Before the world premiere of their groundbreaking queer romance film, Unicorns, main stars Ben Hardy and Jason Patel sensed an undeniable spark between them. The film recently debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival, where their chemistry became a focal point of discussion. Directors Sally El Hosaini and James Krishna Floyd recognized the importance of their connection for the film's success, and the results were nothing short of remarkable.
The film follows single father Luke (Hardy) who has settled into a life that involves transactional sex in his spare time. However his life is turned upside down when he meets a seductive woman, Aysha (Patel). The connection between them is instant and firey but complicated when he discovers that she is not a cis woman, which leads him to realize that his heart and his desires are not so binary.
Hardy, who plays a Luke in the film, told PEOPLE, "I don't think you can cheat that,” in reference to their instant connection. Drawing from his past experiences, Hardy noted that he had previously attempted to manufacture chemistry with co-stars, but it never compared to the genuine connection he found with Patel. He explained, "It's like when you fall in love, sometimes you meet someone, you hit it off, and things go from there. I think if you don't have that on screen, it shows."
Patel, cast as a South Asian drag queen who forms a deep connection with Hardy's character, echoed his co-star's sentiments and emphasized their remarkable friendship.
For Hardy, known for his roles as Angel in X-Men: Apocalypse and Queen drummer Roger Taylor in Bohemian Rhapsody, Unicorns offered a unique opportunity to tell a story unlike any he had tackled before. "I thought [Unicorns] was something that would be a good test for me," he said. "Ultimately, I just thought it was an incredibly beautiful story that I wanted to be a part of."
Patel, previously recognized for his role as Mowgli in a touring production of The Jungle Book, saw Unicorns as his opportunity to contribute to LGBTQ+ representation in a meaningful way. "This is the part of representation that I want to bring forward," he said. "I didn't have that when I was younger. I gave it my all."
As Unicorns continues its journey through film festivals, including the BFI London Film Festival, it seeks distribution in North America, promising to bring a fresh perspective on love and connection to a wider audience.