Harry Styles is doing it all.
The “As It Was” singer is on the new cover of Rolling Stone magazine, and in the issue he opens up about his blockbuster single, his dating life, and becoming a movie star.
Over the summer, the marquee single from his latest album Harry’s House spent 10 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100, which he says has led to a more diverse audience than his teen idol days.
“‘As It Was’ is definitely the highest volume of men that I would get stopping me to say something about it,” he says. “That feels like a weird comment because it’s not like men was the goal. It’s just something I noticed.”
Among the downsides of all that success, though, has been a lot of attention on his private and love lives from fans, which has often included fans mistreating his romantic partners.
“It’s obviously a difficult feeling to feel like being close to me means you’re at the ransom of a corner of Twitter or something. I just wanted to sing. I didn’t want to get into it if I was going to hurt people like that,” Styles says.
The 28-year-old’s current partner is also his “Don’t Worry Darling” director, Olivia Wilde, who praises his performance in the film, highlighting one particularly big scene.
“The camera operator followed him as he paced around the stage like a kind of wild animal. We were all gobsmacked at the monitor,” she says. “I think even Harry was surprised by it. Those are the best moments for an actor—when you’re completely outside your body.”
Styles also has another film, the 1950s-set, intimate British drama “My Policeman”, premiering at TIFF next month, about a same-sex relationship between a policeman and museum curator at a time when homosexuality was outlawed.
“It’s obviously pretty unfathomable now to think, Oh, you couldn’t be gay. That was illegal,” Styles says. “I think everyone, including myself, has your own journey with figuring out sexuality and getting more comfortable with it. It’s not like, ‘This is a gay story about these guys being gay.’ It’s about love and about wasted time to me.”
He also talks about how he wanted the sex scenes in the film to be different from what audiences have typically encountered in queer films.
“So much of gay sex in film is two guys going at it, and it kind of removes the tenderness from it,” he says. “There will be, I would imagine, some people who watch it who were very much alive during this time when it was illegal to be gay, and [director Michael Grandage] wanted to show that it’s tender and loving and sensitive.”
As for his future as a movie star, Styles definitely plans to keep acting, but maybe not so often.
“In music, there’s such an immediate response to what you do. You finish a song and people clap,” he says. “When you’re filming and they say ‘Cut,’ there’s maybe part of you that expects everyone to start clapping, [but] they don’t. Everyone, obviously, goes back to doing their jobs, and you’re like, ‘Oh, s**t, was it that bad?’”
Styles continues, “I think there’ll be a time again when I’ll crave it. But when you’re making music, something’s happening. It feels really creative, and it feeds stuff. A large part of acting is the doing-nothing, waiting thing. Which if that’s the worst part, then it’s a pretty good job. But I don’t find that section of it to be that fulfilling. I like doing it in the moment, but I don’t think I’ll do it a lot.”