The anticipation for Free Guy has been building for what feels like a decade (but is actually just a very long two years). After more pandemic delays than we can even recount, the film’s release is finally within grasp.
Free Guy, as you’ve probably learned from a million different trailers, is about an NPC in an open-world video game who becomes self-aware. After discovering his world is not only virtual but on the verge of destruction, a simple NPC must become the hero of his story.
Free Guy opens in theaters next week but we understand you’ve been waiting a very long time, and even a few days sounds like an eternity. So on your behalf, we attended a press conference and learned plenty of hilarious tidbits to hold you over until the film hits theaters.
The Cast Got Along Even Better Than You Think
Free Guy is stacked with a star-studded cast full of comic geniuses. It’s hard to imagine the level of riffing that must’ve happened on set, between proven comedy masters like Taika Waititi, Ryan Reynolds, Lil Rel Howery, and Utkarsh Ambudkar. They were joined by extremely talented castmates Jodie Comer and Joe Keery who rose to the occasion of matching their wit. And as funny as you think it all was, they promise it was even better.
We got a glimpse of this in the press conference, where they all gushed about each other’s immense talent. Reynolds revealed himself to be a massive fan of Howery, and the feeling was certainly mutual. Howery spoke of his initial nerves and said:
“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 saying ‘I told y’all! I told y’all Ryan Reynolds was a superstar!’”
Howery confirmed that like so many others, he watches Definitely, Maybe “twice a month,” since it’s one of his favorite movies. Ambudkar joined in on the love fest to say that everyone gelled together really well.
“All of us, we got really lucky, this whole cast works really great together… it’s really rare that you get this many people who have the energy going with each other.
The energy in Free Guy is incredibly upbeat, between the attitude of Reynolds’ character Guy, and the chemistry between all its stars, rapidly bouncing off of each other. This also meant that each of their characters was further fleshed out, just by the talent of the performers. Reynolds added, “Everybody here is very adept and very good at adding and creating and building and three-dimensionalizing their characters and their work.”
The Third Act Has A Ton of References, Pop Culture Nods and Easter Eggs
A movie about video games is bound to be packed with Easter eggs, but don’t think that they’re limited to a single medium. The cast promises that Free Guy has something for everyone, whether it’s movie references or celebrity cameos. Utkarsh Ambudkar hinted at this, saying, “Turns out Ryan Reynolds has a lot of really famous friends… and he got a lot of them to be in this movie.”
He wasn’t specific about who would appear but did make reference to some of the Disney properties that Free Guy shows love to. He added:
“The whole third act for someone who grew up with Star Wars, Marvel or video games is oh my god, jump out of your seat, scream with joy. It’s so much fun!”
Free Guy Is For Gamers… And Everyone Else Too
Understanding gaming culture was very important to director Shawn Levy. He made sure to study up and got in touch with plenty of experts to make the film feel familiar to gaming fans. He said:
This movie was about threading the needle between wanting to represent the gaming world correctly and accurately. And for that I spoke with a lot of game publishers, coders, game designers and played and watched a lot of games in pre-production. So getting that right was really important
But Levy had no intention of making Free Guy a one-note tribute to gamers. The film might make plenty of references to gaming culture, but is meant for absolutely anyone to enjoy. Levy added:
It was also important to make a movie that required no gaming fluency from a viewer who wasn’t a gamer and wanting to make a movie that was warm and fuzzy and romantic.
Free Guy film is meant to tick a lot of different boxes for people with completely different interests. So in addition to all the action-packed, referential fun, there is also a sweet romantic plotline and a heartfelt message about creating the world you want to live in.
The Sequel Already Has A Title
You haven’t even seen the film yet, but given everything you’ve learned, you probably want more. No worries, the conversation about a sequel has already begun.
The villain looming over Free Guy is, hilariously, Taika Waititi. He plays game developer Antwan, who is days away from shutting down the Free City game to launch the release of its newer, cooler, and much more violent sequel. Since so much of the film is dedicated to sequel talk, it seemed only fitting to ask Levy if he had any plans for a Free Guy 2. Levy said:
“I guess the short answer is yes. I’ve made things that launch franchises and I’ve made enough things to know that you just don’t know the outcome. So yes, we have bandied about and flirted with some ideas.”
But the thing to remember about Free Guy is how self-aware it is. Our heroes are literally trying to prevent the possibility of a sequel to their world, which might make a second movie a little awkward. Levy said so himself, adding that this was actually one of his favorite things about the film. He said:
“But my favorite thing in Free Guy is that we have Taika’s character, in an original new movie, literally mock the possibility and value of releasing something new. Right? Like, it’s so rare that a studio lets you make a big-budget new movie. And so we have the Antwan character played by Taika literally talk about the value of sequels and have this cynical attitude towards the new.”
All that being said, Free Guy is pretty ripe for a sequel. The world of Free City is magical and wide. In a way, it even sets itself up for round 2, thanks to a hilarious one-liner offering the perfect title idea. Levy added:
“If we make Free Guy 2, it will be titled Albuquerque Boiled Turkey and if you’ve seen this movie, you understand that joke. It is 100%, Free Guy 2: Albuquerque Boiled Turkey based on 1 of 7 million improv lines by Taika Waititi.”
The Taika Cut May Be Released Soon
Speaking of Taika Waititi’s improv, the studio recently released a 90-second featurette with some of his best riffs and adlibs. But knowing Waititi’s penchant for comedy, it’s safe to assume that there’s so much we haven’t seen. When asked about a longer supercut of his improv, Taika had this joking exchange with co-star Ryan Reynolds.
Waititi: “How long is the super cut?”
Reynolds: “Four hours and ten minutes.”
Waititi: “Well, when DVDs finally come back…”
But have no fears, they were only half-joking about the existence of the Waititi-cut. Director Shawn Levy jumped in to confirm that there is in fact a pretty long improvisation supercut solely dedicated to Taika’s quips. He said:
“I think it’s about 39 minutes long, I forced myself to cut it down to a minute and a half so it could go on social media days ago. But eventually, it must be shared with the world because it was a level of improv that I’ve rarely, rarely seen.”
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