Has Greg Berlanti struck gold or failed to read the room?
According to Deadline, Hollywood mega-producer Greg Berlanti (Love, Simon, the Arrowverse, You, Riverdale, and Dawson’s Creek) will be producing a new film for Amazon Studios. The new project will be a film adaption of the novel My Policeman. The book is a bisexual love triangle that takes place in 1950s England.
As the novel’s synopsis goes:
“It is in 1950s’ Brighton that Marion first catches sight of Tom. He teaches her to swim in the shadow of the pier and Marion is smitten—determined her love will be enough for them both. A few years later in Brighton Museum Patrick meets Tom. Patrick is besotted with Tom and opens his eyes to a glamorous, sophisticated new world. Tom is their policeman, and in this age it is safer for him to marry Marion. The two lovers must share him, until one of them breaks and three lives are destroyed.”
Greg Berlanti is not the only big name connected to the film, according to Collider. Harry Styles (Dunkirk) and Lily (Cinderella, Baby Driver) James are in negotiations to star in My Policeman. Styles would play the closeted policeman Tom, while James would play his wife Marion. In addition, Tony and Olivier Award winner Michael Grandage will direct the film while Oscar-nominee Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia) will write the adapted screenplay. Berlanti will also be joined by Sara Schechter, Robbie Rogers, Cora Palfrey, and Philip Herd as the producers.
As exciting as this news may come to some, there is also room for concern. Specifically, some may argue about Harry Styles’ right to play a queer role. After all, seeing straight or closeted actors play LGBTQ roles has been a hot button issue in the past few years. For instance, Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding recently had to defend his decision to play a gay role in the upcoming Monsoon. That said, Harry Styles does have a better defense.
For years, Harry Styles has openly expressed interest in men and women through his singing. In addition, his Lights Up video was praised for having “bisexual energy.” The singer, however, has chosen not to label himself or his sexual orientation. Instead, he noted in a 2019 interview that he’s focused on living the best life he can.
“Am I sprinkling in nuggets of sexual ambiguity to try and be more interesting? No,” he shared. “In terms of how I wanna dress, and what the album sleeve’s gonna be, I tend to make decisions in terms of collaborators I want to work with. I want things to look a certain way. Not because it makes me look gay, or it makes me look straight, or it makes me look bisexual, but because I think it looks cool.”
He added, “And more than that, I dunno, I just think sexuality’s something that’s fun. Honestly? I can’t say I’ve given it any more thought than that.”
It would also be remiss of us not to mention the elephant in the room. The signing off of a film focusing on a policeman during the current social and political climate is bold of Berlanti and Amazon Studios (at best). But, perhaps, the story being more focused on a 1950s bisexual love triangle and the “Tom” character’s closeted sexuality will save My Policeman from any further ridicule.
Plus with the coronavirus pandemic pushing back production and release dates worldwide, perhaps My Policeman will take a few years to premiere. But even with that wishful thinking, this announcement still comes with its complications. Was this really the best choice for all the parties involved?
We’ll see how the public reacts to the movie as it starts up production and heads towards release.