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Shane A Bassett interviews Joe Keery

Article image for Shane A Bassett interviews Joe Keery

In conversation with Joe Keery

behind the scenes; 

By Shane A. Bassett 
Blockbuster FREE GUY was held back over a year due to filmmakers refusing it to premiere on a streaming service denying audiences to experience the high concept fun in a cinema on big screen. TV series Stranger Things star Joe Keery talked with the Movie Analyst Shane A. Bassett about his learned experience on-set and much more, including he cannot grow a real moustache.
Good morning, Joe, pleasure to meet you, you’ve come a long way since Chicago Fire (series) congratulations on your career so far. In Free Guy, your character ‘Keys’ is a voice of reason with a romantic edge to him, have you ever done anything romantic for someone?
JK – definitely, I think everyone possibly has, right. I do like that about Keys being a hopeless romantic.
Smartest guy in the room?
JK – yes Shane, but doesn’t have the guts to say it. His personality drives an opportunity for a nice subtle arc starting from being downtrodden to where he goes. That wasn’t in the script when he read it. As the movie developed, writers took advantage of his charisma, it becomes a nice little cherry by the end of the movie.
What do you like about Keys, as a person?
JK – I like how he is loyal to Jo’s (Jodie Comer) character Millie. Athre start of the movie he’s disillusioned, kind of given up so the thing that drags him out is friendship and their bond.
Is there any other similarity between yourself and Keys?
JK – you have to normally bring a little of yourself into each character you play in order to feel real. It’s like this, I understood his disillusionment putting your heart and soul into something only to be disappointed. As an actor being attached to a script or auditioning for projects, ninety nine percent of the time it’s a no.
How does it feel to be part of this big project?
JK – Really lucky to be part of it, exciting to be honest, I’ve worked with Shawn (Levy) director before on Stranger Things, which was the most amazing time.  When asked to do Free Guy audition, I did not hesitate knowing Ryan was going to be in it also as a massive fan, just hoping I would book the part. Feeling fortunate to get it.
Do you play video games, also how do you enjoy the combination of reality and gaming in the movie?
JK – That’s something I believe audiences will enjoy, the commentary on modern gaming of people interacting as avatars as opposed on how they react in real life. When you see a player in Free City a big guy wielding a gun, then cutting to the controller, there’s a stark difference. I have a basic understanding of game culture growing up playing a few. I tapped out in game cube era.
You dressed as a cop in one scene entering the game, what character would choose to be if featured in a game, still a cop?
JK – Don’t think I’d be a cop, maybe Darth Vader or something from Star Wars. I did enjoy playing the cop in Free Guy, a lot of fun, I felt the stereotypical Chicago cop come out in me.
It did not look like a real moustache or did you grow one.?
JK – No Shane I did not, hate to break your heart but that was completely fake (laughs) I don’t think I could grow that if you gave me twenty-five years.
Who are your acting role models?
JK – Phillip Seymour Hoffman definitely, he was so versatile looking for variable roles, that’s what I always tried to do, look for something different to the last project and to work with talented directors who have something to say. There’s actually a long list.
Free Guy was a delayed release, how do you feel it’s out?
JK – Extremely excited it will be on the big screen. Both Ryan and Shawn really wanted that to happen. They felt, and after going to a screening I agree with them that the best way to enjoy a film like this is in a full audience. There’re moments that ‘land’ in a crowd. This was the first film I had seen for eighteen-months in a theatre, a joyful experience for movie lovers such as myself.
Where do you see Keys evolve into his future?
JK – Hard to imagine really, I do have slight ideas of where he could go, although that was a nice ending and the last time you see him there’s so many possibilities where the character could go. Most exciting was collaborating with cast, crew and Shawn. An amazing artist, I hold high respect for his deep understanding of how movies are made including attention to detail to characters making him a helpful allie to his actors. Anything he is working on I’d love to be involved with.
Yourself and Jodie Comer had, When Harry met Sally, evolving type chemistry. She must have been great to work with.
JK – She’s incredibly, really is. She was another person signed on when I found out about the project, finding out I’d be working a lot with her was hugely appealing. My reference for her was Killing Eve, then pleasantly surprised how down to earth normal, not a diva or anything just a great person. We had fun during scenes.
Also, a producer, Ryan (Reynolds) has explained he wants everyone to be comfortable and safe on set.
JK – He does just that, importantly creates a safe space as a kind of leader. If you don’t feel comfortable on a set, it’s really difficult to do your best work so that’s his primary concern from the top. It’s reflected in the final product as everybody was able to perform at their height. It became a great lesson for me whilst watching Taika (Waititi) as well, he’s not afraid taking risks on set going 100 miles an hour. Amazing that level of confidence and to observe, because starting out in our industry it’s easy to become precious about every single thing you do. These guys are high level professionals.
I learned a ton at this movie.


Rated M 115 min
Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Joe Keery, Taika Waititi
A 20th Century Films release
Luke Grant