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    Behind-The-Scenes Facts About "Free Guy"

    Free up space in your mind to store these nuggets about Free Guy.

    1. The first draft of Free Guy was written in 2016 by screenwriter Matt Lieberman.

    A man standing

    2. As for the initial idea that jumpstarted this, Lieberman said, “What if you have the cheat codes to life? What if you could walk around and see power-ups? Oh, then you would be in Grand Theft Auto.”

    Scene from a video game

    3. Lieberman framed the game company and its executives on The Cabin in the Woods.

    A forest cabin in the first and a control room in the second pic

    4. The draft was written in around three weeks in 2016 and generated lots of interest in Hollywood. After remaining in cold storage for some time, Fox ended up buying it.

    The logo of a movie studio

    5. Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 presidential elections was responsible for putting the script in cold storage.

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    6. Once Ryan Reynolds got on board, he breathed new life into the script. Lieberman says, "The script went from just being in development to 100 miles per hour."

    A man sitting

    7. Guy was a cynical character in the original script. Reynolds changed him into a satisfied-with-his-life character. According to him, “Why do we put up with this? Guy should be happy where he is.”

    A man walking in a street

    8. The second major change that Reynolds made to the script was the addition of Dude (Guy 2.0) to the movie.

    Two men sitting on a beach

    9. Around 80% of the lines of Antwan (Taika Waititi) didn't make it to the screen. He improvised most of his lines.

    A man talks to his employee

    10. In the original script, Guy and Millie/Molotov Girl stay together till the end. It was here that Zak Penn stepped in and changed the ending, which finally made it to the big screen.

    A man standing

    11. This is Zak Penn's second movie that is centered on a video game. The first was Ready Player One.

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    12. The movie also saw a final cameo from the beloved and late host of Jeopardy, Alex Trebek.

    An old man standing

    13. Trebek's cameo was born in the editing room after the shooting was over. Levy asked himself how he could "make it clear that Blue Shirt Guy has gone viral and is now known in the culture.”

    A woman participant on a TV quiz show

    14. Most of the action taking place in the background while Reynolds and/or Comer are walking and talking is totally real and not CGI.

    A man rappelling into a window and a man on fire falls out

    15. Shawn Levy was first offered the movie in 2016 but refused to direct it, as he felt that someone with a gaming background would be more suited for the job.

    A man standing

    16. It was Hugh Jackman who introduced Ryan Reynolds and Shawn Levy to each other, which resulted in this collaboration.

    Two men standing.

    17. Years later Ryan Reynolds approached Levy with the script, completely unaware that Levy had previously passed on the same movie.

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    18. The experience of watching Back to the Future was what motivated both Reynolds and Levy to make this movie.

    19. Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer had never met each other before this movie. The first time they met each other was when Comer came for the audition.

    A man and woman crossing a street

    20. This is the first non-IP, non-sequel movie that Disney has released in a very long time.

    21. In an interview, Ryan Reynolds revealed that "Molotov Girl's silhouette and look was based on Bonnie Parker," the female half of the murderous duo Bonnie and Clyde.

    A woman standing in a room full of guns and motorcycles.

    22. Molotov Girl's character was initially written as a "kind of punk rock, nondescript sort of goth character." It was changed later because it felt dated.

    A woman in a jumper

    23. Comer went for the audition right after she finished shooting for Killing Eve Season 3. "I'd just wrapped Killing Eve Season 3 the night before. Flew to New York in the morning," Comer said in an interview.

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    24. It was the Disney-Fox merger that made it possible for the movie to pack oodles of surprises and cameos. The production team literally wrote a letter addressed to Disney stating, "Dear Sir and Madams, would you give us the privilege of using this or this or this?"

    screenshot image of the walt disney logo and a post regarding disneys acquisition

    25. The whole movie was shot in Boston — especially in the Financial District.

    view of downtown boston

    26. Both Shawn Levy and Ryan Reynolds stay in New York and would commute on an Amtrak train between Boston and New York. A lot of rewrite happened on this commute.

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    27. Comer was given a PlayStation 4 before the shooting started to prepare for her role. She did play some games on it but found it very stressful, as she "would take it way too seriously."

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    28. On her PlayStation 4, Comer played Spider-Man, GTA, and Red Dead Redemption 2. She didn't like GTA but absolutely loved Red Dead Redemption 2, which she would play with her dad.

    Scene from a video game

    29. Comer was obsessed with The Sims while growing up. The Sims is one of the games that directly influenced Free Guy.

    Scene from a video game

    30. Not only Comer but the crew, too, played lots of video game for research for Free City. Levy used to watch video game videos on YouTube and Twitch. Reynolds played lots of Super Mario for the movie.

    Scene from a video game

    31. The stunt for the scene where Guy smashes through the window on a motorbike and then slides along with the bike was performed by Reynolds himself. And he did it thrice!

    A man sliding on a motorbike

    32. The scene where Taika Waititi's character makes fun of exploit-the-IP culture was written by Levy and was a deliberate commentary on Hollywood's "addiction to IP."

    View this video on YouTube

    20th Century Studios / Via

    33. In order to make it easier to differentiate between the game world and the real world, they were shot with different types of cameras and lenses.

    The virtual world of the game was shot with a large-format camera fitted with spherical lenses, while the real world was shot with multiple camera types and anamorphic lenses. Even the color scheme was markedly different, with the game world being richly colored while the real world was "five different shades of grey and very murky."

    34. Guy's apartment has lots of minute details that make it clear that it is a virtual, inside-the-game construct.

    A man eating in his kitchen

    35. Tobman, in an interview with Vulture, revealed the names of the video games that inspired him in designing the game world. They are Anno, Fortnite (“in terms of the design of the world”), Grand Theft Auto (for its “palette of violence and texture”), Minecraft, and Shadow of the Colossus (for its “lonely” quality). And the ultimate inspirer of all, Red Dead Redemption 2.

    A scene from a video game

    36. Levy and Reynolds called and texted their famous contacts for the voice cameos. The text would read, "Hey, do you want to do this part? It’s voice only. You can literally send it in as a voice memo from your iPhone, and I’ll put it in my movie. It will go to theaters like that.”

    A man dancing on stage

    37. Tina Fey, John Krasinski, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, and Hugh Jackman have voice-only cameos. Did you catch any of them?

    38. Aaron Reed, the actor who plays Dude, was discovered in an interesting manner. The VFX supervisor Swen Gillberg revealed, “We found the actor who plays Dude in a Google search and I recognized him from the gym where I go in L.A."

    39. Originally, Ryan Reynolds was supposed to play Dude as well, but the plan was dropped as the director wanted to hasten things up.

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    40. Molotov Girl’s stash house took three months of construction.

    A hall of full of expensive cars and some people fighting with each other

    41. While shooting in Boston, Reynolds texted his buddy Chris Evans (who was also in Boston shooting for Defending Jacob) to visit the set and shoot a scene. Evans obliged.

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    42. The actual shield from Captain America movies wasn't used for Chris Evans' cameo.

    A round shield made of metal

    43. Jodie Comer met her boyfriend while shooting for the movie.

    jodie comer smiling for a portrait

    44. Before filming this movie, Comer didn't know what an Easter egg is (other than the usual literal meaning).

    A woman talking to a man

    45. This is the second project when Joe Keery and Shawn Levy have worked together. The first one is of course Stranger Things, where Levy serves as an executive producer as well as a director.

    A man in a cop's uniform

    46. The movie is also a statement against guns. Nowhere in the movie does Guy use guns. Levy explained, "I liked the idea that Guy never uses a gun in the entire movie. In fact, he's literally taking guns off the street as part of his leveling up."

    A man wearing a gas mask shooting a rifle

    47. The gun used by Josh Brolin's Cable in Deadpool 2 was also supposed to make a cameo. The production team even got the gun from the props warehouse of 20th Century Studios and shot a scene with it.

    A man holding a very large gun

    48. This is only the second time that Utkarsh Ambudkar and Lil Rel Howery have been in the same film. The first one was the 2019 movie Brittany Runs a Marathon.

    A woman texting on her iPhone

    49. And yes, it is Jodie Comer singing Mariah Carey's "Fantasy" in the movie. She was excited to record the cover in a recording studio where the Beatles had once recorded their song.

    Jodie Comer singing Fantasy? Yes please. #FreeGuy

    Twitter: @VancityReynolds

    Comer said, "So I was in L.A. and I went to Capitol Records. And then I stood in a booth where The Beatles had recorded, so it was pretty cool."

    50. It was Ryan Reynolds' idea to use Mariah Carey's "Fantasy" as the main theme song of the movie.

    Me watching #FreeGuy for the 9th time in a row! 🎵 I'm in heaven 🎵 @VancityReynolds

    Via Twitter: @MariahCarey

    Shawn Levy revealed, "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." Carey too recently announced on Twitter that she has watched Free Guy nine times!

    51. Reynolds had initially put a song called "Your Love" by the Outfield in the script. But Carey's "Fantasy" came up on his playlist, and he felt that this is the song that embodies the movie's message.

    View this video on YouTube

    Mariah Carey / Via

    In Reynolds' own words: "I write to music anyway, and I initially put a song in the script by The Outfield called ‘Your Love.’ It’s an old ’80s tune. It’s great, but it just didn’t have that epic scale I was looking for. And then ‘Fantasy’ just came on my playlist and everything clicked in.”