Ben Hardy credits a “big lie” in helping land him the role of a lifetime.
After wrapping his first movie role on the massive superhero blockbuster, X-Men: The Apocalypse, the British actor, 27, jumped at the opportunity to audition for Roger Taylor, the former drummer in the rock band Queen.
“I worked with [director] Bryan Singer before on X-Men and I sent him an email when I heard about [Bohemian Rhapsody] and in the nicest way possible was like, ‘Can I do this?” Hardy tells PEOPLE.
Hardy explains, “He had reservations based upon the fact that he wanted the person who played Roger Taylor to be able to play the drums because you can cheat the other instruments with camera angles, but in the wide shots you can see if the drum is out of sync. So I told him I could play the drums—which I couldn’t at the time.”
The next two weeks became a blur of drumming for ten hours a day to get the song down and recruiting a local drumming teacher to teach him.
“I wanted the job really bad. Who doesn’t want to play a rock’ n roll star? So I told him a little white lie—slash—big lie, that I could play the drums. So he was like great, can you put this song on film for me to show to the producers. I went away in a massive panic, there wasn’t enough time—I bought the cheapest drum kit I could find and found a drum teacher locally and was like, ‘Look here’s the deal I need to learn to play this song as soon as possible, what can you do?’
“Bryan messaged me and was like ‘Where’s the video?’ I was like, ‘Here is the moment, gonna have to do it, so I put it on film and just prayed,” he recalls.
Luckily, it worked!
The upcoming film chronicles Queen from 1970, when Mercury teamed with Brian May and Taylor, until the band’s performance at Live Aid in 1985, six years before the singer died of complications from AIDS.
Hardy says after finally landing the role, he began slimming down his athletic build to better match Taylor’s very slender figure in the early 70s and joked at times he was definitely “hangry.”
After weeks of filming, Hardy met the famous drummer at Abbey Road Studios and received a private drum lesson.
“I had so many questions to ask him,” says Hardy. “He gave me a mini drum lesson, which was so cool. Who gets to say they got a drum lesson from Rodger Taylor at Abbey Road Studios? Then we had lunch at this little French place down the road.”
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It was recently announced that Hardy would be joining Ryan Reynolds in the Michael Bay-directed Netflix action film, 6 Underground, which is expected to premiere on Netflix in 2019.
Bohemian Rhapsody opens November 2.