One Direction heartthrob Harry Styles seems to have set himself up nicely if he ever decides to quit singing. In his feature film debut in“Dunkirk” Styles acquits himself well and continues a tradition that is as old as movies themselves.

Nothing new

Popular singers turned film actors has a long history. What is credited as the first feature length movie with sound, 1927’s “The Jazz Singer,” starred popular vaudeville singer Al Jolson. Entertainment legend Frank Sinatra used his Oscar winning performance in 1954’s “From Here To Eternity” to revamp his flagging singing career.

Even the King himself, Elvis Presley, made a second career in front of the camera, starring in 31 films over a thirteen year period. Granted almost all of them followed the same formula: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy sings song, boy gets girl back, roll credits.

Harry Styles only has three acting credits currently on his resume. He made an appearance as himself with his One Direction band mates on a 2012 episode of the Nickelodeon comedy iCarly. As the musical guest on this past season’s Jimmy Fallon hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live, and he appeared in two sketches. In a time travel Family Feud sketch he showed a deft comic touch doing an over the top impersonation of a 1970’s Mick Jagger.

During the sketch, he even poked fun at the recent break up of One Direction. When Steve Harvey (Kenan Thompson) says he loves his latest solo stuff, Styles/Jagger responds,”Why would anyone in a successful band go solo? That is insane!”

Styles in 'Dunkirk'

In Dunkirk Styles plays Alex, a British soldier who meets up with Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) on the beach as they wait for rescue.

Styles plays the part very low-key and shows a great deal of range. It helps that he is about the same age as a World War II British soldier would have been at the time He also tackles the action parts head on as he and Whitehead meet numerous frustrations during their escape, including having to escape from two sinking boats.

Styles has not yet made public any future acting plans or when he may cut another solo album. Much to his credit he has been very humble about this role and has shown a great deal of respect to men who fought and gave their lives at Dunkirk more than seventy years ago. Right now he seems content to The twenty-three-year-old Styles has done quite well for himself in his film debut so don’t be surprised to see him in more movies in the near future.