Whether he’s playing a fourth-wall-breaking comic book mercenary, or a fourth-wall-breaking Pokémon, these days Ryan Reynolds specialises in high-concept movies – and his upcoming Free Guy certainly fits that bill. The 2020 action-comedy, from Night At The Museum director and Stranger Things producer Shawn Levy, hinges on Reynolds’ titular Guy – who’s really a non-playable character (NPC) in fictional video game Free City. And when the game falls into the hands of evil developers, it’s up to Guy to “change from innocent bystander to real hero,” Levy tells Empire in the upcoming 2020 Preview Issue.
This isn’t Levy’s first tussle in bringing video games to the big screen. “They have proven near-impossible to get right,” he says. “I myself spent two years working on Uncharted. There’s something very scary about trying to do a literal transposing of an experience that audiences can already get in the game.” So instead, Free Guy is doing its own thing by building an original digital world from scratch, and creating characters that engage on a movie, rather than gameplay, level. Think an action-focused The Truman Show, with a 2020 update. “It’s a comedy, but we will never leave the emotionality of this movie,” says Levy. “It’s big-hearted and poignant, which is equally as important to Ryan and I as the spectacle and the action.”
Beyond Reynolds, Free Guy also boasts one of the year’s most exciting supporting casts – with the likes of Taika Waititi, Stranger Things‘ Joe Keery, Lil Rel Howery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, and Britain’s own Jodie Comer, fresh from her Emmy win for Killing Eve, co-starring. Game on.
Read more about Free Guy in the December 2019 issue of Empire, arriving on newsstands from Thursday 31 October. Catch the film when it arrives in UK cinemas from 1 July 2020.