Shawn Levy: 'Stranger Things' S4 is the 'most cinematically ambitious season' yet (exclusive)

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Watch: Free Guy director Shawn Levy updates on Stranger Things S4

As he prepares for his summer comedy blockbuster Free Guy to land in UK cinemas this week, director Shawn Levy is already looking ahead to the return of another of his big projects, Stranger Things.

Fans’ hopes of a return to Hawkins before Christmas were dashed recently by the announcement that season four will be screened next year. 

But Levy, who also executive produces the series, was confident when he spoke to Yahoo that it will be more than worth the wait. “We wish we could air Stranger Things 4 right now but the truth is, like everyone else in the world, we were forced to adjust our plans in the face of something well beyond our control and far bigger than all of us,” he said. 

“The delay is also due to the fact that season four is by far the most cinematically ambitious season we’ve ever tried to do. It’s exceptional, but it takes time to do it right.”

Millie Bobby Brown in the third series of Stranger Things (Netflix)
Millie Bobby Brown in the third series of Stranger Things (Netflix)

In the meantime, Free Guy reunites him with Stranger Things’ Joe Keery, aka Steve Harrington, who plays a video game designer. 

In the film, Ryan Reynolds plays bland bank teller Guy, who discovers he’s an NPC (non-playing character) in Keery’s game. But, as he’s developed a mind of his own, he can question all the extraordinary events that go on around him – daily bank robberies, massive explosions and violence. At the same time, Keery and a fellow designer, played by Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer, have to enter the game themselves to win back their stolen ideas – with a little help from Guy.

As well as working with Keery before, Levy has another film with Reynolds, The Adam Project, due for release in 2022. And he admits he finds 'repeated collaborations' creatively satisfying.

(L-R) Joe Keery, Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi, director Shawn Levy and Utkarsh Ambudkar on the set of 20th Century Studios’ FREE GUY. Photo by Alan Markfield. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All Rights Reserved.
(L-R) Joe Keery, Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi, director Shawn Levy and Utkarsh Ambudkar on the set of Free Guy. (Alan Markfield/20th Century Studios)

“Early in my career, I made two movies with Steve Martin [Cheaper By The Dozen, The Pink Panther], three with Ben Stiller and Robin Williams [The Night At The Museum franchise] and I’ve done two with Tina Fey [Date Night, This Is Where I Leave You],” he said. “I love going to work with people I trust and respect.”

For him, Reynolds and Keery are both “really talented and capable of great range” and their attitude to work chimes with his own approach. 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 03: Ryan Reynolds and director Shawn Levy attend the
Ryan Reynolds and director Shawn Levy attend the "Free Guy" New York Premiere, 2021 (Arturo Holmes/WireImage)

“They like coming to work, giving it their full focus and energies and they know that it doesn’t need to be anguished. It can be hard working and intense but it can also be joyous. I’ve come to believe that the atmosphere on set comes across on the screen and Free Guy was a very buoyant, joyous, warm set and those were all qualities that I’m thrilled to see have ended up in the movie.”

Free Guy is released in cinemas on 13 August. Watch Deadpool and Korg reacting to the Free Guy trailer.

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