This post contains spoilers about the movie Free Guy. Ryan Reynolds' latest action-comedy Free Guy hit theaters this weekend and despite the lagging box office due to the sharp rise in COVID cases due to the delta variant, the amiable film managed to pull $28 million at the box office and has Disney considering a sequel. The combination of the mass appeal of video games and genuine heart proved to be a winning combination, and Reynolds has been open about how he thinks its the best film he's ever made.
"I do think it's the best movie-making experience that I've ever had, easily, but also the best movie I've ever done," Reynolds said in an interview with director Shawn Levy. "It's the most pertinent to our times, in that sense. Where I feel Deadpool was a movie that was pertinent to the comic book culture when it came out, this really to me speaks in a broader spectrum of where we are in the world and how we are in the world."
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One unexpected thing that made the film so delightful? A cameo from the late Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek. Levy opened up to Entertainment Weekly about how they managed to film the cameo before Trebek's passing. "In retrospect, to have this legendary gentlemen be a part of our movie forever and for our movie to, in any way, be connected to this icon and the legacy that he leaves behind, it's a privilege," Levy said. "It's really an honor, and we are grateful that circumstance made that possible."
In the film, Reynolds plays a video game character named Guy who becomes sentient and breaks free from his programming, doing good deeds in the game of his own free will. His antics become so popular that he becomes a figure beyond the video game world and is the subject of a Jeopardy! question: "Who is Blue Shirt Guy?"
"We were literally sitting in the editing room and we were talking about, 'We need to convey to the audience that blue shirt guy has become a cultural phenomenon. How can we do that concisely?'" Levy explained. "One answer that came to us is, if you become an answer on Jeopardy!, you're a cultural reality. You have achieved a certain level of cultural embed."
Levy admitted that he was "disappointed" that he wasn't able to direct the game show legend himself as they sent a small crew to film on the Jeopardy! stage, but he said that he felt like Trebek's signature decency was the perfect fit for Free Guy. "There is a positivity and a fairly profound rejection of cynicism that informs the character of Guy and the entire movie that we've made," said Levy.