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On gamers and playing with characters: ‘Free Guy’ director Shawn Levy & co-star Jodie Comer on movie’s appeal

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20th Century Studios/Walt Disney Studios

Ryan Reynolds‘ new action comedy Free Guy is the number-one movie in America, but for director Shawn Levy, it posed a challenge. He had to thread the needle between movie-going gamers who are familiar with elements like power-ups and non-player-characters like Reynolds’ Guy, and audience members who have never held a controller.

“I spoke with a lot of game publishers, coders, game designers, and played and watched a lot of games in preproduction, so getting that right was really important,” Levy said at a recent press event. “But it was also important to make a movie that required no gaming fluency from a viewer who wasn’t a gamer,” he added, “So kind of trying to tick both boxes was always part of the goal.”

For her part, Killing Eve Emmy-winner Comer, who plays a duel role as Mille and her avatar, Molotov Girl, is happy people are finding Free Guy is more than just a quote-unquote video game movie.

“You know…you see it written down a lot…’it’s an action comedy.’ But I just feel like there is so much more to that,” said Comer. “You know, there is actually…so much emotion and, you know, it provokes so much emotion in you.”

For the actress, a big draw was developing her characters with Levy and Reynolds. “There was so much for me to play with,” she explained. “From the moment I got the first draft…to…when we were on set, and we were playing around, and we were changing things…It was such a great experience to be able to also bring my own…ideas to play.”

Free Guy was released by 20th Century Studios, which is owned by ABC News’ parent company, Disney.

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