What links Harry Styles to Ipswich Town and Humphrey Bogart?

When you dive down the rabbit hole, you can go in only one direction: straight to pop’s foremost charmer, via Shania Twain, John Huston and Olivia Wilde

Wild about Harry

Harry Styles’ third album dropped this weekend, and regardless of what any reviews say, it seems everyone eventually falls for his charms. Panic among his original teenage fans begets admiration from older audiences and widespread love and devotion wherever he goes in the media, among fellow celebrities and musicians (though not Noel Gallagher, of course). It’s Harry’s House, and everyone wants to pay a visit.

Harry Styles
Everyone falls for the charms of Harry Styles … Photograph: Invision/AP

Let’s go, girls!

In a suitably Styles-ian flex at last month’s Coachella festival, he brought out Shania Twain for a duet of Man! I Feel Like a Woman! Bah bah ba da ba dah ba. Closer to her commercial prime, Twain played herself in David O Russell’s 2004 funny/annoying existential comedy I Heart Huckabees.

Shania Twain
… who sang a duet with Shania Twain, who was in I Heart Huckabees by David Russell … Photograph: Getty Images

Huston’s honour

Despite later successes, Russell’s finest film remains 1999’s Three Kings. Before his 1994 feature breakthrough with Spanking the Monkey, he made some shorts including Hairway to the Stars, with character actor William Hickey. In 1985, Hickey appeared in John Huston’s penultimate film, the mob comedy Prizzi’s Honour. Pretty much everyone involved was Oscar-nominated, including Hickey, with Huston’s daughter Anjelica winning best supporting actress. We must go down a further rabbit hole to note that Huston’s 1981 football and war caper, Escape to Victory, featured various players from Ipswich Town in supporting positions alongside more illustrious names. That was at the tail end of Town’s glorious Bobby Robson era. They won their only FA Cup in 1978, soundtracked by the traditional cup final song: Ipswich Ipswich (Get That Goal) was co-written and produced by Robert “Mutt” Lange, the enormously successful music producer who would later work with, and marry, Shania Twain. They divorced in 2010. The pair are said to have split after Lange had an affair with Twain’s close friend and PA. Twain then married that same close friend’s ex-husband.

William Hickey
… who made Hairway to the Stars with William Hickey, who was also in Prizzi’s Honour with Anjelica Huston, daughter of John … Photograph: Alamy

The double MacGuffin

You could put a pin in John Huston’s career at any point and find something interesting, but let’s pause at 1953’s Beat the Devil, with Humphey Bogart. Not anyone’s finest hour, but an enjoyable romp nonetheless, a sort of larky Mediterranean spin on The Maltese Falcon. Truman Capote co-wrote the script based on the book by “James Helvick”.

Truman Capote 1953
… whose Beat the Devil was scripted by Truman Capote, based on the book by ‘James Helvick’ …
Photograph: Getty Images

Wilde about Harry

This was the nom de plume of British journalist Claud Cockburn, whose granddaughter is the American actor and director Olivia Wilde. Her latest directing effort, the thriller Don’t Worry Darling, is due later this year. It stars Florence Pugh and Harry Styles – having met during its making, Wilde and Styles are now dating.

Olivia Wilde
… which was the nom de plume of Claud Cockburn, whose granddaughter, Olivia Wilde, directs Don’t Worry Darling, starring Harry Styles. Photograph: Invision/AP

Pairing notes

Watch “Nobody knows that we are fun,” worries Beanie Feldstein in Olivia Wilde’s 2019 directorial debut, the “funny, filthy” and indeed fun coming-of-age buddy comedy Booksmart.

Drink Part of Styles’ As It Was video was shot at the Barbican in London: hidden among all the brutalism on the far side of the central lake is the Wood Street Bar, a reliable spot for a post-show drink when all else is closing around you.

Black and white cartoon rabbits going down holes in a red line
Illustration: Guardian Design


Larry Ryan

The GuardianTramp

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