Bodybuilder Aaron Reed is Ryan Reynolds’ Very Large Body Double in “Free Guy” – BarBend

In the silver-screen world of Hollywood, it is common for action heroes or blockbuster movie stars to get into incredible shape. Transformations from commonfolk physique to comic-book chiseled almost feel like a mainstay part of a movie’s hype these days. The physical transformation differed for the movie Free Guy, where Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, The Proposal) plays a bank teller in an open-world video game. Instead of a gym, Reynolds’ transformation involved a body double — bodybuilder and former professional wrestler Aaron Reed.

Reed stands six-foot-seven inches tall and weighs approximately 300 pounds. That’s a bit of a leap from Reynolds’ six-foot-two-inch tall 190-pound frame. However, in the context of Free Guy, where Reynolds’ character, named Guy, has to kick some ass and take some names, transforming into his alter ego, Dude (Aaron Reed), feels natural in the virtual world. Check out Reynolds and Reed standing together below in a photo from Reed’s Instagram page to see a “before and after” if you will:

Although Free Guy has a script that makes sense for a Bruce Banner to the Hulk kind of transformation, Reynolds is no slouch in the gym. He’s shown off his ridged six-pack on screen for over a decade, be it when he fought vampires in Blade, sported a magical ring in Green Lantern, or wielded two swords and a charred face in Deadpool.

For Free Guy, Reynolds relied on the massive physique already built by Reed, who has an extensive background in competitive bodybuilding. Reed competed at the top of his game for more than a decade at the turn of the millennium before making a shift on the silver screen. He was known as the tallest bodybuilder in the world at six-foot, seven inches. For comparison, eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman stands at five-foot, 11 inches, and seven-time Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger stands at six-foot, two inches.

Aaron Reed’s Bodybuilding Accolades

Reed’s bodybuilding career has spanned over a decade and a half and seen him stand atop the podiums of multiple weight classes — Men’s Physique, Classic Physique, and Super Heavyweight. According to National Physique Committee (NPC), he most recently competed in the super heavyweight Master’s division at the 2017 NPC Teen Collegiate & Masters Nationals. In 2016, he ranked first in the Classic Physique division NPC All South Championship, second at the NPC Southern USA Championships, and 16th at the NPC National Championships. 

Before competitive bodybuilding, Reed wrestled under the ring name “Lift Sawyer” as a WWE developmental wrestler from 2009 to 2010. He sustained an injury, and so his career was short-lived. a list of other shows that Reed has competed in along with how he placed:

  • 2015 NPC Florida State Championships — Third Place
  • 2015 NPC Tim Gardner Extravaganza — First Place
  • 2013 Muscle Mania Universe — Second Place
  • 2012 Muscle Mania Universe — Second Place
  • 2011 NPC Europa Show of Champions — Fourth Place
  • 2011 NPC Orlando Metropolitan ChampionshipsFirst Place
  • 2010 NPC Florida State Championships — First Place
  • 2011 NPC USA Championships — 10th place
  • 2010 NPC Greater Gainesville Championships — First Place
  • 2005 NPC Steele City Championships — First Place
  • 2002 NPC Rocky Mountain Championships — First Place
  • 2001 NPC Mr. Teen Colorado — First Place

Since Ryan Reynold’s face was super-imposed onto Reed’s for Free Guy, who’s to say which big-name actor will follow Reynolds’ idea of saving the time in the gym with a little bit of CGI and Reed’s physique built by a lifetime of training? Perhaps the way actors prepare for their roles will be the biggest transformation to come. 

Feature image: @aaronw.reed on Instagram