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My Policeman’s David Dawson talks sex scenes with Harry Styles

Dawson shared he and Styles promised to "always look out for each other" during filming intimate scenes.

By Emily Maskell

Words: Emily Maskell; pictures: Amazon Studios

My Policeman star David Dawson has opened up about his experience of filming intimate sex scenes with Harry Styles in a new interview.

Dawson and Styles star together in the upcoming drama as secret 1950s lovers Partick and Tom – the latter of whom is married to Marion (Emma Corrin), at a time in which homosexuality is illegal.

Following the premiere of My Policeman at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Dawson shared that shooting these scenes with Styles was “a very collaborative process”. 

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Describing director Michael Grandage as “wonderful” in how he approached scenes of intimacy with his actors, 40-year-old Dawson told Entertainment Weekly at TIFF: “He created a space that was full of nothing but support.”

Dawson went on to note that it was with the collaboration of an intimacy coordinator that the sex scenes were rehearsed and choreographed. 

He explained: “[Grandage] brought on a wonderful intimacy coordinator, and the four of us explored what we wanted those scenes to be, together.”

“I can’t emphasize the importance of an intimacy coordinator and the impact that brings to a set,” he continued. “You might think people would feel restrained in what they do but you actually gain a freedom because everybody feels very comfortable and respected.” 

The presence of intimacy coordinators has grown in recent years, following the likes of the #MeToo movement’s calls for on-set safety measures to be put in place for the cast as well as the crew.

As well as an intimacy coordinator present for the actors, Dawson noted that he and Styles “promised each other we would always look out for each other during it”. 

On the topic of his co-star, Dawson said that the popstar-turned-actor made a brilliant screen partner with his down-to-earth attitude towards the work.

“He’s a good Northern lad like myself,” Dawson noted. “And we had the luxury of a three-week rehearsal process to build on that friendship and chemistry.”

Styles has also spoken on the film’s treatment of queer intimacy. 

“So much of gay sex in film is two guys going at it, and it kind of removes the tenderness from it,” he told Rolling Stone last month.

He added: “There will be some people who watch it who were very much alive during this time and [director Michael Grandage] wanted to show that it’s tender and loving and sensitive.”

My Policeman is an adaptation of Bethan Roberts’ novel of the same name and Linus Roache, Gina McKee, and Rupert Everett play older versions of Tom, Marion, and Patrick in scenes set in the 1990s.

Following the film’s premiere at TIFF, it currently sits with a 49 percent critics Rotten Tomatoes score from early reviews. 

In Attitude’s review of My Policeman, the film is praised for its approach to sex scenes: “They’re as tender and tasteful as they are strong and daring, with Dawson and Styles throwing themselves in with gusto.”

My Policeman will be in cinemas on 21 October, then on Prime Video 4 November.

Check out the full interview with the cast of My Policeman below:

The Attitude September/October issue is out now.