Ryan Reynolds Explains the Inspiration and Collaboration Behind Free Guy

After many delays due to the pandemic, Free Guy is finally hitting theatres in August. The final trailer for the movie was released last month, and early reactions from press screenings have been mostly positive. The movie stars Ryan Reynolds as Guy, an NPC in a multiplayer game world who starts to realize he can affect the world and the people in it. The movie also stars Jodie Comer as a badass gamer who is on a quest to uncover truths about the game. ComicBook.com recently took part in a press conference with Reynolds and Comer, and they were asked about the inspirations behind the film and what it was like collaborating with director Shawn Levy.

"Well references for this movie for me, and certainly I can speak for Shawn here, are Amblin. '80s and '80s Amblin is all about wish fulfillment. And there's so much of the DNA of those movies that inspired us here. I mean, in all the rewrites... Shawn and I spent hours and hours and hours on trains back and forth from Boston to New York. We were shooting in Boston doing rewrites on the film and creating a scaffolding that felt like it could sustain an Amblin-type movie. I mean, the movie doesn't seem like there's any relation to Back to the Future in it, but there's... Were striving or aiming..."

Reynolds continued, "And I know it's somewhat imperious height to strive for, but we were aiming for that feeling that I got when I was a kid and Shawn got when he was a kid, when we walked out of the movie theater watching Back to the Future for the first time. And you just felt so... I remember grinning ear to ear and just thinking, 'The fact that these people got together and made this thing, this movie that took me to another place like that and left me feeling so happy at the end too,' was something I wanted so badly. Especially when we were shooting this movie in the thrust and crux of real global negativity. I mean this has been a really f*cking hard five years for a lot of people in a lot of different and nuanced ways. So the idea that we could make a movie that is just a fastball of joy was of paramount importance to us."

"Yeah, I mean, Shawn and I have been having... I would say something of... he's kind of a work marriage. When I look at Shawn and I speak to Shawn, I think, 'Why didn't we find each other sooner?' I really... We've just completed editing our second film together. Just this last week, we finished editing it. And it's just been one of the great collaborations that I've ever been lucky enough to have besides maybe my wife. Definitely that's been an amazing collaboration," Reynolds explained.

"So I've been wanting to work with Shawn for years before this. I read this script. It stuck with me a little bit, but it was... I was saying to Jodie earlier, it was one of those weird situations where I sent the script to Shawn within an accompanying email, designed to convince him to want to do it. And what I didn't expect would happen was that email that I sent to Shawn would also convince me I wanted to do it. The email I composed to Shawn about this film set... And we did pretty significant rewrites. So the email was about what this movie could be. And I really felt like it could be this... Like I said, a fastball of joy in a time of just utter thickets of shit. This has just been such a difficult, challenging time for so many people. And I just love this idea of wish fulfillment. It felt like that kind of movie... And Shawn sparked to it. And he said, 'I happen to be going to New York tomorrow so I'll come see you.' I found out later he was lying. He had no plans of coming to New York at all and just flew to New York right away."

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Comer chimed in, "I think that the thing with Shawm as well is he has the biggest heart. He is so excitable, so passionate, and that is so contagious. So when you get to set and you're about to come at a scene, he's coming at it all guns blazing and he already knows what he wants. And he just wants to try everything you possibly can to make it the best it can possibly be. So to work with someone who is like that... There's no off days."

Free Guy hits theaters on August 13th.