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Ninja Talks Free Guy, Hollywood Goals, And Massive Swords - Exclusive Interview

If the streaming world has a crossover star, it would definitely be Ninja, who has brought his enthusiastic demeanor and colorful hair to shows such as "The Masked Singer" while delivering daily content to his legions of Twitch followers. The talented gamer and savvy performer has found a way to connect with the masses, reaching new audiences while raising the profile of livestreaming and competitive gaming in the mainstream.


Ninja, real name Tyler Blevins, got his start in the competitive "Halo 3" scene before streaming titles making his mark as a streamer of popular battle royale titles. The blue-haired gamer was an early convert to "Fortnite," where he set a peak viewership record on Twitch when he played a few matches with Travis Scott, Drake, and JuJu Smith-Schuster, per Variety. High-profile events like that have helped make Ninja one of the biggest names in streaming and rack up more than 24 million subscribers on YouTube and over 16 million on Twitch.

Now, in what may be one of his most significant crossover events yet, Ninja is slated to appear as himself in the upcoming Ryan Reynolds film "Free Guy." In an exclusive interview with SVG, Ninja described his experiences while appearing in the movie, discussed the game world he could see himself trapped in, and gave props to Ryan Reynolds.


Ninja on how Free Guy gets gaming right

You've said that this movie is just one step in a larger plan for a Hollywood career. How is that going, and what's coming up next?

I don't know if I can say... Well, actually, I can say this. There's some stuff that ... we're looking into creating some actual fresh shows and potential. Not a cartoon, but we're in the process of crafting some ideas and potentially getting stuff like that in the works. And that's on that end, but I mean, we have a lot of cameos and stuff that are coming out that we've already filmed and some episodes that we filmed of some other shows that should be coming out in the next year.


Any Marvel or DC stuff?

I would love Marvel, DC stuff, but no, no. Not that. Not yet.

"Free Guy" gets a lot of things about gaming culture right in many ways that films often miss. What do you feel the movie gets correct that others have not?

Everything. Everything gaming related, right? I mean just the, like the language, right? The comedy, what is actually happening in the game and in the movie. It's all stuff that happens in actual video games, the pop culture. I mean, they did everything right. And I think that gaming in general usually is a little bit of a younger audience, right? So you have to have that comedy and that language that caters to them. And also obviously, my generation, and they nailed it.  They hit everything. They hit, like, Gen Z. They hit fricking all the boxes, bro. Nailed it.


Ninja's favorite game to play the wrong way

One of the things that "Free Guy" gets right is turning the way that Guy plays the game wrong into a plot point. What do you think is the best game to play 'wrong?'

That's a really good question, man. If I want to play a game that isn't the way that it's intended to be played... I actually don't know. I mean, I think if I have to say something that I've done in the past [it] would be "Destiny," where we were in the Crucible, playing PVP, and I was dancing on one of the in-game vehicles while sniping people, just having fun, blasting music. I would say that was a game that wasn't intended to be doing that, but they added the emotes, and it was in, so I played it like that.


Say you wake up tomorrow and discover that, like Guy, you are a video game character. Which video game would you wish you were in? And if you're honest with yourself, which game do you belong in?

Oh man, dude. I don't have a lot. I mean, I would like to be like a cool dope character in a "Dark Souls" game where I'm fully decked out with a massive sword, and I can just solo every single monster and all the bosses with ease. But realistically, I'm probably just like an NPC that gives you a quest. The adventure is that way. You go out, and you can bring me it, and I'll give you your reward.

Ninja talks filming Free Guy

Were there any differences between playing yourself versus streaming? Did you find yourself using a different muscle for the performance, or was it just plug-and-play?

It was plug-and-play. It was super simple. [Director Shawn Levy] was like, "Here's what you need to try to say," and it says how you would say it, and so [it was] just getting the lines down and kind of freestyling it. It was super easy.


Did you have a chance to attend wrap parties or interact with anybody in the film's cast?

Throughout my entire gaming career, I think I've had some interaction with almost every single person that was in this film, whether it be through "Fortnite" or other means, but not while, I don't think it was while we were filming, no. While the entire cast was going on and they were going out grabbing people and stuff like that, no. I don't think I had any moment where I was a little tip of the hat. We got a little something coming out, so which, again, now I'm thinking about it, definitely a missed opportunity.

What's your best Ryan Reynolds story, if you had a chance to interact with him?

I don't have, like, any crazy stuff because we only spent a day there, probably less than eight hours. So his comedy, his wit, I mean, he was, it was just literally just like that. Some of the stories that he was telling sometimes I was always just like, "That's happened?" I mean, dude, he's just 100% unapologetically himself all the time.


"Free Guy" debuts exclusively in theaters on August 13.