Taika Waititi Is Free Guy's Secret Weapon, Here's How He Was Cast As A Perfect Villain

Free Guy's villain is an easy-to-hate game developer played perfectly by the Thor: Love and Thunder director.


Free Guy, the new movie starring Ryan Reynolds as a non-player character in a Grand Theft Auto-like video game, hits theaters on Friday, August 13. When it does, there will be plenty of over-the-top action and an unending stream of laughs thanks to its heroes. If you don't believe that, check out GameSpot's review of the film. However, Free Guy will also introduce the movie's bad guy, a villainous but utterly ridiculous and hilarious video game designer named Antwan, played by none other than Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi.

While Antwan exists in the movie's real world, rather than inside of the game with Reynold's character Guy, the distinct energy Waititi infuses into the role is unmistakable and so engaging that even though they're not face-to-face, it's hard to imagine a better foil for the hero. According to director Shawn Levy, though, Waititi was definitely not someone he had in mind for the role, originally.

"I had a list of Antwan ideas and one day [Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively] reached out to me, they're like, 'Okay, here's a crazy idea. I don't know if it's going to work. Don't know if you like it. What about Taika Waititi?'" he remembered, while speaking to GameSpot. "And I'm like, 'Wait, the director whose movies I love?' And they're like, 'Yeah, yeah, but he's also a sometimes actor. But more to the point, he's just like a unicorn of strange uniqueness. You should meet him.'"

No Caption Provided

Levy took their word for it and arranged a meeting over FaceTime. Luckily, that was all it took to realize that he was the right person for the part.

"In the course of a 12-minute conversation, he was like lounging upside down on a couch." the director recalled. "He was in down dog, he's doing yoga, he's upside down in a handstand. He was so kinetic and unusual. But also, by the way, smart, charismatic, and with such presence. I was like, 'This is going to be one of the most memorable movie villains that I've ever seen.'"

And, ultimately, Levy got more than he could ever ask for. "He shows up on set, we had a really funny script, but then he would improvise. And he's like, 'Is that cool?' I'm like, 'Give me another one,'" he said. "And literally by day two, much less day 14 or whatever, he was doing 20 alternates for every joke."

From Waititi's point of view, it's easy to see why he was enjoying making Antwan as hilariously detestable as possible. "I feel like my characters are usually quite nice. Like, I just play versions of my mom in all my characters," he explained during a press conference for the film. "So this was sort of like there's a version of my mom who I think had not grown up, I suppose."

No Caption Provided

Now we just have to get our hands on the extra-long cut of the movie, filled with Waititi's ramblings, in-character. Eventually, Levy hopes to release a 30-minute supercut of the character's best improvised moments. Until then, though, enjoy the minute-and-a-half clip above for a taste of what to expect when you see Antwan on the big screen.

Free Guy is in theaters Friday.

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 3 comments about this story