Ben Hardy had never played the drums before taking on the role of Queen drummer Roger Taylor in Bohemian Rhapsody, but you’d never know it. So how did he pull it off? A little white lie and some lessons according to Metro. The little white lie was made when he was initially contacted about trying out for the role.
“I was a little bit naughty, actually – I told them I could play the drums [when I couldn’t]. That’s what they say, isn’t it – ‘just tell them you can do it and work it out later!'”
Having worked with director Bryan Singer before on X-Men Apocalypse, Hardy emailed him when he heard about the role, eager to play the rock-and-roll star. Hardy admitted to People that he had his reservations though because, although “you can cheat the other instruments with camera angles,” it’s not that easy with drums because “in the wide shots you can see if the drum is out of sync.” In a separate interview, he explained a little more about preparing for the audition.
“And then they asked me to play a song as part of the audition so I went away and had drum lessons every day. I bought a drum kit and managed to just about pull off one song.”
Those lessons paid off, and one song turned into the 13 he had to play in the film. Twenty-seven-year-old Hardy says he hasn’t attempted any other songs on the drums.
Hardy isn’t the only star of the hit biopic who had no musical background to bring to the movie. Rami Malek, who plays Freddie Mercury, was upfront with producers about the fact that he couldn’t sing or play the piano when they called him about the role. He managed a portrayal of the musical icon that has everyone talking despite the initial shortfall. Malek has said that it took lots of work for him to connect with Mercury. He described a six-hour meeting with Graham King in which he laid out his lack of musical experience and dance moves he called “interesting… I don’t know if I’d call it rhythm.”
One of the coolest experiences Hardy had because of his role in Bohemian Rhapsody was the opportunity to meet Roger Taylor. The two met at the legendary Abbey Road Studios where Taylor gave him a drumming lesson before they headed down the street to a French restaurant for lunch.