LOGLINE: A bank teller discovers that he’s actually an NPC (non-player character) inside a brutal, open world video game.
SCREENWRITERS: The first draft of Free Guy was a spec script by MATT LIEBERMAN that appeared on the 2016 Black List, an annual survey of the industry’s best unproduced screenplays. Lieberman’s screenwriting career began in the Disney Feature Writer’s Program, where he worked on various scripts based on IP like Monopoly and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride that are still in development. His first spec sale, 12/24, a found-footage feature about two kids trying to catch Santa Claus on video, eventually became Netflix’s hit comedy The Christmas Chronicles. Lieberman also received story and writing credits on computer animated reboots of The Addams Family (2019) and Scooby Doo (Scoob!, 2020), and has several other projects in development, including reboots of The Jetsons and Rin Tin Tin, as well as the original screenplays Meet the Machines and Meebo and Me. Before going into production, Free Guy was re-written by ZAK PENN, whose other high-concept output includes Last Action Hero, The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, and Ready Player One. [We will be reading and discussing Lieberman’s draft only.]
Registration in advance is required to attend the discussion, and includes a copy of the script sent to you in advance.
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Directed by Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum), Free Guy stars Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), Jodie Comer (Killing Eve), Lil Rel Howery (Get Out), rapper Utkarsh Ambudkar (The Mindy Project), Joe Keery (Stranger Things), and Academy Award winner Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit). The comedy will be released theatrically by Disney’s 20th Century Studios on Friday, August 13.
Rated PG-13. 115 minutes. 109 pages (Lieberman’s undated Black List draft). Sci-Fi Action Comedy.
STEVE KAPLAN will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion of the sci-fi action comedy Free Guy. The industry’s most sought-after expert on comedy, Steve has taught at UCLA, NYU, Yale, and other top universities, and created the HBO Workspace and the HBO New Writers Program. As co-founder and Artistic Director of Manhattan Punch Line Theatre he developed writers such as Peter Tolan (Analyze This), David Crane (Friends), Tracy Poust (Ugly Betty), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea), and Mark O’Donnel (Hairspray). Steve teaches a number of different workshops all over the globe, including The Comedy Intensive, a 2-day workshop that covers the fundamental principles of comedy. Look for his books The Hidden Tools of Comedy and The Comic Hero’s Journey, learn more about Steve and his workshops at kaplancomedy.com, and follow him on Twitter at @skcomedy where you can tweet quick comedy questions at him with the #AskKaplan hashtag.