We're about to enter a world that stretches beyond the rules of reality. A world where you can be a villain or a hero. A world where the nice guy might not actually finish last for a change. This new video game world will be showcased to the public in the newest film hitting theaters this weekend "Free Guy." It stars Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Joe Keery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, and Taika Waititi. This incredible cast and incredibly original idea, which centers around a fictional game called Free City, is something that you can't risk missing. The only thing we think you'll regret is not being able to play the game yourself. In the midst of the excitement, Disney decided to pull together the cast to talk about "Free Guy" and Noovie was in attendance. Here we have for you a quick Q&A you should check out before seeing this film in theaters this weekend.
'Free Guy' Q&A: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Joe Keery, Taika Waititi, Utkarsh Ambudkar
Q: What has it been like stepping into a very different type of hero, this wholesome, blue shirt guy?
Ryan Reynolds: Well, you know my default is just pure trash on the inside. So, for this, it's just slightly new for me. There's a movie that I love called "Being There" starring Peter Sellers. And that was like the first kind of foothold I had into this character and this world. And there's something really wonderful about playing a character who's kind of naive and innocent. And it's even said in the movie, in a sense he's kind of like a four-year-old adult. So, there's something really fun about exploring everything with new eyes, which is what this character gets to do. I love a playing character who is sort of stepping out of the background into this kind of new, new person.
Q: What was the aspect of working on this movie that brought you the most joy?
Jodi Comer: Oh my gosh. Well, I think there were a couple of things. But I think one was the team, you know, to be able to work with the creatives that were working on the film. And also just, like, the sheer imagination that the script had. I remember reading it and thinking, "Oh my gosh, how is this gonna translate onto the screen?" You have the real world mixed in with the video game. And so, I think it was just like the scope of it, and how much heart it had. You see it written down a lot like it's an action comedy. But I just feel like there was so much more to that. There's actually so much emotion and it provokes so much emotion in you. So, yeah, I think it was the imagination that the script had for me.
Q: What's your favorite message or theme from this film?
Lil Rel Howery: I always like when I get to the end of it, that last speech Buddy gives before this big thing happens. But it was so beautiful, even when we shot it, like, it's always weird when you do speeches like that. You're kind of emotionally tied to it. I remember shooting it with Shawn and them. We (were) talking. I had to take a walk. I wasn't going to tear up...but I was like, "Wow, that was what that was." So, Buddy has a couple of those moments, which is what I loved about the character. His innocence came with how comfortable he was with his friendship.
Q: How would you describe this villainous character?
Taika Waititi: Honestly, I didn't really know really what to expect...Shawn described the character and that appealed to me because I feel like my characters are usually quite nice. I just play versions of my mom in all my characters. So, this was sort of like a version of my mom who had not grown up, I suppose.
Q: What was it like to discover so many elements of this character?
Jodi Comer: It was incredible. It was a huge part of what attracted me to the piece, especially having this girl Millie, and Molotov being a creation of her. It was so important that it was always an essence of Millie. But that Molotov was also very, very different. And I think a way in which we did that, which I really tried to focus on, was the physicality. But you're right, there is a lot of nuance there, especially within her world. Even looking into kind of how male dominated that industry is, which is kind of similar to my own, and those kinds of fights that she probably would have been up against. And the kind of resilience which that created in her. There was so much for me to play with.
Q: Guy and Buddy share a really sweet, poignant friendship. Was that aspect always there in the script, or something that you both collaborated on to bring to life?
Ryan Reynolds: I think Rel and I and our respective characters kind of live at this intersection of a little bit on the page and a little bit in the moment. But I think that's kind of the case for every single person on this cast. Everybody's very adaptive and very good at adding and creating and building and three-dimensionalizing their characters and their work. Rel and I just immediately, from the moment we met, kind of clicked. I was a huge fan of his and I think we can all say he was a huge fan of Taika. So, it was great to get out there and mess around and play, and sort of form that bond and put it up on the big screen.
Lil Rel Howery: I mean, for me, it's weird because Ryan Reynolds has been my friend in my head for a very long time. And to this day, I still don't think he believes me. Like, nah, I'm a legit fan. Like, when you started winning everything for Deadpool, I was calling people like, "I told y'all. I told you Ryan Reynolds was a superstar." But I've been such a huge fan...I don't get nervous about meeting (anybody) but I was really nervous that first day. I've watched "Definitely, Maybe" maybe twice a month. I still do. One of my favorite movies. It's one of those fun things I love about this business is when you just get the chance to work with people you look up to. And not just as an actor, but as a fan...So it was, like, "Yeah, I'm gonna take this moment. I don't know if he gonna be my friend after this, but during this movie we're about to be best friends."
Q: "Free Guy" is full of Easter eggs, fun nods to pop culture and other phenomena. Which one was your personal favorite to discover while watching the movie?
Utkarsh Ambudkar: Well, it turns out Ryan Reynolds has a lot of really famous friends. And he got a lot of them to be in this movie. The whole third act for somebody who grew up with Star Wars, Marvel, videogames. It will make you jump out of your seat and scream with joy.
Joe Keery: I actually think that we've done such a great job at giving a really great nod to video game culture. There are so many funny, little things. I mean, I'm not a huge gamer myself. But there's this great shot and it doesn't give anything away in the movie, it's during this montage sequence. But you see this character in the background, and it's played by a real-life person. And, you know, in those first-person shooter games where people crouch. There's this very specific funny motion, and it means something. So, you see this character do that in the background. And it's just, like, this small, one, two second thing. But it's just really funny and dead on, and I think it kind of speaks to the whole culture and gives a good tip of the hat to the video game culture.
Jodi Comer: I really enjoyed noticing the people who were constantly running against the wall. Like, I've been there so many times. I was like, "That's so true. It's so true." The little details.
Q: Who is the biggest gamer in this room, and what's your go to?
Utkarsh Ambudkar: I play Fortnite with my 40-year-old friends. That's how I stay in touch with my friends. Um, yeah, it's super fun. And this game has somebody who plays a lot, logs a lot of hours in that space. It really is true to that world and the people that occupy it. We have a ton of great people from the video game community who are all part of the movie who I think folks are gonna be really excited to see.
Q: How much fun did you have on set, and how much did you have to learn about coding and video games?
Joe Keery: Yeah, that's the thing that I feel like in preparation for doing the part, I just wanted to make sure I kind of understood stuff. I mean, I'm no pro coder. If you told me to, you know, create a video game, I don't think I'd be able to do that. But that's kind of where you meet Keys at the beginning. And that's really kind of important that we feel his passion for this world that he's created and for coding in general. There's something I feel like I kind of got a newfound appreciation...one of the best parts about this job is working with all these talented people. And getting to put your headspace somewhere where you never expected it and learn different skills.
Q: Which video game would you most want to live in for a day?
Jodi Comer: I want to be in Harry Potter. That's where you'll find me.
Joe Keery: I guess I'll choose Star Fox. I get to, you know, fly this kind of cool spacecraft. That seems pretty cool.
Lil Rel Howery: This is going to sound insanely rare. But it was a video game called Charles Barkley: Shut Up and Jam. And every time you lost a ball, he'll say, "Go get the damn ball." So, me and my brothers used to just lose the ball on purpose and my mom's walking in like, "Who's in here cursing?" Like nah, it's the game.
Utkarsh Ambudkar: I think I would jump into NBA 2K. You can get a player that looks exactly like yourself. I would be six seven, six eight, two sixty. Point guard, point forward. I'd play for the Lakers, maybe my home team, Washington Wizards, win three to four championships in a row. Something small like that.
Ryan Reynolds: I would actually kind of like to be in Free City. I know it's not a real video game, but the video game that we've created, where this film is set, I kind of like the colors and the vibes in there. I know it's a dangerous-as-hell place to live. But I think I would probably take that.
Taika Waititi: So, there's a game I was particularly good at called Defender. I'd probably be a pilot in Defender. It was a super stressful game. Mirrors my life quite well. For modern context, I'd like to play a game on, uh, do you guys know Roblox? You might know Roblox if you've got kids. Well, I'm on Roblox with my daughters and we go on, and we play wolves, and we just wander.
August 13, 2021
Jesse is a writer and content manager for Noovie. When he's not working, he's on the beach playing volleyball.