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Director Shawn Levy and actor Ryan Reynolds are teaming up on the sci-fi film The Adam Project, a movie the two first discussed when they were both working on Free Guy, a movie where Reynolds plays the eager Blue Shirt Guy, an NPC in a video game.
The Adam Project, however, is markedly different from Free Guy, especially when it comes to Reynolds’ character. “[Reynold’s character, Adam,] is night-and-day different from the character Ryan played for me in our last movie,” Levy told Vanity Fair. “Blue Shirt Guy is a deeply innocent, naive boy in a man’s body. Whereas Adam Reed in The Adam Project is bruised by life and consequently deeply cynical.”
As the first look images from the Netflix film suggests, Reynolds' Adam Reed is a wounded time traveler from 2050 who ends up back in 2022 with a damaged ship after a rogue search for his girlfriend (Zoe Saldana) went wrong. Adam ends up recruiting the 12-year-old version of himself (Walker Scobell), and the two at first don’t get along, in part because they have different recollections of their relationship with their father, who died in 2021.
The film has all the trimmings of a sci-fi time-traveling adventure, but Levy and Reynolds also shared that the feature touches on some deep character moments for Adam.
“I have this thought about life, which is that we tell ourselves stories,” Reynolds said to Vanity Fair. “So you have this central character who has told himself a story about his own father that isn’t necessarily true. I know that I’ve done that in my life. I’ve told myself stories to justify things about my father and my complicated relationship I had with him before he passed. Reconciling that is really difficult.”
“There’s the notion of confronting your younger self, who might just see things more authentically than you have come to narrate for yourself,” Levy added. “The kid has real power because the kid’s the only one who can call B.S. on this grown man who has wrapped himself up in his ideas about his own history. The kid’s the one who’s living that history in real-time and can say, ‘No, no, you got it wrong. I know because I’m in it.’”
In addition to Reynolds, Saldana, and Scobell, The Adam Project stars Mark Ruffalo as Adam’s father and Jennifer Garner as Adam’s mother. The movie premieres on Netflix on Mar. 11.