Former EastEnders star Ben Hardy has recalled how terrified he was filming on top of the dome of Florence’s cathedral for his new action movie.
The actor, who first found fame as Peter Beale on the soap, stars opposite Ryan Reynolds in director Michael Bay’s blockbuster 6 Underground, about a group of highly-skilled people who fake their deaths so they can operate off the grid.
Hardy, who plays free-runner Four in the film, is first introduced standing on top of the Italian landmark, which is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Florence.
“That was day one for me and I was terrified because I’m a little bit scared of heights, but I somehow forgot that when I went through the casting process,” Hardy told PA.
“It didn’t really compute in my brain, so I got to the top of the Duomo and then all of a sudden was nearly having a panic attack.
“It was terrifying and the guys, who by the end I trusted with my life, the stunt crew, were like ‘Hey, nice to meet you, now get on top of the Duomo and we will make sure you don’t die’.
“But it was tough. It’s weird how when you’re in that situation, all your primitive instincts kick in and start saying ‘What are you doing? Get down, get down, get down’ and trying to override them is tricky.”
Describing working with Bay, who is best known for helming Armageddon, Bad Boys, Pearl Harbour and the Transformers film, he said: “I really did feel Michael had complete control.
“I’m not saying he got carte blanche but it felt like he got given a lot of money to do what he wanted to do and make his movie, and I’m sure stuff happened after filming, but that was really interesting because that is not common really.
“Most of the time people watch dailies, the stuff cut together of what you have shot every day and they give their notes, and it kind of affects the process of the movie, so it was really interesting to be there with someone who is 100 per cent captain of the ship, it is definitely his movie.”
To prepare to play the parkour expert, Hardy trained with freerunner Pasha The Boss and the parkour crew Storror but added: “Sometimes there were things that I couldn’t do for insurance reasons.
“Michael would be like ‘You’re not doing that because you’re going to break your ankle and then I’m going to have to shut down filming for a few days or I’m going to have to hire someone else, so you’re not doing it’, so I did as much as I could.
“I wish I did more actually but those guys are so talented.”
Picture: 2017 archive photo of Florence Catherdal. (Maurizio Gambarini/DPA/PA).