles. I went up in her estimation. I won the Harry!

Harry Styles is currently still making music while trying to make another break on the big screen. A couple of months ago, we learned the actor and musician was a contender for a role in a Star Wars film. For Dunkirk, he had to chop off his long locks for the role, which isn't as much of a sacrifice as gaining or losing weight. Still, Styles said he "felt very naked" after losing his hair. Perhaps you won't even recognize the former One Direction lad with a different look.

You won't have too long to wait to find out. Dunkirk hits theaters on July 21, 2017. In the meantime, if you'd like to check out the singer's solo career, his self-titled debut endeavor just came out this past May. In addition, if you want to take a look at what other movies are coming this summer, check out our schedule.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.