Adult Contemporary

Ryan Reynolds and director Shawn Levy on how Mariah’s “Fantasy” became the “engine” of ‘Free Guy’

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20th Century Studios/Walt Disney Studios

If you’ve been following the long path to the theaters for the oft-pandemic-delayed action comedy Free Guy, you’ll know that Mariah Carey‘s hit “Fantasy” plays a big role.

The movie has Ryan Reynolds‘ character Guy discovering he’s actually a background character — or NPC — in a violent Grand Theft Auto-like came called Free City.  

“Fantasy” is peppered throughout the film: not only does Guy start every day with it, but he bonds with Jodie Comer‘s mysterious avatar MolotovGirl over the song — and the Killing Eve Emmy winner even sings it herself at one point. Director Shawn Levy explains just how that came to be.

“Ryan is kind of a maestro of the odd, ‘random-but inspired’ song idea,” Levy said at a recent virtual press event. “He is…obsessive about it. And early on when we are 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.”

Reynolds adds, “We’d written in The Outfield‘s ‘Your Love’…and it ended up not just fitting right. It’s a great song but [it was] not fitting right. But then Mariah Carey’s ‘Fantasy’ just came like a lightning bolt and just drove — it was like an engine for so much of the movie. It was really fantastic.”

Also starring Oscar-winner Taika Waititi, Levy’s Stranger Things star Joe KeeryPitch Perfect‘s Utkarsh Ambudkar and a host of other spoiler-ready celebrity cameos, Free Guy opens today.

The film was produced by 20th Century Studios, which is owned by Disney, parent company of ABC News.

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