This is one for the gamers.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jodie Comer is on board to act opposite Ryan Reynolds in the sci-fi action comedy Free Guy, which has now received a green light from 20th Century Fox. Directed by Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Stranger Things), the film will see Reynolds play a man who realises he’s living in a video game and who teams up with game avatar Molotov Girl (Comer) to save their world from being shut down.
Known for her roles in E4’s comedy drama My Mad Fat Diary and BBC’s Dr. Foster, this will be the Stylist cover star’s American feature film debut; she was elevated to the big leagues by her portrayal of Villanelle in the critically hailed BBC America show Killing Eve.
While Reynold’s male lead is an NPC (non-playable character), as is his sceptical best friend played by Get Out break-out Lil Rel, it’s the woman that made the cut as an avatar (a character you can choose to play the game as). That might have something to do with the game being created by a woman: Molotov Girl’s real life counterpart, a ‘mousy’ programmer who developed the game only to have it stolen from her.
Written by Matt Lieberman, Reynolds and Levy will also be producing, and Stranger Things’ star Joe Keery has signed on in a supporting role.
Picked up as a spec script in 2016, shooting is due to begin in April, so it will be a while before we get a glimpse of Comer’s Molotov Girl. But we’re hedging our bets that she’s not just an overly sexualised ass-kicking video vixen. Research has found that playable female video game characters are becoming more common and less sexualised and put that down to an increase in female players. Last year, Barclays predicted that women would account for almost a third of the projected £3.5 billion annual spend in the UK on video games, and women make up 45% of US video gamers . Despite this there’s still the big fat myth that women don’t play video games.
It’s great to see not only a female lead portrayed within the fictional game but also a female programmer. When Google Play set out to find out all about women and gaming they found that only 27.8% of the gaming industry identify as female and only 23% of women and 40% of men think there’s equal opportunity for women in the gaming industry. With Comer’s character having her game stolen from her, this film doesn’t appear to shy away from the realities of the gaming industry for women.
We’re pretty excited to meet both Molotov Girl and the as-yet-unnamed programmer that created her. You can be sure with Comer bringing them to life that they’re going to be something special.