At 19-years-old, Lucas Cruikshank has already been an internet sensation, starred in three-wildly successful TV movies (based on a character he created), launched two hit television shows, and he's just getting started. It all began in 2007 when Cruikshank created a character named Fred on a lark. Little did he know, the world was watching.
"I'd always wanted to be in the entertainment business," Cruikshank tells ETonline. "But when I first started YouTube-ing, fame wasn't on my mind. This was before [Justin Bieber] had been discovered online, so that wasn't a thought in my mind. I was just having fun with my family and friends. I thought it would be like MySpace, where only your friends could see it, but I quickly discovered that the entire world could see it."
958,038,286 YouTube views later, Fred has since spawned three films and a television series. Looking back on those early years, Cruikshank recalls the moment where he realized Fred was more than your average webseries. "I remember uploading one Fred video on a Thursday and by Friday morning it already had one million views – that's when it really hit me that so many people across the world were watching it and coming back to the website weekly."
Now Cruikshank is back with a new character and a new TV series, Nickelodeon's Marvin Marvin, which was watched by 2.6 million people in its debut episode. In developing the titular lead, Cruikshank looked to create a character that was equally appealing to his fanbase, yet worlds away from Fred. And to do that, he literally looked to outer space.
"At first glance, I think people might think Fred and Marvin are similar," Cruikshank says. "They're both over the top in their behavior, but as far as their personalities, they're so different. Fred wants to stand out, to be himself and to express himself while Marvin is from another planet and can't stand out because there are bad guys hunting him. So Marvin's life is all about trying to fit in with the human culture and making his family proud."
Throughout all his past, present and future endeavors, Cruikshank says the most important thing is that he can be proud of the messages his projects preach. "I'm so thankful to the fans on YouTube who have followed me from the internet to traditional media," he says, "so I want to make sure I'm giving them my best. I love performing, but I also love being a part of the creative process, so Marvin Marvin is the perfect job."
Marvin, Marvin airs Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. on Nickelodeon.