'Free Guy' Cast Talks Video Games and Their Favorite Ryan Reynolds Movies (Exclusive)
By John Boone
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"It's so rare that a movie comes out that we don't know everything about it in advance," director Shawn Levy told ET's Ash Crossan backstage at New York Comic Con. He's hoping that will be the case for his next film, the Ryan Reynolds-starring action-comedy Free Man.
Which is why Levy, Reynolds and the entire Free Guy cast -- including Jodie Comer, Joe Keery, Lil Rel Howery, Utkarsh Ambudkar and Taika Waititi -- were especially cautious teasing the movie during their NYCC panel on Thursday. Free Guy centers on Guy (Reynolds), a bank teller who realizes he's actually a non-playable background character in the video game, Free City.
"Guy wakes up and we come to learn he might not be a video game character, at all. He might be a living, artificially intelligent creature," Ambudkar explained. "He's very innocent and loving and kind, but he comes to life in this very violent world."
As anyone who's played open-world games such as Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption knows, it can be a cruel world to even the most innocent bystanders. "We've all played video games and, like, punched the dude walking across the street just to see what the computer will do," Ambudkar said. "In this case, that computer character is a real-life Ryan Reynolds."
Howery plays Buddy, Guy's best friend in the game, while Killing Eve's Comer portrays both a Free City avatar named Molotov Girl and a real-world employee at the company that makes the game. Waititi co-stars as the villainous head of that company and Keery plays one of the designers.
"This is going to be the biggest movie next year," Howery told ET. "It's an action-comedy with a lot of heart to it and just really dope stunts and special effects. Yo, I can't wait to see some of the stuff I did on green screen."
For Comer, the role required a bit of homework. Before signing on to the movie, her gaming experience was limited to The Sims. "I was always cheating on Sims and giving my Sims crazy, expensive houses," she recalled. So she tried her hand at Spider-Man and Grand Theft Auto to get a feel for the world. "I enjoy being the good guy!" she laughed. "I drive around and try to stop at the lights."
For Howery, the movie was the chance to work with the star of his favorite film: the 2008 rom-com Definitely, Maybe. "I know he didn't believe me when I first told him, like, 'Yo, weirdly enough, I'm a huge fan of yours,'" he said of playing opposite Reynolds. "When Deadpool came out, I was so happy that the world finally recognized how really good he is. I've been a fan since Van Wilder. He's brilliant to me."