Cast and crew of ‘Free Guy’ talk friendship, improvising, and ‘collective delight’

by Joseph Spencer

20th Century Studios’ latest film “Free Guy” tells the story of Guy, played by Ryan Reynolds, a cheery, optimistic bank teller who lives in the chaotic Free City, along with his best friend Buddy (Lil Rel Howery). All of that changes when Guy meets a player named MolotovGirl (Jodie Comer), and realizes that he is a background character in a wildly successful video game. Together, they must team up to save Free City from being deleted by head of the game studio that runs it, Antwan (Taika Waititi). Can Guy go from NPC to the hero of his own story, and save the world?

free guy
(Left to right) Joe Keery, Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi, director Shawn Levy and Utkarsh Ambudkar on the set of 20th Century Studios’ “Free Guy.”
Photo by Alan Markfield

This week, members of the press were invited to take part in a digital press conference with some of the stars of the film, as well as director Shawn Levy. When asked about what drew him to playing a character like Guy, Reynolds said that he enjoys playing characters who step out of the background, and credited Peter Seller’s performance in the classic film “Being There” as an inspiration. “My default is pure trash on the inside, so playing [a character like] Guy was new and refreshing to me!”

One of the brightest spots of the film is the performance of Waititi as the greedy CEO of Soonami Studios, Antwan. According to Levy, there is at least 45 minutes of outtakes from his improvisations as the character. Waititi himself said, “ Shawn and I trusted each other when it came to letting [me] run loose with this character.” He also based his performance on a few people he’s run into during his career: “I’ve met a lot of people like this in America… at CAA parties.”

One cast member who was exceptionally excited to work on this film was Howery, who plays Guy’s best friend, Buddy. “Ryan Reynolds has been a friend in my head for a long time,” he said. “I watch ‘Deadpool’ at least one or two times a month.” Howery also admitted to some nerves before meeting his co-star, but they were unnecessary. Reynolds said, “[Lil Rel and I] both immediately clicked,” adding, “we both live at this intersection of ‘on the page’ and ‘in the moment.’” Howery credited his performance to that connection, saying, “ Buddy’s innocence stems from how much his friendship with Guy means to him.”

Levy closed the press conference by encouraging viewers to see “Free Guy” on the big screen, saying ,“ Every filmmaker wants their work to be seen in the biggest, best way possible.” He also added that one of their mantras during filming was “Collective Delight,” and that the best way to experience the film was in a room with other people, feeding off of their vibes. “The movie feels like the antidote to so much of what we’ve been living through.”

Free Guy is rated PG-13 and opens in theaters on Friday, Aug. 13. Check out the trailer below:

Free Guy | New Trailer | 20th Century Studios

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