These powerful scenes were not hard to act out, Styles admits.
In his first film role as a young British soldier called Alex, for which Styles has already received major critical kudos, looking fearful underwater was pretty easy.
Being deprived of oxygen even for a short time will do that.
“It very naturally creates this sense of panic. It’s so much that human instinct, that point of being underwater,” says Styles, who spoke to USA TODAY as part of an upcoming feature with Dunkirk‘s young star Fionn Whitehead.
“While you’re down there filming and acting out the scene, you’re also thinking, ‘I cannot breathe for much longer than this’ which obviously helps the situation,” says Styles.
Ironically, being asked if could swim was not part of the extensive audition process Styles went through for the part.
“It was the day before I got to France (to shoot),” says Styles, laughing. “They were asking if I could swim. And it was a lot of swimming. It was more like, ‘If we make you swim forever, will you drown?'”
Styles, who attended Dunkirk’s world premiere this week, would not complain about the film’s challenges, especially in light of the real effort he saw depicted onscreen in Dunkirk. British troops were hopelessly pinned down by overwhelming German forces, yet managed to pull off a bold escape across the English Channel.
“Watching the film, it puts it in context what these guys might have actually gone through,” says Styles. “It was so real. And it makes it very difficult to complain about what we might have gone through for a few hours.”
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