Free Guy, the action comedy movie starring Ryan Reynolds as a regular dude who discovers he’s actually living in a shoot-’em-up video game, is finally out after a lengthy pandemic-induced delay. In order to help promote the movie, Reynolds took to his YouTube channel to show viewers a glimpse of Dude, his swole alter ego who looks an awful lot like Reynolds, except for the fact that his body is Incredibly Hulk levels of jacked.
Reynolds played the entire thing straight-faced in the video while not-so-subtly parodying the body transformations that Hollywood’s leading men go through in order to prepare for action roles. “I start every day with a protein bomb made exclusively of human muscle,” he said. “It’s completely organic and illegal.”
Of course, in reality, that’s Reynolds’ head digitally superimposed onto someone else’s torso. And now we know the identity of Dude’s body from the neck down: Aaron Reed, an actor and former competitive bodybuilder with a background in WWE.
“What we did was early on, we had this idea, Ryan and I,” explained director Shawn Levy in a recent interview. “This character was not in the script, but we had this idea, what if Ryan has to fight Ryan? But what if it’s an upgrade? What if it’s Ryan 2.0? Taller, more muscular, more hairless, more streaks and tips hair, so we literally cast a bodybuilder out of LA. And his body was just sick and massive, and he made Ryan look like a fragile little feather.”
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Reed, for his part, “had a blast” working with Reynolds and the rest of the crew on Free Guy, even if his face never actually appears in the movie. “Working with the stunt guys was so fun,” he recently told Bodybuilding.com. “Those guys are my speed because they’re always wrestling and messing around. Whenever we had down time, I’d ask them to show me cool stuff.”
He added, however, that the hiatus meant he had to get his “Dude” physique back in an accelerated timeline: “We’d filmed everything in the summer of 2019, and then had to come back in January of 2020 to film additional scenes,” he said. “I was in awesome shape at the peak of summer, but every year I cruise-control in November and December. So when I found out we were coming back, I only had about three weeks really to get in shape.”
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