Jodie Comer is the first to admit that she’s not a gamer. “I just hold the console and run my fingers over everything to see what happens,” she says with a laugh over Zoom. So her latest part, opposite Ryan Reynolds in Free Guy, was a bit of a learning curve for the British actor, who’s best known for her Emmy Award-winning performance in Killing Eve. The movie is centred on Guy (Reynolds), a non-player character in an open-world video game who decides to take on a new role in an attempt to save his virtual world. This self-referential action comedy takes place in both the real world and a video-gaming one, and Comer plays Millie, a gamer, and Molotov Girl, Millie’s avatar in the game. With its impressive special effects, Reynolds’ boyish charm, Taika Waititi’s priceless villain performance and Comer kicking some serious ass, Free Guy is laugh-out-loud funny and offers thoughtful insight into the gaming world and its community. We spoke with Comer about what drew her to the role, being part of such a huge production and her two characters.

On being drawn to this project

“I think it was a few things. The script felt very fresh and was like nothing I had read before, with the real world being so intertwined with the video game. When I watch movies [of the genre], they’re either in the video game or in reality, but this was a merging of the two. And it made me laugh—it’s an action comedy, but it’s also a romcom, and it has so much heart at the centre of it.”

On her first leading role in a film

“I was absolutely terrified. I think a lot of that came from my own insecurity. Having predominantly done television before, I spent a lot of years looking at what other people were doing and thinking maybe I wasn’t a film actor. Then I got this opportunity. I thought it was going to be so different from television, but then I realized that the people are the same and the way you prepare is the same—it’s just on a much grander scale.”

On being on-set

“There was no stress or ego—everyone was coming at this with love and just having fun and enjoying it. I think you can’t go wrong when you come into a project with that attitude. And let’s be honest: Ryan is hilarious.”

On playing two characters

“It was so important that the characters felt true and that it was clear that Molotov Girl was a creation of Millie’s. The most challenging part was probably the physicality, because the moment someone tells me to be cool, my body literally stiffens up. The thing with video- game characters is that it’s so much about how they move and react, so I worked a lot with the stunt team.”

On the film’s universality

“It celebrates the gaming world, but anybody can watch this. You don’t have to be well versed in or enjoy video games to enjoy this film, which is done so perfectly. I definitely have a new-found appreciation for the detail that goes into these games.”

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