Ryan Reynolds turns Boston into a giant video game in “Free Guy” trailer

The action-comedy was filmed in Boston's Financial District over the summer.

Meet Guy. The protagonist of next summer’s action-comedy “Free Guy” bears this generic name for a reason.

As the character (Ryan Reynolds) discovers in the film’s first trailer, released Saturday, he’s not just a happy-go-lucky bank teller, but a non-playable character (NPC) in an open-world video game. Programmed to get shot at, blown up, and kicked around by gamers, Guy rebels against his assigned role, linking up with other players and becoming an accidental hero in the process.

Shawn Levy (“Night at the Museum”) directed, with “Stranger Things” breakout Joe Keery, “Killing Eve” star Jodie ComerTaika Waititi (“Jojo Rabbit”), Lil Rel Howery (“Get Out”), Utkarsh Ambudkar (“Blindspotting”), and Sports Illustrated cover model Camille Kostek co-starring.


Reynolds, best known for playing a ribald Marvel antihero in “Deadpool,” unveiled the trailer at Comic Con Experience, a Brazilian fan expo held in São Paulo last Thursday through Sunday.

“We really wanted to bring to the world a modern day ‘Back to the Future’ for modern generations,” Reynolds reportedly told attendees. He cited “Back to the Future” filmmaker Robert Zemeckis as an inspiration, also noting Will Ferrell’s character in “Elf” and Peter Sellers’ lead in “Being There” as influences on his idealistic Guy.

“’Free Guy’ is my favorite movie I’ve ever made,” added Reynolds. “And that means a lot to me, because I made ‘Deadpool.’”

The “video-game characters are people too” premise isn’t particularly new territory, given the popularity of “Ready Player One,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” and “Tron: Legacy” in recent years.

But Boston audiences may be particularly keen to check out Reynolds’ tongue-in-cheek take on the set-up. “Free Guy” filmed around Boston’s Financial District earlier this year, and the first trailer reimagines Liberty Square and Kilby Street as the in-game locale of Free City. (The Globe’s own Exchange Place headquarters are decimated by a crashing helicopter within the trailer’s first 20 seconds.) Other scenes were shot in downtown Worcester and inside the former Framingham Bank building.


“Free Guy” is also locally tied in terms of its cast. Keery was raised in Newburyport before being cast in “Stranger Things,” which Levy executive-produces for Netflix. Kostek, meanwhile, grew up in Connecticut before becoming a New England Patriots cheerleader; she’s also the long-time girlfriend of retired Patriots legend Rob Gronkowski.

The film opens July 3, 2020.


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com