Ryan Reynolds says Mariah Carey proves you should meet your heroes

She was pretty understanding after he used her song without permission.
August 12, 2021 4:41 p.m. EST
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Ryan Reynolds' upcoming action-comedy film Free Guy is all about "Fantasy." The Canadian actor plays a bank teller named Guy who discovers he's actually a non-playable character living in an open-world video game.

The movie heavily features Mariah Carey's 1995 hit song "Fantasy," which Reynolds says serves as both inspiration for the characters and a plot device. It's been a staple throughout the trailers.

“The Mariah Carey thing was something we, early on, wrote into the script… It became kind of an engine for the characters, it became part of the plot. The song is actually part of the plot for the movie,” he explained to Etalk's Tyrone Edwards.

After making “Fantasy” the anthem for Free Guy, Reynolds said that they actually forgot to ask the Grammy-winning singer for permission to use the song. Whoops!

“We were way downfield before we circled back and made sure that Mariah was cool with it,” director Shawn Levy said.

But Reynolds was able to call the "Hero" singer and speak to her about the song, debunking that old "don't meet your heroes" advice at the same time.

“I was lucky enough to get her on the phone and sort of explain the situation. She was super accommodating and just everything you’d hope Mariah Carey would be in-person and she was that,” Reynolds revealed.

The song brings all those feel-good vibes to the movie and Levy said that’s exactly what they wanted.

“That’s the feeling we wanted to pack into Free Guy was just audience, feel good, delight. Just a good old fashion great time at the movies. If Mariah doesn’t capture that with that song, I don’t know what does,” Levy said.  

When Reynolds first found the script, he immediately knew he wanted to work with Canadian director Shawn Levy to bring the fantasy world to life.

“I read the script and I immediately — Shawn and I have had a bunch of near misses over the years. We’ve always wanted to work together. I read the script, I loved the world and I thought there was no better person to kind of walk that tight rope between scale spectacle and then really intense character work as Shawn. He builds worlds so beautifully. We met, we both fell in love with it instantly,” Reynolds said.

But there could be a little something-something that causes a rift between the Canadian duo and that "something" is named Hugh Jackman.

Free Guy viewers should note that Reynolds’ frenemy makes a cameo and Tyrone wanted to know which side of the feud Levy was on.

“He’s done movies with Hugh too,” Reynolds said.

“Bro, I’m torn between two lovers. I don’t know. The truth is they are my two absolute favourite collaborators of all time because, in addition to being great actors and movie stars, they’re just good guys. I’m the lucky one because I can actually call them both a friend,” Levy added.

“When we get out of this interview I’m going into an unabashed rage spiral. I’mma break some stuff,” Reynolds quipped. 

Free Guy hits theatres Friday, August 13.

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