Lucas Cruikshank says there's a lot more to his alter ego Fred Figglehorn than screaming temper tantrums.
"Well... if you can get past the voice," Cruikshank says.
For the unfamiliar, Fred is a tyrannical 6-year-old video blogger with the voice of Alvin the Chipmunk and the body of a teen. He's also one of YouTube's biggest stars.
To date, Cruikshank's Fred videos have been viewed nearly 600 million times, and the official Fred channel has 2 million subscribers. The 17-year-old Nebraska native began playing Fred, a creation of his own making, four years ago. On Saturday, he'll make his feature-length debut in Nickelodeon's Fred: The Movie.
Cruikshank understands that Fred, a sort-of self-obsessed, super spazzy hero for the ADD generation, might not be for everyone. (A good litmus test? Your response to this video, in which Fred loses his meds.) But he says the movie reveals a new side of the hyperactive character.
"I was 13 when I created him," Cruikshank says. "He was young and impatient and he screamed — that was it. Then I added his crush, his mom being drunk and his dad in prison [to explain his behavior]. He's lonely, he has a dark life."
Like the Web videos, Fred: The Movie won't dwell on the bad — the film's main story revolves around Fred's quest to sing a duet with his crush Judy — but it will explore his everyday life.
"What Fred does to make his life better outside of the blog is what I wanted to show," Cruikshank says. "Fred doesn't sit around moping. He does something better. He goes after his dreams."
Of course, in his "everyday life," there is still quite a bit of whining. And freaking out. And screaming. And poop jokes. Fred is still Fred.
What else can fans expect from two hours with Fred? "You'll see him not video blogging, you'll see him interact with other people, and you'll see Fred when he's really happy and normal" — things you almost never see in the Web episodes.
Cruikshank says he does think about retiring Fred one day. "He's a fun character to play, and I have no reason to complain, but I am looking forward to doing stuff after Fred," he says. Cruikshank is already at work on a Nickelodeon sitcom called "Marvin Marvin," in which he'll play a kid who doesn't quite fit in. It's revealed early on that he's an alien.
But for now, Fred fans needn't fret about the end. "I'll still be doing Fred videos because I like doing them... I just don't want people to think it's all I can do."
Check out one of Cruikshank's most popular Fred video's, Fred Goes Swimming, below:
Fred The Movie airs Saturday, Sept. 18 at 8/7c on Nickelodeon.