Netflix’s latest action-packed thriller “6 Underground” is certainly chock full of ‘Bayhem.’ Michael Bay’s latest directorial feat features everything you know and love about the seasoned filmmaker’s repertoire — tons of explosions, risky car chases and insanely ballsy characters, and that’s just within the first fifteen minutes. In “6 Underground,” Ryan Reynolds (who is reunited with “Deadpool” writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick for this project) leads a vigilante crew of specially-skilled operatives who have buried their pasts, faked their deaths and essentially “fallen off the grid” to rid the world of one wickedly corrupt dictator. One of the agents is a recklessly skilled parkour expert nicknamed “Skywalker,” played by Ben Hardy, and Hardy himself went through his own set of training to get into the mindset and prepare for the role of such an energetic adrenaline junkie — which is par for the course on the set of a Bay film.
Hardy sat down with Metro to discuss what he enjoys about the action genre, what intrigued him about working on the film and dive into what went into making such an action-packed thriller.
Ben Hardy talks defying gravity in Michael Bay’s latest action-packed thriller, ‘6 Underground’
How would you describe your character, Four?
Everyone in this vigilante crew has a special skill, and my character, Four, he’s known as the “Skywalker” because he’s a parkour expert. He basically defies gravity quite dramatically — that’s his skillset. He’s also a bit dim, which is quite fun for me to play. But he brings this kind of juvenile energy to the group and this sense of recklessness, he is an absolute daredevil. That would be his defining characteristic I’d say.
What intrigued you about the film — why decide to sign on?
The initial draw before even reading the script, to be honest, was working with Michael Bay. I’ve been a fan of his movies for years, “Bad Boys,” “Armageddon” — that was appealing immediately. With the script itself, what I found really interesting is that it’s unlike any action movie I’ve ever read before with just the premise itself. This idea of people going off the grid is something that maybe everyone has thought about. We are so available all of the time and there is very little privacy, so the concept of just jumping off the grid I think is appealing to a lot of people and to even get to play around with that and explore that was just massively appealing to me.
‘6 Underground’ is just chock full of so much action, what kind of training did you have to do to prepare?
I worked with Storror, a very successful parkour crew in the modern world of social media and YouTube — they are just great athletes. What I found really interesting about training with them was just understanding their mindset, you have to be a very special kind of person to want to jump from one skyscraper to the next. For them, it was all about mental barriers. Any jump they do they first do on the ground level hundreds of times so they know up at that height they can make it. They know that if they’ve done it on the ground, their bodies are perfectly capable of killing that jump — the only thing blocking them is their mind. Overcoming that psychological barrier to be able to achieve that is where they get their rush, they apply that to their everyday lives as well. Whether it be a job interview or approaching a girl at the bar or something, their mindset is how do you approach those mental barriers and break them down?
What stunts did you do specifically in the film?
The one that really stands out to me was my first day of filming. I was on top of the Duomo Cathedral in Florence, and I mean that was absolutely terrifying. Just the way that the harness was rigged I had to kind of lean forward over that drop of certain death and it’s really weird how your brain and body’s survival instincts kick in, everything in my being was telling me that I needed to step down and not be there. Being up there and living with it and working through it and talking myself around it was really challenging. It was crazy because it was being filmed with Michael Bay on a helicopter flying around yelling notes for me, and it’s so loud I’m yelling back that I don’t even know what he’s saying. That day is always going to stand out for me. But there were some other cool stunts, I get to throw myself over the side of a building, that was really cool. But by that point, I had already done so much. I really trusted the stunt crew by the end of the movie. I put all of my faith in them and if they told me the harness was safe, I would 100 percent believe them.
How was it overall working with Michael Bay and the rest of the cast?
I really enjoyed working with Michael — he’s very chaotic in a very efficient way. He makes everyone bring their A-game, and if you don’t bring your A-game he tells you so. That’s across the board with everyone and I think that’s how he gets the best from the film. He knows what he wants, he’s definitely not shy. You have to have faith in him and trust that he’s got his own style. He has this playful energy, and for some reason, before I met him I imagined him to have this sort of macho-ness about him, and he does in some ways but he’s really just like a kid seeing his fantasies come to life. He’s managed to get these big budgets because he’s really good at what he does, he still has that passion and that excitement and that’s infectious. But the cast overall was really great. Ryan, his energy is just hilarious and it’s amazing how he could put the whole crew into just fits of laughter. He’s so generous as well, there was a fair amount of ad-libbing going on in most of the scenes, and if he thought of something that would be good for someone else he would be very generous about letting you know. He did that with me, and I was very thankful and I’ve got a lot of respect for him. We all got along really well as a group as well, it wasn’t a bad setting either. Dining out in Italy with some of the best pizza and pasta in the world, there are worse places to be.
What do you as an actor specifically like about the action genre and why do you think audiences get so tuned in for action?
I’m a cinephile so I love every genre of movie, but I am a huge fan of the action genre. So to be a part of that world and feel like maybe I could be part of that process was just very appealing for me. I think for audiences, it’s the adrenaline and it’s the way that it makes you feel. It feels like everything is at stake the entire time, there is a lot of energy in those sorts of precarious situations. It really transports audiences and it feels like a rollercoaster in some ways. I think that’s what draws people in, or I can speak for myself and say at least that’s what draws me in.
Since you are a cinephile, is there a genre that you haven’t been able to break into yet that you would want to be apart of?
I would really like to get into the terror genre, not exactly horror but a suspenseful film or something along those lines. I’d like to be apart of something like that, it’s something that I’ve never done and some of my favorite films are apart of that genre.
What do you hope audiences after watching ‘6 Underground’ walk away from saying or feeling?
I just hope they have a good time, it’s a really fun movie and more than anything that’s how I feel about it. It’s coming out during the holiday season and I’d love for people to get together with their families and share that experience. I just sincerely hope they have a great time watching it.
‘6 Underground’ drops on Netflix on Dec. 13