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

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 in the film — and it’s all because of star Ryan Reynolds.

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

“Fantasy” is peppered throughout the film: Guy starts each day with it and bonds with Jodie Comer‘s mysterious avatar MolotovGirl over the song.  At one point, the Killing Eve Emmy winner even sings it herself. Now, director Shawn Levy explains how “Fantasy” became the movie’s theme.

“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 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.”

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…– it was like an engine for so much of the movie. It was really fantastic.”

Mariah has given her stamp of approval: She tweeted a clip from the movie in which Reynolds’ character hears “Fantasy” when Comer’s character passes him and says, “I love that song.” 

I love that song too!” she captioned the clip. “Come see #Fantasy  on the big screen in @FreeGuyMovie, in theaters Friday!”

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


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