[Article] FREE GUY - How Ryan Reynolds Fixated on Mariah Carey's Fantasy
Courtesy of 20th Century Studios
If you’re like me, you’ve been playing a lot of video games throughout the pandemic and have come to find the therapeutic benefits of being able to be a different person in a fantastical space for the length of time you’re playing. But what if you existed within an actual video game, but had no concept that you were in a video game? Welcome to FREE GUY.

In FREE GUY, a bank teller (Ryan Reynolds) who discovers he is actually a background player in an open-world video game, decides to become the hero of his own story…one he rewrites himself. Now in a world where there are no limits, he is determined to be the guy who saves his world his way…before it is too late.

Recently, Nightmarish Conjurings attended the press conference for FREE GUY which was moderated by Entertainment Tonight’s Ash Crossan and featured Ryan Reynolds “Guy”, Jodie Comer “Millie/Molotov Girl”, Lil Rey Howery “Buddy”, Joe Keery “Keys”, Taika Waititi “Antoine”, Utkarsh Ambudkar “Mouser”, and Director Shawn Levy. During the conference, we learned about the excitement of finally seeing the film released, why Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy” was involved, and more!

This Friday the 13th will see the arrival of FREE GUY, a film that found itself pushed back and delayed three times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With it now finally arriving in theaters, it’s a relief and joy for the cast and crew to see this moment arrive. Expanding on that Director Shawn Levy stated:

“It’s been a ride and it has definitely been a longer wait than we expected. This movie was such a delight to make and the making of the movie was pretty joyous and fun. And we’re just really excited to finally get to share a movie that hopefully has that same fun and that delight and warmth that was on set. Hopefully, it’s translated to the screen, and getting some of these early reactions has been really affirming that it’s all coming through to audiences the way we’d hope.” 

Ryan Reynolds as Guy in 20th Century Studios’ FREE GUY. Courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Starring in the film is none other than Deadpool / Pikachu himself, Ryan Reynolds. Shedding his more adult persona for something sweet and innocent, Reynolds explained his experience transforming into Free City’s wholesome blue shirt hero, Guy.

“Well you know, my default is just pure trash on the inside,” laughed Reynolds. “So for this, it’s just slightly new for me. I sort of like that Guy is… 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. There’s something really wonderful about playing a character who’s kind of naive and innocent, and really like, it’s even said in the movie, he’s kind of like a four-year-old adult. There’s something I think really fun about exploring everything with new eyes, which is what this character gets to do, and sort of filtering that through the prism of comedy and occasionally cynicism and all sorts of other things. I love playing a character who is sort of stepping out of the background into this kind of new person.” 

And it is through the help of a mysterious woman named Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer) that Guy is able to begin to figure out who he is in a world that’s now foreign to him. Jodie Comer, who plays both Molotov Girl and computer programmer Millie, divulged to us why working on this movie brought her so much joy:

“I think [one of the joys] was the team. To be able to work with the creatives that were working on the film. And also the sheer imagination that the script had. I remember reading it and thinking, oh my gosh, you have the real-world mixed in with the video game. And, so I think it was just the scope of it and how much heart it had. We see it written down a lot like it’s an action-comedy but I just feel like there was so much more to that, you know? There is actually so much emotion and it provokes so much emotion in you. I think it was the imagination that the script had for me.”

Ryan Reynolds as Guy and Jodie Comer as Molotov Girl in 20th Century Studios’ FREE GUY. Courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

With a film like this, there’s always a big baddie to be found and in FREE GUY, Shawn Levy tapped into the talent of comedic genius, Taika Waititi, to perform the role of Antoine the narcissistic owner of Soonami, the studio behind Free City. Waititi explained what it took to bring Antoine to life.

“With Antoine, I honestly didn’t really know what to expect, or what I was doing. Shawn’s faith in people’s abilities and just trusting, you know, that I… Well, I mean, I probably trusted him more. We had one phone call and he said, ‘I think you can do it.’ I hadn’t met him and thought maybe he was trying to topple his career somehow,” laughed Waikiki. “I didn’t know what to expect. Then Shawn described the character and that appealed to me cause I feel like my characters are usually quite nice. I like to play versions of my mom in all my characters, so this was sort of a version of my mom who I think had not grown up. The characters I work on are just based on people I’ve met. So, I’ve met a lot of people like [Antoine] in America.” 

As the press conference came to a close, there was one last pressing question that so many of us wanted to know – how did Mariah Carey’s 1995 hit, Fantasy, come to be included in this film. Speaking on this, Levy stated:

“That was Ryan! Ryan is kind of a maestro of the odd, random but inspired song idea. He is obsessive about it. Early on when we were working on the script, Ryan’s like, ‘You know what I think should be the anthem of this entire movie and marketing campaign?’ And he suggested this song by Mariah. Little did we know that by the third act of the movie we’d have a cover of that song by our very own Jodi Comer in the movie.” 

And there you have it, folks. FREE GUY features everything from Mariah Carey, bank robberies, glitches in the matrix, and more. Free City needed a hero, and all they got was a guy… but they got the best kind of guy possible. For more on FREE GUY, check out our review here.

FREE GUY opens in theaters on August 13, 2021.

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