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DanTDM Talks Free Guy, Wreck-It Ralph, And Minecraft - Exclusive Interview

The endearingly positive DanTDM has made a name for himself with one of the world's most popular YouTube channels dedicated to the creative classic "Minecraft." The streamer has enjoyed massive success and has occasionally been ranked as having the most viewed channel overall, per The Guardian. He also holds a Guinness World Record for the most views for a dedicated "Minecraft" channel. His cheerful demeanor, dedicated schedule, and the clean content he produces have helped him gain a vast audience that includes younger viewers.


Perhaps most importantly, DanTDM (real name Daniel Middleton) has not let that success keep him from taking on new and exciting projects for himself and his fans. The U.K. streamer helped create a graphic novel called "Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal," was featured as a playable character in "The Escapists 2," and voiced a small role in "Ralph Breaks the Internet."

While DanTDM's first involvement with a big-budget film production came with "Ralph Breaks the Internet," fans can now see him in a new live-action film: "Free Guy," starring Ryan Reynolds. In an exclusive interview with SVG, DanTDM spoke about his experience in the new movie, the differences between recording voiceover lines and appearing live, as well as some of his favorite games to play in an unusual way.


DanTDM on how Free Guy gets gaming right

"Free Guy" handles gaming in a way not always seen in movies. Do you think it got gaming culture correct, and if so, what did it do right?

I think it did. It did it really well. It's got to be one of the top gaming films I've watched. I think there are films like "Wreck-It Ralph," for example, that stick as much gaming culture, in terms of familiar faces, into a film. And in that particular one, it works really well.


But if you were... I'm trying to think of another example, but if you were to create a "Fortnite" film, for example, I don't think that would work, because what "Free Guy" does is takes a brand new game. They've made their own game. And that means the viewers go in with no expectations. They don't know anything about the game, so they learn about it while following the story of the film.

So I think that's where "Free Guy" has done it really, really well. They create a new game, new worlds, and it's a really good one. It's obviously based off of certain games, but the fact that it's not having to appeal to an already established fan base is where it wins and why it works so well.

DanTDM on voice acting version live-action

It's interesting that you bring up "Ralph Breaks the Internet."

I had to. I'm biased, but it's a good film.

In "Ralph Breaks the Internet," you voiced a character in the story, whereas in "Free Guy," you are playing a streamer, who may or may not be you. How was that different?


I guess the main difference is, well, there are two main differences: one is just voice, one's video. And then the other one is that I was playing a character in "Ralph Breaks the Internet," and this one is literally just me. The setup is exactly the same as what it was now, same everything, pretty much. Same room, I recorded it myself for the "Free Guy" film. So it was essentially just what I do normally. There was a loose script, but it's all just me, like acting as yourself, so I guess it's not really acting.

In "Ralph Breaks the Internet," I was directed. I flew to the studio. I had a certain script that I had to read and try and capture the vibe of a certain character that didn't look like me. So I think that's where their two main differences lie, they're two completely different skill sets.


Which do you think is more difficult, portraying a YouTube personality live, where people can see your face and reactions, or recording lines while portraying a whole new character?

I would say the voice. If I had to pick one, it would be voice acting, definitely. So the "Ralph Breaks the Internet" one for sure, because the "Free Guy" one is essentially what I do every day anyway. I react to stuff. I play video games, react to stuff on the stream, which is what we're doing in the film. And it's literally just being me, so I found it way easier to do this part than the previous one.

DanTDM talks about playing Minecraft the right way and the wrong way

If you woke up tomorrow and discovered you were a video game character, such as in "Free Guy," what video game would you like to be in? And, if you're honest with yourself, which video game do you think you belong in?


I think I've played "Minecraft" enough. I've sunk enough hours, days, years into that game to feel comfortable in that game if I was to be there. So I feel like I belong in a game like that, that's not too difficult, I guess. You can still die, but it's more creative, so I guess I would say "Minecraft," yeah.

That seems fair. Another interesting aspect of "Free Guy" is that Guy (Ryan Reynolds) is instructed to play the game 'wrong,' which gamers do all the time in real life. What do you think is the best game to play in a broken way?

I think most games are fun to play not the way you're supposed to. It's always fun to experience the game in a way that the people who made the game wanted you to, so play it as linear as you're expected to play it, through the story and stuff.


But when the real fun comes in is after you've experienced the story, and then play it from a different perspective. You're exploring all these intricacies and then start doing something where you find something that wasn't supposed to happen. That's where the most fun comes from. And when I make my videos, that's the stuff I'm looking for, is the stuff that goes wrong. Not to point it out, but because it's funny, it's entertaining.

Do you have a favorite game to play broken or one that you've gone back to and shared with people?

I guess with "Minecraft," you have the mods and stuff, which don't always... they either change the way "Minecraft" behaves, or it causes "Minecraft" to not behave in the same way it's supposed to, so that's always funny. And then there are games like, I guess, "Goat Simulator" is a really... it's quite an old game now, but that kind of plays on [how] the physics are supposed to be just about there to play a game, but it's supposed to go wrong. It's kind of built off of that foundation, which made it good for videos, but also a good way to explore that kind of a glitchy, buggy kind of atmosphere.

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