The premise of the film is Ryan Reynolds’ character, Guy, realizes he’s a character in a Grand Theft Auto type video game and comes to life. Now that he is untethered from his virtual constraints, he effectively becomes Neo from The Matrix. And he uses his newfound Godhood in the popular game to do good deeds. This turns his character into a worldwide sensation.
And to solidify his character’s bona fides as a real-world celebrity, they got Alex Trebek to read a question about Guy on Jeopardy!. Because there was almost nothing that proved you’d “made it” more than having Alex Trebek say your name as part of a question. It was the unofficial barometer of celebrity. In 2019, Vulture compiled a list of tweets and reactions from celebrities freaking out after learning Alex Trebek had said their name on Jeopardy!.
Shortly after Trebek died on November 8, 2020, Ryan Reynolds tweeted his appreciation for his fellow Canadian. And he thanked Trebek for being so generous with what little time he had left in filming the scene.
“Alex Trebek was kind enough to film a cameo for our film Free Guy last year despite his battle. He was gracious and funny. In addition to being curious, stalwart, generous, reassuring, and of course, Canadian. We love you, Alex. And always will.”
Ryan Reynolds Recalls Last Talk With Alex Trebek
“We shot that separately,” Reynolds said. “Actually after the film had been completely done and dusted and completed. Alex was kind enough to jump in and do this little cameo for us. I was just so blown away by how sweet he was to do that.”
Ryan Reynolds and Alex Trebek were friends in real life. And just before his death, Trebek reached out to Reynolds to discuss an idea for a charity event. Reynolds said that was indicative of the man Trebek was, someone who cared for others despite his own suffering.
He added that seeing Trebek in Free Guy is “bittersweet.”
“Even right up before shortly before he passed away, I talked to him on the phone about a charity initiative he was trying to launch,” Reynolds recalled. “This guy was really made of good stuff right until the end. Having him in the movie is certainly bittersweet, that’s for sure.”