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Two Major Factors Stranger Things Shares With The Adam Project, According To Shawn Levy

The new Netflix film The Adam Project has been winning over audience members and receiving solid reviews from critics, many of whom thought Shawn Levy and Ryan Reynolds built a nice chemistry with the video game dramedy Free Guy and continued to mine the emotional streak in this film. Levy did give an emotional tribute to Reynolds on the lead actor’s final day of shooting on The Adam Project, mainly because he understood that what the duo was trying to do with the sci-fi feature was unique and special, and a throwback to the way stories used to be told.

Because The Adam Project revels in that Amblin tone that we tend to associate with Shawn Levy’s producer project Stranger Things (which usually asks him to come on board and direct a few episodes), we wanted to ask him how he thought the two projects might compare to each other, while also contemplating on the legacy of Stranger Things as it draws to a close. Levy gave it some thought, then replied to us:

I do believe that what Stranger Things shares with The Adam Project, and what they both share with the Amblin influences that you and I share, is, A) a belief in original storytelling. Something that isn’t based on IP or franchise or anything that the audience knows in advance. And B) the blend of genre and humanity. Stranger Things gets a lot of ink and a lot of clicks for being ‘dark, creepy, spooky,’ but we know the special sauce is the heart. We know that it’s all about those friendships that are at the heart of Stranger Things. Similarly, Adam Project is time travel and jets and dogfights and weaponry. But it’s about mothers and sons, fathers and sons, and about making peace with your past.

We had a conversation with Shawn Levy on CinemaBlend’s ReelBlend podcast, where we talked about finding that balance between special effects and memorable emotions, and Levy dove deeper into how he finds that mix, and where he discovers it during the production process. It’s worth a listen, so here’s the full interview:

And he’s right. The Adam Project doesn’t work as well as it does if not for the relationships forged by the talented cast, which includes Ryan Reynolds, Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keener and Walker Scobell. Hell, even Hugh Jackman had to pause his feud with Reynolds long enough to praise the movie. That’s a big deal!  

Maybe you have seen the movie already, and need an explanation on how the time travel in the film works. Or maybe you are just excited that Reynolds has chosen Shawn Levy to direct Deadpool 3, making sure that the next ‘Pool movie will have heart as well as humor. Right now, in my opinion, The Adam Project is one of the best Netflix movies streaming on the service. But if this blend of action, sci-fi, comedy and heart isn’t what you are looking for, there are plenty of other upcoming Netflix movies that you can put on your calendar.  

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.