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Celeb Scoop: Lucas Cruikshank (aka Fred Figglehorn)

By It's My Life on September 16, 2010 3:21 PM | No TrackBacks

In 2008, Nebraska teenager Lucas Cruikshank was just doing what he loved to do: creating wacky characters, shooting funny videos, and playing around with special effects. When he started "blogging" as a hyperactive, anger-challenged, goofily upbeat kid named Fred Figglehorn, Lucas never expected anything to come of it except a few YouTube fans.

fred-the-movie-01-hr.jpgQuick-cut to two years later, and it's safe to say that Fred is one of the most popular Internet characters ever, with most of his videos racking up over 5 million views a piece. Starting Saturday night, September 18, Fred will jump from one screen to another with the premiere of Nickeodeon's "Fred: The Movie." Yes, it's more Fred doing his thing. But it's also a sweet story where we meet Fred's eternal crush Judy (played by British pop star Pixie Lott), his nemesis Kevin (Jake Weary), his mom (Siobhan Fallon), his dad (WWE star John Cena), and neighbor Bertha ("iCarly" star Jennette McCurdy). IML got to catch a sneak preview of the movie and whether you're a Fred fan or not, it's a fun time.

Yesterday, we spoke to Lucas about all things Fred and what this new stage of Fred-dom means to him!

IML: Hi Lucas! This is an exciting week for you. How do you feel?

Lucas: I feel anxious, but in a good way. I can't wait for all the fans to see the movie. I can't wait to see how they react.

IML: What would you like viewers to get out of the movie?

Lucas: Well, I definitely want them to like it. It's just a really fun story about this awkward teenager who's stuck in the mentality of a six-year-old. It has a lot for people who have always watched the videos, but also for people who've never seen a Fred video. I think they'll still like it because it's a story for everyone.

IML: It seems like you've been able to develop this character much more fully.

Lucas: You do get to see so much more of Fred than you see in the videos. In the videos, he's just video blogging by himself. He's always got an intense emotion, he's always ranting about something. In the movie, you get to see him when he's not video blogging - going to school, doing normal stuff. You get to see all the different layers of Fred rather than just the one note.

IML: Have you been developing Fred this way for a while, or did it unfold as you were working on the film?

Lucas: I've always known pretty much everything about Fred when I was doing the videos. He has this really specific story and he has all these traits. Since I'm the one who created him, I know his whole entire personality!

IML: Did you have any input on the movie's story, the other characters, and even the dialogue? It seemed so organic to the videos.

Lucas: I was very involved. We had this writer named David A. Goodman who did a bunch of "Family Guy" stuff and even worked on "The Golden Girls" so he definitely has a lot of experience. I was really excited when we got him to be involved in the project. He understood Fred and came into the meeting knowing everything about Fred. He really knew my vision of what I wanted to do with the character. Even after he'd write a draft of the script, he'd send it to me along with the other people on the project, and we'd all give notes. I'd tell him if something didn't sound right or if something needed to be changed. He was really open to my ideas. It could have gone really wrong but the stars were aligned or something, because it felt like the perfect team to do the movie!

IML: The tone of the movie is great, and it's really funny. What was your favorite part of the whole experience?

Lucas: It was amazing to see all these characters I'd created in my head come to life and be portrayed by such talented people.

fred-the-movie-06-lr.jpgIML: Were they close to what you had imagined?

Lucas: The casting for the whole movie was so dead-on. Especially Judy and Kevin and Fred's mom. Even the characters who aren't in there very much, like the pet store owners, were perfect. I was so happy with all the casting.

IML: Besides the voice and his mentality, how are you and Fred different, and how are you alike?

Lucas: I think we're different because I don't think I'd be able to be as fearless as Fred. He can just go to school and even though he's kind of an outcast, he still has this amazing confidence and he's always himself. He never really gives up. I wish I was more confident like Fred, but I'm not. I think we're kind of the same because we're both quirky, and we both live in our heads sometimes. We're big daydreamers.

fred-the-movie-08-hr.jpgIML: Why do you think he's struck such a chord with viewers, especially young people?

Lucas: I think people like watching an underdog go for it. That's what Fred is. He never gives up and he knows what he wants, and he tries every single day to keep at it.

IML: Plus, he's funny and makes people happy! We heard that you originally created him as a parody of all these kids out there who do video blogging, putting themselves online and opening up all the gory details of their lives. Then you hear news stories where that kind of thing goes very wrong. How do you create a balance between expressing yourself and having fun, and being smart when it comes to safety and privacy?

Lucas: We learned in school about privacy on Facebook, MySpace, and AIM, etc. so I've always been aware of that stuff. From the beginning of my "YouTube career," my parents have always been very involved in watching what I put on. They made sure I didn't say something that was inappropriate or revealed something about where we lived, and would ask me to cut something out if they felt it might be a problem.

IML: What's your advice for kids who would like to shoot and edit their own videos like you do, but don't really know where to start?

Lucas: If you're into writing and making people laugh, or just want to video blog something, you should get a simple digital video camera. And all computers now come with an easy video editing software program. Just mess around with that for a little bit, try to figure it out, then just put stuff online and have fun. Never give up! I think a lot of people have this idea that if you put something on YouTube you'll get famous overnight. It would be really great if that was possible, but that's not really how it works. I made these videos for fun and I never thought anything would happen from them, and for a year and a half nothing did happen. I had maybe 20 fans following the videos. But over time, it spread. You really just have to be having fun with it because otherwise, it's not worth it.

IML: Do you have role models when it comes to filmmaking?

Lucas: I've always loved John Hughes and his movies, like "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "The Breakfast Club." I think he's an amazing filmmaker. And more recently, Judd Apatow. I really like his movies.

IML: Who do you look up to when it comes to comic actors?

Lucas: I would say Steve Martin, first of all. I've always loved his movie "The Jerk" and I think that influenced "Fred" a little. I love Jim Carrey, Steve Carrell, and Ben Stiller, too.

IML: What's next for you?

Lucas: I have a deal with Nickelodeon for a sitcom, so I'm really excited about that. The cool thing for me is that I get to try something new. It's not going to be Fred, it's going to be a whole new character. It will be a chance for my fans to see me in a fresh way. I've met with a writer and right now they're working on the script, and we'll see what happens.

IML: We're sure people will like seeing you in a different role! That's probably good for your career, too. What would people be most surprised to know about you?

Lucas: "Fred" fans would be most surprised to know that when people meet me, they expect me to act like a crazy person, like Fred, but I'm really a normal guy and when I first meet you I'm sort of quiet. I'm not nearly as hyper as Fred. That always surprises people!

IML: It sounds like you have a lot of good things in store and we're sure people will like the movie. Congratulations! Thanks for taking the time to talk!

Lucas: Thank you!

You can get even more Fred-ified at www.nick.com/fred.

 






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