Ben Hardy on finding real 'chemistry' with co-star Jason Patel in Unicorns

Virgin Radio

6 Jul 2024, 14:53

L: Ben Hardy. M&R: Hardy with Jared Patel in Unicorns

Credit: Getty/Signature Entertainment

Ben Hardy, the former EastEnders heartthrob and Bohemian Rhapsody star, dishes on his latest role in Unicorns, a film about love, identity, and fabulous drag queens.

Best known for his iconic roles as Peter Beale in EastEnders and Queen drummer Roger Taylor in Bohemian Rhapsody, Ben Hardy is diving into a whole new world with his latest film, Unicorns.

Chatting with Angela Scanlon on Virgin Radio, Ben is stepping into the glamorous but gritty life of a mechanic from Essex who falls for a South-Asian drag queen.



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Unicorns, which has been described as “a cross-cultural romance about a South-Asian closeted drag queen and a single dad mechanic from Essex,” sees Ben playing Luke, an ostensibly straight man who finds love in the most unexpected place. His co-star Jason Patel, who plays Aysha, brings a vibrant drag persona to life.

Recently, in an interview with Attitude magazine, Ben admitted to feeling the pressure to represent the story well, noting: “I did the best I could… and I hope they felt represented.”

Ben continued to open up to Angela this morning (Saturday 6th July) about the unexpected common ground between the characters, despite their different backgrounds.

"The thing about these two characters. If you take away race, if you take away gender, if you take away sexuality, there's actually a lot of commonalities between the two of them, which I think is quite interesting," he explained.

He added: "They both feel suppressed within their own home community and sort of trapped within that society, and want to kind of break free a bit, which is why Jason Patel, who plays Aysha, is sort of performing drag that's kind of out of his sort of day to day with his Muslim family in his household."

Luke, on the other hand, is navigating life among the "working class alpha male types," a setting where being anything other than straight is terrifying.

"To Luke it is like, terrifying, because in his community, it's like, be straight or out", he added.

One of the standout moments in bringing Unicorns to life was the chemistry reads between Ben and Jason.

Ben reminisced: "So we had chemistry reads with a few actors and as soon as Jason and I worked together, it was just like sparks were fizzing. It was just one of those things you can't really fake.

"You've either got a rapport to start off with as a foundation, or you don't"

Ben and Jason previously joined Steve Denyer on Virgin Radio Pride, where Ben shared more about the learning curve he experienced while preparing for the role.

He told Steve: “This is a different kind of role for me, and it's very exciting. For me, I suppose it was an education as well, like exploring a community that I didn't know anything about. I knew nothing about the 'gay-sian' drag scene."

Ben’s dad even got a peek into this vibrant world. He added: “My dad came to watch the movie, right? He was there, and he was just fascinated.

"He was like, 'Wow! I didn't know that this was going on. That they had this drag scene going on in the basements of Indian restaurants. It's fascinating, you know?' So I just found it really interesting and really proud to be a part of it."

Unicorns is in UK cinemas now.

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