Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Jacksepticeye Talks About Free Guy, Streaming, And Playing Games Wrong - Exclusive Interview

Video game movies have come a long way since "Super Mario Bros." was the first game-to-film adaptation to flop at the box office. The Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo-starring film began a long-standing trend of films made by people who seemed to fundamentally know absolutely nothing whatsoever about their source material. "Wing Commander," "Double Dragon," and "House of the Dead" all continued the trend of utterly failing to gain the respect of the people who loved the games their movies were based on.


Recently, the trend of bad video game adaptations has shifted, a trend which arguably began with "Sonic the Hedgehog" in 2020 and continued with "Mortal Kombat" the following year. But the larger trend isn't so much "good movies based on real video games" as it is "good movies where gaming is a central conceit" — a trend which started way back with 1982's "Tron," but gathered more steam recently with "Wreck-It Ralph" and the new "Jumanji" movies.

But arguably neither of those films owe as large a debt to gamers as Ryan Reynold's latest film "Free Guy." Not only does the film star a non-playable character named Guy, but it features guest appearances from a number of popular online streamers.

SVG sat down with Seán William McLoughlin, a.k.a. Jacksepticeye, to talk about his cameo in "Free Guy" and why the movie is earning its accolades as a film that actually gets gaming right.


How Jacksepticeye thinks Free Guy gets gaming right

How does "Free Guy" get gamer culture right in a way that maybe some movies have not gotten it right before?

I think the fact that it's starting its own game. I think a lot of the movies that we've seen in the past that try and do the video gamer thing are: people that make movies see a game that's popular and then try and mash the game into it. Or they try and just slap a veneer on with, "Well, these characters are in it and these enemies are in it and it kind of looks like this environment." But "Free Guy" just made its own game. And then just went with that. So it's kind of blowing the lid off what it is to make a video game movie. Instead of just trying to slap a veneer on, they've just made their own living, breathing game.


It honestly feels like an actual game that would exist and then sort of their boundaries, and their limits are a lot different than another video game movie would be. They don't really have to please the audience of the video game, because it doesn't exist in real life. And they don't really have to try and make it seem a certain way. So the fact that they can just make up whatever they want, as long as it fits the narrative of the game that they've made, then they can kind of just do whatever. And then you don't have to worry about anything else after that.

If you had your druthers, what sort of games would you have liked to have seen pop up in this movie?

Well, I'm biased. I like "Bloodborne" a lot, if it's not evident by the statues behind me, and "Shadow of the Colossus" on the poster behind me. So I would have loved a nod to them, but they're not the most popular games in the world. I feel like a very niche amount of people would get those references. So I don't think they're going to be in there. I'm just happy to see anything at all, really, as long as they're treating the video game side of things with respect and not kind of like looking down on it, like other sort of cultures would. I think that they kind of elevate the whole space and make it kind of work in conjunction with the movie space. They don't feel like they're limited by it, so to speak.


What it's like being a gamer (and being in a game)

As far as representing gamers specifically, do you think "Free Guy" has done that correctly, too?

Yeah. You see a bunch of people playing the game as they go about, and a bunch of the NPCs and everything in the game are just so many different types of people, different backgrounds and ethnicities, and it's so diverse that it kind of feels like it's just everybody. It feels like just the world, the way it is, and that they're not kinda catering to one thing or another. And I feel that's the way it should be that everyone who plays games — whether you play competitively or you play casually, or you just play on your phone or you play on your commute on the train to work — like everyone's just trying to play a game at the end of the day. You're just trying to escape and have fun and do your thing. So I don't think there has to be any sort of broad labels on it or anything like that. I think they represented fairly well. I think there's a good message behind it. There's a lot more to people than meets the eye, I think is sort of like a core theme.


If it turned out you were in Guy's situation, where you were in a video game, what kind of video game would you like to be in and what video game do you think, being honest, you would belong in?

Again, I feel like we're kind of living through "Bloodborne" right now, because it's all about a town ravaged by a disease or a virus. And then you have to overcome that and then come out of the other end of it in a more positive manner. I think we're all coming towards the end of "Bloodborne" right now. I would love to be part of "Mario Odyssey" or something like that. 'Cause it's all about wearing many hats and doing many different things and you can walk in somebody else's shoes for a little bit and just kind of see how diverse the world is.


Jacksepticeye on being in Free Guy

What was it like being in "Free Guy?"

It was really cool. It's different than being in a movie, how people think you would be in it, because we weren't on production sets. We didn't have the director yelling "action" and things like that. We just got to sit in a room and do our thing and talk to our camera the way we always would. And I got to represent myself. I'm not playing like a YouTuber named XYZ. I'm just playing Jacksepticeye as I am. So it was very freeing that I just got to be myself. And I felt like that took a lot of the pressure off. So then we didn't have to worry about flubbing any lines. We didn't have to worry about ruining anything or not being able to act or anything like that. So I feel like everything kind of came naturally.


I feel like it's cool to just have some YouTubers and some gamers in there to sort of represent what it's like. 'Cause YouTubing and streaming is becoming a really big way for people not only to make a career, but also for a lot of people to experience video games themselves. A lot of people come to my channel to watch games for the first time. A lot of people maybe can't afford the game or they don't have the system to play it on and then they experience it through you. So I think that's very accurate to real life, at this point.

Free Guy and the art of playing games wrong

Part of the story is that Guy plays the game wrong, which is a thing gamers do on purpose on in real life to challenge themselves. What kind of games do you like to play wrong?

I think any game that just kind of has a sandbox in it. Any game where I don't have to follow a set path that I can kind of just grind out my own path for myself or even if it is a linear path, I can kind of just do it my own way. I feel like my strength is not really in my ability to play games, like skill-wise, I'd be no better than an average player, but I feel like my expertise is kind of just goof around and go off that path and make jokes and improvise.


So any game that has a bit of width to it, that I can kind of go off the beaten path and I can just make jokes and find random characters and make up names to them and things like that. I think that's what is most fun for me, because then you kind of just personalize it a bit more. In games, you have to engage with them. It's not like a movie where you just sit and watch. With games you have to actively get in and everybody can have a completely different experience by having that controller in their hands. So I try and put my own spin on it for myself.

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