If you’re looking for a fresh concept of a film to mark your return to theaters, 20th Century Studios is dropping Free Guy this weekend and it definitely fits the bill.

In the film, Ryan Reynolds plays a bank teller named Guy 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.”

Aside from Reynolds, the film also stars Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Joe Keery, Utkarsh Ambudkar and Taika Waititi.

Shadow and act spoke with Reynolds, Comer, Keery and its director, Shawn Levy, ahead of the film’s release, to talk about a number of things — including how the film may catch some people surprised about how heartfelt it is.

On the surface, it may seem like Free Guy is a gaming movie but it is much more than that. Through the film’s relationship with characters like Guy and Buddy (Howery) and Guy and Millie (Comer), as well as all of the characters within the open-world video game,

“[Gaming is] certainly a device that we use to create a world around these characters, but I think the movie is really about stepping out of the shadows and people in the background uniting together to create change in the world,” Reynolds told us. “But above and beyond that, the movie for us was just really an excuse to create something that was just an absolute fastball of joy. We’re living in a world that is oftentimes pretty tough. And certainly, it isn’t easy to read headlines all day and that kind of stuff. So for us, it was really about building a new movie, something that was not based on a comic book, or an IP, or a pre-existing anything. And getting to experience a full summer blockbuster that is an increasingly rare entity these days, that is something that’s wholly original.”

He continued, “It’s a nice feeling to go into a movie theater with, ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen here. Is this going to work? Is it not going to work?’ And thankfully we’re super excited. The early reactions have been beyond our wildest dreams and that’s pretty damn gratifying.”

Comer had feelings similar to her co-star’s.

“I was also surprised by it,” said Comer. “When I first watched it, there’s a particular moment between Guy and Buddy, and I was like, ‘Whoa, I’m not okay!’ [laughs]”

“At the core of it, it’s about human connection,” she added. “It’s about us realizing our own sense of self, and of agency, and of the power in which we hold, if we’d only realize our own worth. I think what’s beautiful about the film is that each character kind of goes on their own journey of self-discovery, which ultimately collectively gets put together in a little bow and towards the end of the film. I think for me, it always felt like it was grounded in reality, in a way. You kind of have the best of both worlds.”

Check out the full interviews below with Reynolds, Comer, Keery and Levy, in which they talk about their essentials if they were stuck in a time loop and more:

Also, check out our interview with Lil Rel Howery here:

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