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Visualising the careers of musicians-turned-actors

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THE news of Harry Styles’s casting in “Dunkirk” (2017) was met with bemusement. It was hard to imagine the boyband heartthrob, with his Mick Jagger-esque locks and floral suits, under siege on the beaches of northern France (rather than under siege from hordes of teenage girls). Did a short comic turn as “Marcel the Marketing Guy” in a One Direction music video—seemingly the extent of his acting experience—qualify him to star in Christopher Nolan’s epic? Many assumed the decision was a ploy to bump box-office ratings; a tense, experimental second-world-war flick wouldn’t typically appeal to a younger demographic. Such was the extent of the backlash that Mr Nolan came to the pop star’s defence. “When I cast Heath Ledger as the Joker it raised a lot of eyebrows and caused a lot of comment,” he said of the villain in “The Dark Knight”, a role which earned Ledger a posthumous Academy award. “I have to trust my instincts, and Harry was perfect for this part. He pulled it off with incredible grace and reality.”

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