It might just be a persona, but it seems like Ryan Reynolds is always trying to get one over on his cinematic overlords. As Deadpool, he threw jabs at Fox, Disney, and Marvel—and often, especially in promotional material, the lines of what’s be said by Reynolds’ character and what’s being said by Reynolds himself can get a little blurry. He seems to like it that way.
That hasn’t changed with Free Guy, Reynolds’ long-delayed new movie that our review said “is a Truman Show for the Fortnite age.” (You can read A.A. Dowd’s brilliant summation here.) There’s always a wink at what’s happening in the story, and considering the movie is one of the last produced under the Fox banner as it was absorbed by Disney, sometimes that wink is directed at the ridiculousness of corporate mergers.
We sat down with Reynolds for a video interview recently to talk about just that. You can watch that directly below, or read the transcript provided, for those who just aren’t into the whole “watching moving pictures” thing.
The A.V. Club: This movie was meant to come out right when the pandemic began and had a sort of ping-ponging release day. We’ve been waiting for it for what seems like forever, and you’ve been producing content around it for what seems like forever. What is it like to have it finally out in the world?
Ryan Reynolds: You know, I think it’s just right on time. It’s sort of weird how these things happen and you’re like, “oh, no!” When we first had to delay the movie, we were all living in that moment where you have no idea what’s right around the corner. Releasing movies was quite literally the last thing we needed to be worrying about. So for it to be showing up now, I’m pretty thrilled about it.
AVC: You manage to get some existing IP in the movie, beyond just what you created for Free Guy. Since you had the time, did you make any tweaks? Did you have an extra phone call with Hugh Jackman to convince him to come on board, let’s say?
RR: We didn’t have any desire to change a frame of the movie once it was delayed. We were already locked pretty much at that point, but all those Easter eggs, those were all kind of in there from the jump. Disney bought Fox, which availed us to some pretty weird requests that we threw in to Disney. For some weird and to this day inexplicable reason, Disney allowed us to do some things and use some toys of Disney’s that we would never have thought they would have said yes to or agreed to, but they did. So we ain’t complaining. To us that was really, really appealing, and especially to do it in the context of leaving audiences just filled with joy and allowing audiences to walk out of a movie theater with a big smile on their face without an ending that says “Next movie, we’re going to answer this question or that question.” It was just meant to give you everything that you loved when you went to see Back To The Future as a kid or something like that.
AVC: Speaking of being a kid, what was the first video game you ever got super into? I thought I was the best Dr. Mario player in the world, for instance.
RR: As a kid, we didn’t have video games in my house. I wish we did. But I would go over to my friend Mike Moody’s house and play Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, which I loved. I would walk across the park near where I lived in Vancouver, Canada, and go to this old video store called Pot Of Gold. In the back of that video store, they had Double Dragon, and I would just spend all my paper route money plugging quarters into that game just to keep it going.
Free Guy drops this Friday, exclusively in theaters.