‘Free Guy’ Director Shawn Levy Says ‘Gamer Expectations’ Are What Make Video Game Movies So Hard To Make

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Prior to starting production on his upcoming film Free Guy, director Shawn Levy (Stranger Things, Night at the Museum series) nearly worked on a very different kind of video game: the action-adventure title Uncharted. However, Levy ultimately left the jungle-shoot-out-filled franchise after his working title Free Guy gained some traction and none other than Ryan Reynolds joined the project. While Levy explained his departure was due to scheduling conflicts and his prior commitment to Free Guy, in a recent interview with Gizmodo Levy further expanded upon his departure.

In the interview, Levy explained why the idea of working on Free Guy was so alluring and the timing not working out for the Uncharted series actually proved to be a good thing for the director. In addition, he also weighed in on just why making a good video game movie is such a challenge, and we gotta’ say, it makes a whole lot of sense:

“What I know from experience — from having walked a bit of road with Nathan Drake and that Uncharted title — is you can tell a story on screen, but you have to be faithful to the game expectations and gamer expectations of the original franchise. That will always put guardrails on your storytelling. Look, I can’t wait to see Uncharted also, but for me as a director, to have absolute freedom, absolute creative freedom where I’m beholden to nothing except the ideas that were exciting to Ryan and me, that was really fun.”

It’s no secret video game movies, while aplenty, are a bit notorious for not always being the best. While we’ve had our speculation on why — and how the next wave of them could change all that — it’s interesting to hear the perspective of a director who nearly worked on one of the most anticipated ones. While like Levy we’re excited for the upcoming Uncharted film — and of course Free Guy, which hits theaters August 13 — maybe this is the reminder that with less expectations and “guardrails” for video game-based movies, we might just get ones we enjoy even more.