Free Guy is the next film to star Ryan Reynolds but its unlike the actor's previous titles. In the film directed by Stranger Things' Shawn Levy, Reynolds plays Guy, a character whose life is a role in a video game. This isn't the main character who the gamer plays as but a non-playable supporting character who pops into the game briefly with a predetermined outcome, no matter the circumstances. In Free Guy though, Guy gets knowledge of this and takes his actions upon himself. As it turns out, bringing this fun story to life was one of the best filmmaking experiences of Reynolds' career, and one which he thinks will result in a movie that appeals to more than the gaming community.
"I always look at like, sports movies are good metaphors," Reynolds said during a virtual Free Guy press conference. 'The greatest sports movies ever made are not actually about sports. Field of Dreams, I wouldn't characterize that as a baseball story. They used baseball as a vehicle to tell a really beautiful story about a son and a father trying to connect. And I think that we're doing the same thing. We're using the video game world, the Free City world and video game culture, as a sort of a vehicle to tell this really beautiful and powerful human story."
Working under the direction of Levy and alongside stars like Taika Waititi, Joe Keery, Lil Rel Howery, and Jodie Comer, Reynolds quite literally had the time of his life making Free Guy.
"I do think it's the best movie making experience that I've ever had easily but also I think the best movie I've ever done," the Deadpool star said. "You know, it's the most kind of pertinent to our times, in that sense. I mean, you know, where I feel Deadpool was like a movie that was pertinent to the comic book culture when it came out. This really to me speaks to a broader kind of spectrum of where we are in the world, and not only that, but how we are in the world. So, I think that's one of the reasons I think it's my favorite movie. But it's also, yes, the experience certainly plays into that, but also this incredible cast."
For Levy, developing this idea which Reynolds is dubbing as his favorite movie to star himself, the seeds truly come from video games and allowing them to grow into something bigger and character-driven, which it seems he appreciated when reading the script by Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn.
"The movie was a screenplay that got sent to Ryan and I," Levy says. "Matt Lieberman, the screenwriter, wrote the original screenplay, and it was immediately clear to Ryan and I that this was a very good script with a phenomenal idea and that it had this kind of, this central idea about a background character realizing that maybe he could have agency and empowerment in his world."
"That idea was both a big idea conceptually as far as gaming and plot but also a big idea, and maybe this was more important to Ryan and I in those early days, it was a big idea thematically because it felt like something that scratched at ideas that matter and that we can all relate to," Levy went on. "And that was in 2018, and then we made it to 2019, and now in 2020, we really relate to the idea that, 'Oh, wait, maybe the world doesn't need to remain as you find it. Maybe you can have an impact on circumstances around you.'"
Free Guy is scheduled to hit theaters on December 11, 2020.