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Lil’ Rel Howery on being Ryan Reynolds’ best friend “in my head,” and in ‘Free Guy’

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20th Century Studios/Walt Disney Pictures

In Free Guy, comic and Get Out scene stealer Lil’ Rel Howery plays Buddy, the best friend of Ryan Reynolds‘ Guy — two pals who don’t know they’re actually background characters in a video game. 

Rel explains being Reynolds’ friend onscreen was easy: “…Ryan Reynolds has been my friend in my head for a very long time,” he laughed at a recent virtual press conference. “And to this day I still don’t think he believes me. Like no, I’m a legit fan.”

Rel said to Reynolds, “When you started winning everything for Deadpool, I was calling people, like, ‘I told y’all! I told you Ryan Reynolds was a superstar!'” The admission cracked up the rest of the cast, including an embarrassed Ryan. 

Superfan Rel admitted he doesn’t get nervous meeting famous people, but he was for Ryan. “I watch Definitely Maybe maybe twice a month. I still do,” the comic admits. “[It’s] one of my favorite movies.”

He adds, “…[O]ne of those fun things I…love about this business is when you just get the chance to work with people you look up to and not just as an actor, but just as a fan…So I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna take this moment. I don’t know if Ryan’s going to be my friend after this [movie], but doing this, I’m ’bout to be best friends.”

For his part, Reynolds deadpanned, “As soon as this camera’s off, it’s over, Rel.”

Ryan added on a more serious note that he was “lucky” to work with Rel and the rest of the cast, and hoped to work with them again, “either in another Free Guy movie…or in another form.”

Free Guy opens Friday from 20th Century Studios, which is owned by Disney, parent company of ABC News.

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