LOS ANGELES, California — There was a lot of nervous energy before the big E3 premiere of “noobz.” The love letter to video games was originally planned as a movie that would be sent directly to DVD, but after doing well at Cannes it ended up being picked up for a theatrical release. Writer/director/star Blake Freeman was both excited about getting to show his passion project in front of the audience it was made for, as well as nervous that it would be poorly received.
“If the movie’s bad and the sound guy sucked or somebody else didn’t do their job or a producer missed something or an actor was terrible that we hired, they don’t go, ‘That person killed the film,’ they say, ‘Blake Freeman, you made a bad film,'” he said with a laugh. “There’s nobody else to like point the finger to, so it’s a little nerve-wracking.”
Jason Mewes, on the other hand, was all cool. Wearing a shirt that said “Spoilers!” and his character’s “Gears of War” hat from the movie, the movie’s star was clearly hyped for the project. He’s been through the ringer, regularly appearing in Kevin Smith movies as Jay from the Jay and Silent Bob duo, as well as reprising the character in several other films. While he may be playing Andy in “noobz,” it’s clear that his character is of the same ilk as Jay.
“Him being this character, an extension of himself, is much better than me trying to make him be somebody else,” Freeman explained. “And the cool thing was we were trying to get rid of that whole stipulation that nerds play video games because it’s not one billion nerds. I’m sorry to all the nerd nation, but you’re not that strong. Everybody loves games.”
E3 was the perfect venue for Freeman and Mewes to premiere their passion project. “noobz” follows a gaming clan of “three luckless, aging gamers and an asthmatic adolescent” who “frag up” and road trip to Los Angeles in order to enter a “Gears of War” championship.
In addition to the two stars we talked to, “noobz” also enlisted the help of fan-favorites Zelda Williams (daughter of Robin Williams, named after “The Legend of Zelda”), Carly Craig (the girl who sneezed and pooped at the same time in “Hall Pass”) and Adam Sessler (a former “X-Play” host on G4). They were all in attendance Wednesday night, and it was clear everyone was excited to be there.
“The great thing is everybody on the film make some sort of [allowances] to make the film,” Freeman said. “Everybody wanted to make this movie because it was about gaming. They read the script and they loved it. And the great thing is that everybody really is themselves, so we had a script, we stay on script, and then everybody would just get off script.”
The key was to have a cast full of “authentic video game players and the people that are fun,” which Freeman managed to assemble. From there, it was just a matter of having the movie be a “realistic look at real gamers as people in the competitive gaming world,” which had never really been done before. Though “noobz” is a comedy, it was also Freeman’s attempt to honestly portray the gaming community.
Mewes has shown his nerd cred in everything from “Clerks” to “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” but it’s interesting that he’s never done a movie about video games until now. He explained that that’s because there really haven’t been many out there.
“A lot of people aren’t making them. To me, there’s not many out there. What I really like about the script and the movie itself is I do love the whole element of how people all the time all over the world or U.S. talk to each other every night and are like, ‘Hey bro, sign on, we’re going to play the Red Dragons tonight,’ and you don’t know who you’re playing. It could be a 12-year-old girl, boy, or a 50-year-old man,” he said.
He added that he feels this movie appeals to all audiences, not just people who are fans of gaming. And that’s because there are now a lot of people who enjoy gaming, as things like the Wii, Nintendo 3DS and Kinect make it accessible to all ages.
“There’s comedy, entertainment, fun, gaming –I mean, I think right now everybody wants, with all the crappy shit that goes on, people like to zone out and play video games, and you got that in the movie,” Mewes said of “noobz.” “People want to know love and there’s a guy/girl relationship love story, and there’s funny funny funny in it, so you’ve got all the three good things that give you an erection or get you moist.”
With that being said, Freeman was very clear to say that he wanted this movie to start to chance the perception of video games in the public eye. We aren’t all Mountain Dew-swilling, Cheetos-chomping fat kids who are coated in acne and live in our parents’ basement. Video games have over one billion fans, and this movie is meant to defend them.
“We’re all our own athletes and heroes in our own right, in our living room, and some of us are excellent at what they do and should be recognized for it. That’s not wasting time playing, that’s actually getting better at something that you want to do,” Freeman said. “Some dudes want to do it for baseball and other people want to do it for video games. They should not be beat down or looked down upon it because of that, because they’re sitting stationary. Who knows, they may get up on an exercise bike. Fuck ’em! Baseball people are fat!”
“noobz” is due in theaters in the US in limited release in September.