“I have this thought about life, which is that we tell ourselves stories,” Reynolds explained to Vanity Fair last month. “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,” added Levy. “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.’”
While Reynolds and Levy first boarded the project (no pun intended) in spring of 2020, the film had already been in development for over a decade (Tom Cruise was reportedly attached at one point). Netflix scooped up the rights several months later with production kicking off in Canada that November amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Principal photography wrapped last March.
Netflix screened the movie for early audiences Wednesday evening. Mike Reyes of CinemaBlend, for instance, described it as “a blast.” He continued: “Pure blockbuster thrills, some beautiful family drama & A TON of fast paced snark. The Levy/Reynolds train continues to chug along, and Walker Scobell is one to keep your eye on.”
“There’s an element to #TheAdamProject I didn’t expect, and it hurt the most,” added Sean O’Connell (also of CinemaBlend). “My dad died when I was 23. I’d give anything to have a conversation with him now, when I had more life under my belt, and could understand us better.”
Echoing what we wrote above, Joe Magidson (Awards Radar) called it “a tremendously fun throwback to 80’s sci-fi adventures, with a sneaky emotional element. I did not expect to cry. Ryan Reynolds and Mark Ruffalo are great in a Shaw Levy film that would make Spielberg proud.”
The film stars Reynolds as Adam Reed, a fighter jet pilot from the future. After an accident sends him traveling through time, he winds up in the year 2022, when he was a 12-year old boy (played by Walker Scobell) struggling in school after the apparent disappearance of his father (played by Mark Ruffalo). Jennifer Garner portrays Adam’s mom, and the cast is rounded out by Catherine Keener, Zoe Saldana and Alex Mallari Jr.
In the trailer, the two versions of Adam meet after his older self crashes his futuristic jet in the woods near his childhood home. The two join forces on an adventure that will take them through time and space, and eventually force both versions of Adam to confront their absent father together.
“Time travel exists,” Reynolds says in the trailer. “This world, our world, everything has already been changed. We’re gonna put the genie back in the bottle.”
This is the second film Reynolds and Levy have made together, after last year’s “Free Guy,” which was nominated for best visual effects at the 2022 Academy Awards. Both produce the film, along with David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Don Granger. The script was written by Jonathan Tropper, T.S. Nowlin, Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin. Skydance Media, 21 Laps Entertainment and Maximum Effort are the productions companies for the film.
“The Adam Project” releases on Netflix March 11.