Ryan Reynolds often has a sense of humor that is condescending and self-deprecating which has gotten him far in Hollywood, culminating with his career-defining role as everyone’s favorite Merc with the Mouth, Deadpool. Yet Reynolds looks to further solidify his status as an A-list actor with a more family-friendly slant, in the upcoming feature, Free Guy.
To gamers, Free Guy may look and sound familiar, as it is set inside a video game, with a protagonist that must learn how to become a hero. There is a pretty girl and big, bad enemies. But despite it’s video game-inspired narrative, Free Guy may not actually be as familiar as it looks.
THE STARS OF FREE GUY
Ryan Reynolds was already a rising star before he found became Deadpool. The 2010s were a very good decade for Reynolds and with the upcoming release of Free Guy, it looks like this trend will continue into the 2020s. Of course, there were misses in the last decade, such as Green Lantern and R.I.P.D., both of which came after Reynolds’ debut as Wade Wilson’s Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But Reynolds more than made up for it with such hits as The Change-Up, Safe House, Life, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, 6 Underground, and of course, the Deadpool series of films. First and foremost, Reynolds is the draw in Free Guy.
Free Guy also stars Jodie Comer (Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, Killing Eve), Joe Keery (Stranger Things), Lil Rel Howery (Get Out, Bird Box), and writer/director/actor extraordinaire Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Jojo Rabbit, Thor: Ragnarok). The movie also includes a cameo by Alex Trebek, who many times has played himself in various movies, again plays himself in the last role he’d play before he sadly lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.
Free Guy takes Ryan Reynolds and plops him right in the middle of a video game. He is, what is known in the video game world, an NPC or non-player character. He lives in the background, performing his prescribed duties as action and mayhem take place all around. His everyday existence is on a loop, performing the same thing, day in and day out, regardless of how a game player makes their choices.
What Guy doesn’t realize is that he is part of a video game. He lives in Free City and performs his bank teller duties with aplomb. He has all he wants and needs, or so he thinks. And he does begin to think after a program developed by Milly (Cromer and Keys (Keery) allow Guy to become self-aware. It is then he begins to question his existence, slowly finding out that he is part of a game.
It is also then that he decides to change it up and instead of being a background character, he wants to be the hero. This becomes a big problem for Antoine (Waititi), the game’s developer, who feels Guy is becoming more trouble than he is worth. So Antoine decides to shut the game down, forcing Guy to team up with Cromer’s avatar, Molotov Girl, in trying to save Free City.
Reynolds spoke at NYCC’s Fox panel via Men’s Journal, explaining just how he sees his movie and Guy’s growth, “I haven’t been this fully immersed and engaged in something since Deadpool,” Reynolds said at NYCC’s Fox panel. “I think we live in really weird times right now, you’re watching the news and the top story today is ‘it’s the end of the world.’ I felt a kinship to the character in that you can sometimes feel like a background character. The world is on loop and you have no control over what’s happening.”
Looking at the latest trailer, which gives a lot more information than Free Guy’s first trailer, the movie looks to employ Reynolds trademark humor, one that Deadpool co-star T.J. Miller says is true to Reynolds nature as he compared Reynolds to Deadpool. “It’s so Ryan Reynolds,” Miller said via the Chicago Sun Times referring to Deadpool’s snarky humor. Miller also feels that Reynolds’s ability to improvise with the best of them can truly elevate a movie as he “had heard Ryan was an improviser. But once we got on the set, I realized he’s one of the best improvisers I’ve come across in the business — including those Chicago improv theaters who have turned out so many great comedians.”
Miller continued to talk about his Deadpool experience with Reynolds noting that “things seem so spontaneous or organic in the movie is because Ryan was coming up with a lot of it while we were filming. We had a great script from Rob [Liefeld] and Rhett, but a lot of Ryan’s improvisation elevated the movie to what you saw in the final cut.” So, it stands to reason that Reynold’s deft skills as an improviser came into play in Free Guy. Check out the new trailer below.
BEHIND THE CAMERA
Shawn Levy is the man behind the camera for Free Guy. Levy is best known for The Internship with Vince Vaughn and Own Wilson, and his Night at the Museum series which starred Ben Stiller. Vaughn also holds down a producer’s role along with Reynolds. The film is based on a story by Matt Lieberman (The Christmas Chronicles, The Addams Family), who also handled the screenplay duties along with Zak Penn (Last Action Hero, Ready Player One).
Before Disney decided to continue its ascent on owning everything in Hollywood, 20th Century Fox was developing Free Guy. When Disney completed the purchase of Fox, almost everything in production by Fox was put on hold or outright canceled. Thankfully, Free Guy was allowed to continue production and now is part of the newly renamed 20th Century Studios, a Disney subsidy.
FREE GUY’S RELEASE DATE
Free Guy is now scheduled to be released on May 21, 2021.