–Lucas Cruikshank is best known as “Fred” on youtube, however the 16-year-old is ready to branch out and break away from his well known character. Before doing that, however, Lucas will star in a movie version of “Fred” as well as the movie Emo Boy.
Lucas is from a small farm town in Nebraska and on his 13th birthday, he was given a video camera as a gift and soon after the character FRED was created. We recently chatted with the rising star about everything from the holidays to his Christmas album, It’s Hackin’ Christmas with Fred, to his guest starring roles on “Hannah Montana” & “iCarly”.
SO-M: When you got your video camera as a present, did you ever expect all of this to happen?
Lucas Cruikshank: No, I definitely did not expect anything like this to happen. I just felt like getting a camera because I was interested in different things, obviously acting. And I wanted to see what it was like behind the camera. So I filmed some random stuff for my family and friends. I put some of it on youtube and “Fred” was one of the things I put on there and it just totally blew up. It’s so crazy. I definitely did not expect it.
SO-M: Do you like being in front of the camera or behind the camera better?
Lucas: I think they’re both good. My dream would be to be like a director and also an actor.
SO-M: Where did the idea for “Fred” come from?
Lucas: It was kind of just random. I would always be creating random stories and characters and all that. I kind of just thought of the name Fred and I knew it was going to be like a 6-year-old. I always thought it was funny how they can always throw random temper tantrums and all that kind of stuff. I thought it’d be funny to make a character kind of like that and then it all just came together.
SO-M: Where do you get the ideas for your next video in the series?
Lucas: Usually it just comes to me randomly. I never sit down and try to think of a video idea. That doesn’t really work for me. I’m more of the type of person that it just randomly comes to me.
SO-M: You just released your Christmas album, It’s Hackin’ Christmas with Fred. How did that idea come about?
Lucas: Since Fred always sings in all the videos…so I thought it would be funny to make an actual studio album with music producers and the whole deal. So I got together with some really good music producers and we just fleshed out the whole entire album.
SO-M: Where did the inspiration for the original songs come from?
Lucas: I just thought about how Fred would view Christmas. A normal kid, obviously, is so psyched about Christmas and they love it. I went into Fred’s mind and thought about how he would think about it and I thought that he would be creeped out by stuff so that’s how I got “Christmas is Creepy.” Then “Christmas Cash,” I felt like Fred tries to act like he doesn’t want that much. Like he’s happy with what he has, but then it’s just him saying what he really wants.
SO-M: Do you have a favorite song on the album?
Lucas: My favorite song would be “Christmas is Creepy” because I think it’s the most Fred-like.
Note: You can get It’s Hackin’ Christmas with Fred on iTunes HERE.
SO-M: What was your favorite part about making the video for “Christmas Cash”?
Lucas: The whole entire process was cool. I thought it was cool how when I was filming it, I was just in front of a green screen. I had no clue what was behind me, so I had to imagine what was behind me. Then it was cool seeing how they edited it and made it look like it was real.
SO-M: Can we expect any more music videos?
Lucas: Yeah, I actually just got done filming the second one for “Christmas is Creepy.” It was really fun. I was hanging in a harness and Fred was flying. So I was in this harness in front of a green screen and they were moving it around like I was flying. It was a lot of fun.
SO-M: You’re also working on a movie version of Fred. How are you going to expand your short videos into a feature film?
Lucas: It’s going to be in a whole other format. The videos, they’re kind of like Fred’s video blogs, where he talks about his day and stuff. The movie won’t be like that at all. It will be like you’re actually experience Fred. Most of the time he doesn’t talk to the camera in the movie. You’ll be able to see all the other characters. It’ll be like bringing Fred to a whole other level. I think the fans will love it.
SO-M: Are you working on anything else?
Lucas: Basically right now, just working on the Fred movie. I’m busy with that so I don’t have too much time to work on anything else. I will be working on some new projects which I can’t really talk about yet.
SO-M: Is it strange seeing Fred merchandise everywhere?
Lucas: It’s definitely weird walking through the store and seeing your face on shirts and stuff. It’s really weird, but it’s really cool. It’s crazy how something I created has gotten so popular.
SO-M: Do fans ever expect you to talk like Fred when they meet you?
Lucas: Sometimes. The little kids don’t really understand that Fred isn’t a real person, so when they see me they’re all confused because I say, “Hi, I’m Lucas.” They dont’ even know who Lucas is. [laughs]
SO-M: What was it like working on shows like “iCarly” and “Hannah Montana” and starring as yourself, and not Fred?
Lucas: It was really cool. I’ve always wanted to be an actor so it was cool to actually work on a real set with the writers and producers. It was great meeting the stars of the show because they’re all really nice and gave me advice.
SO-M: If you could guest star on any show, what would it be?
Lucas: I would probably guest star on “Dexter” on Showtime.
SO-M: What is your favorite thing about the holidays?
Lucas: My favorite thing is just getting a whole two weeks off of school for Christmas break. And also being with my family. I think it’s great because usually your whole family is busy working and all that kind of stuff. But with the holidays you can just spend time together.
SO-M: Do you still go to public school or are you homeschooled?
Lucas: I’m still enrolled in a public school, but right now I have school on the set.
SO-M: What would you like to see happen for Fred and for you in the next year?
Lucas: I hope that the Fred movie is a success and for me to start branching out from Fred and start making other characters and creating different stuff. To be in things other than Fred; obviously my fans love Fred but I want them to see me do other stuff too.
SO-M: What actors do you look up to?
Lucas: Some actors I look up to are definitely Jim Carrey, Michael Cera, and Steve Martin. Steve Martin and Jim Carrey are really big inspirations.
SO-M: You’re known for your comedy, but would you ever want to branch into drama?
Lucas: I think that would be cool to try a lot of different things. Challenge myself. I don’t think I’d really want to do a hardcore drama, but it’d be cool to do something like a dramedy, half drama half comedy.
SO-M: Any message for your fans?
Lucas: Thanks so much for supporting the Fred character and telling your friends about it. I never even expected anyone to watch the Fred videos and so many people have it’s crazy.
SO-M: You made a name for yourself through youtube & new media, which is now a popular trend. Do you have any advice for people who are trying to make it the same way you did or aspiring actors?
Lucas: My advice would be to just have fun with it. I think sometimes people upload to youtube expecting to have all this stuff happen and are just doing it because they want to be famous or whatever. I don’t think that’s the right reason to have a youtube channel. I think you should do it for fun because you love creating and acting, just making people laugh. The biggest thing is probably just be sure you’re having fun with it, because once it’s not fun there’s not a point in doing it.
“Hannah Montana” Photo Credit: VIVIAN ZINK/Disney Channel