Update (10/12/19) On October 16, 2019, The Game Changers will be available to stream on Netflix. The Game Changers is also available on-demand via the iTunes store.
When the cab drivers at Sundance are talking about a film you made, you know the five years you put into a project were worth every second. This was the “incredible and surreal” experience for producer James Wilks at Sundance in January 2018, when his new documentary The Game Changers made its debut.
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Wilks is not only a producer of the film, he’s also the star. A mixed martial artist, winner of The Ultimate Fighter, and combatives trainer for government agencies, Wilks developed an interest in plant-based eating after he experienced a physical setback. In the documentary, he sets forth on a globe-trotting mission to debunk what he calls “the world’s most dangerous myth: that animal foods are necessary for protein, strength, and optimal health.”
The Game Changers—executive produced by three-time Oscar-winner James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar) and directed by Oscar-winner Louie Psihoyos (The Cove)—is now screening at festivals in the U.S. and worldwide, and is slated for public release this fall. In the meantime, we caught up with Wilks to get the inside story.
FOK: What sparked your own journey into the plant-based way of eating?
James Wilks: Shortly after winning The Ultimate Fighter, I was sparring with a future heavyweight champion and tore ligaments in both of my knees. Unable to train for six months, I started researching peer-reviewed science on nutrition, looking for any advantage I could find to get back on track as quickly as possible. That’s when I stumbled across a study about the Roman Gladiators, which concluded, based on strontium and stable isotope analysis, that they ate a plant-based diet.
As a die-hard meat-eater who believed you needed animal protein to be strong, this discovery challenged everything I thought I knew about nutrition, launching me on a five-year quest for the truth in nutrition, modeled after Bruce Lee’s Truth in Combat philosophy: “Research your own experience. Absorb what is useful. Reject what is useless. Add what is specifically your own.”
FOK: What was your transition to plant-based eating like?
JW: The transition was a little awkward at first, since I didn’t really know much about plant-based food. In fact I’d never even been in a vegetarian restaurant. But once I got the hang of it and latched onto some comfort foods—like oatmeal, peanut butter, pasta, and bean burritos—everything fell into place and I started seeing dramatic improvements in my energy, strength, endurance, and recovery.
FOK: When did your quest become a film, and how did your award-winning crew get assembled?
JW: I realized early on that I should start documenting my experiences, so I bought a video camera and some lighting equipment off of Craigslist and recorded my initial interviews with athletes and nutrition experts. Around that time I met Joseph Pace, a seasoned nutrition researcher from Canada with a keen interest in performance nutrition. He convinced me to make a feature-length documentary about my journey, and with some timely guidance from [creator and executive producer of the Forks Over Knives film] Brian Wendel, we started filming in the fall of 2013.
In early 2014 we built a short trailer with hopes of attracting an established director capable of creating a truly cinematic film. We shared the trailer with Louie Psihoyos, the Oscar-winning director of The Cove, with hopes he might be able to recommend someone. His response was: “How about me?”
Shortly after bringing Louie on board, we got a phone call inviting us to meet with James Cameron, who had been following the film’s development. We all flew to Malibu and nearly fell out of our chairs when Mr. Cameron offered to not only join the film as an executive producer, but to also kickstart our fundraising with a large donation.
The rest of our crew—including our writer, Mark Monroe (Icarus, Before the Flood, The Cove), and our editor, Dan Swietlik (Fed Up, An Inconvenient Truth, Sicko)— joined the project shortly after.
FOK: Can you tell us about your journey and some of the people you met along the way?
JAMES WILKS: In the five years since production of the film got underway, I’ve had the opportunity to meet more than 50 athletes from around the globe. These include Olympians, world champions, and world record holders—each of whom have incredible stories and insights to share. Four of the athletes we spent the most time with in the film are strongman Patrik Baboumian, ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, cyclist Dotsie Bausch, and former NFL cornerback Lou Smith, each of whom embody one or more elements of world-class performance, ranging from strength and power to endurance, recovery, and longevity.
We also interviewed more than 30 experts in the fields of nutrition, public health, and anthropology, who also had their own powerful stories and knowledge to share. Among the most interesting to me were Dr. Fabian Kanz, a forensic anthropologist from Vienna who analyzed the gladiator bones; Dr. James Loomis, former team physician for the St. Louis Rams/Cardinals; and Dr. Kim Williams, then president of the American College of Cardiology. Each of them brought an entirely unique perspective to the science supporting plant-based nutrition.
FOK: What are a few surprising things you learned that are revealed in the film?
JW: The film features two live scientific experiments that use elite athletes as test subjects. The first experiment, conducted on three NFL players, looks at the effect a single meal (animal-based vs. plant-based) can have on overall blood flow. The second experiment, conducted on three varsity athletes, looks at the effect these same two meals can have on blood flow to a specific part of the male anatomy, i.e. erectile function.You’ll have to watch the film to see what happened.
FOK: The film recently premiered at Sundance. What was that like?
JW: Every screening sold out and we received multiple standing ovations, which was both incredible and surreal. I think when you spend five years on a project like this you have no idea what it’s going to be like for a first-time viewer. And to be honest, Joseph and I weren’t sure how the audience would respond. To be approached by people on the street saying they’ve been plant-based ever since the screening, or to hear from cab drivers that their previous customers couldn’t stop talking about the film, those were the most rewarding experiences we could imagine.
FOK: What’s your typical training schedule like these days, and what do you eat in a typical day right now?
JW: My training schedule is pretty light these days, at least compared to when I was competing in the UFC. That said, I still lift weights or run every day, and I also do combat training on a regular basis. To be honest it’s my kids who eat up most of my physical energy.
I start most days with a big bowl of oatmeal, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, berries, and banana. For lunch I might eat something like a lentil stew with collards and sweet potatoes. Midway through the afternoon I have a shake with plant milk, banana, dates, berries, kale, and a plant-based protein powder depending on my training goals. For dinner I’ll have a tofu stir fry with loads of veggies including red pepper, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, onions, garlic, etc. And then for a late-night snack I’ll have something like a whole grain cereal with apples, figs, and walnuts.
While I eat whole foods the majority of the time, our family also hits up Veggie Grill or Chipotle when we feel like a treat.
FOK: What is the single most important “truth” you hope people get out of watching the film?
JW: That an animal-based diet isn’t natural or necessary, and that a whole-food, plant-based diet is the single most powerful tool we have to improve how we look, feel, and perform.
This article was originally published on Feb. 22, 2018, and has been updated.
- plant-based athletes
- vegan athletes
Season 5 (2022–2023)
Sam says Zac, Jacob, and Ally play a simple game of Sam Says. Zach, Ross, and Rashawn make up songs on the fly with help from Aaron Wilson.
The Game Changers is a 2018 documentary film about athletes who have plant-based diets.Who is the vegan weightlifter in game changers? ›
In 2018, Baboumian was featured in the Netflix documentary "The Game Changers" directed by Louie Psihoyos, a film that explores nutritional science and showcases elite athletes who only consume plant-based diets.Who is the main guy in game changers? ›
Directed by Oscar®-winner Louie Psihoyos, The Game Changers follows the story of James Wilks - elite Special Forces trainer and winner of The Ultimate Fighter - as he travels the world on a quest for the truth about meat, protein, and strength.Will there be more GameChanger? ›
Yes, the GameChanger Classic app and website is still functional and you are able to continue to score games with that app. We are sunsetting the GameChanger Classic app in December 2023. Make the move to the new GameChanger as soon as possible so you don't miss out on your favorite game day features.Is there a new the game series? ›
On February 1, 2022, Paramount+ renewed the series for a second season with a 10-episode ordered. Production of the second season began on August 8, 2022. The second season premiered on December 15, 2022.Is Tom Brady A vegan? ›
He eats 80 per cent vegan, but 20 per cent of his meals are organic meat. According to a TB12 Sports blog, Brady's diet is structured around meals that contained 80 per cent plant-based foods like vegetables and grains, and 20 per cent organic lean protein like wild-caught fish or pasture-raised chicken.Is Jackie Chan A vegan? ›
He also acts, produces and directs films, where his worldwide influence and relationship with China enabled the documentary to be streamed there. While Chan is not fully vegan, he has decreased his meat intake and is an advocate for animal welfare.
Emilio Estevez Not Returning To 'The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers' For Season 2.Why is Emilio not in game changers? ›
Why Isn't Emilio Estevez in Season 2 of "The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers"? Estevez's continued involvement in the streaming series eventually fell apart over the ABC Signature show's COVID-19 vaccination requirement, with the latter deciding ultimately to part ways, Entertainment Weekly reported.
Patrik Baboumian proves every day that vegans can be stronger than people who eat animal-derived foods. The retired bodybuilder holds the world record for the heaviest yoke (1,224 pounds—that's nearly twice the weight of a grand piano!) carried over 10 meters.Who is the biggest vegan bodybuilder? ›
Jehina Malik is the only known pro bodybuilder who has been vegan her entire life. She's never tasted meat, dairy, or eggs, which are often considered the muscle-making nutritional staples.Where is GameChanger filmed? ›
(Family, Sports Drama)Fun for the whole family, hila. Game Changer - Game Changer is a family comedy. A new movie that was shot right here in metro Atlant.Who is Ben McBain game changers? ›
Ben McBain is every football team's dream player. He's a jack-of-all-trades guy that can handle almost any position. When the game is on the line, Ben's number is the one being called for the final play. But Ben wants to be the starting quarterback, and the one thing standing in his way is the coach's son.Who is the antagonist in game changers? ›
Daryl "Coach T" Tingman is the coach of the former Mighty Ducks and the main antagonist of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers. He is played by Dylan Playfair, who is the son of former Calgary Flames real-life head coach Jim Playfair.How does GameChanger make money? ›
Over 24 million games have been scored on GameChanger corresponding to over 500,000 active scoring teams across multiple sports in all age groups. GameChanger is free for coaches, scorekeepers and team admins. GameChanger uses the Freemium model to generate most of its revenue.Do you have to pay for GameChanger? ›
GameChanger is free for Team Staff to manage their teams. All scorekeeping, video streaming, and stat features are available free of charge. Family and fans will have a Basic level of access for free and can opt to upgrade to the Plus or Premium level to access additional features.Can anyone go live on GameChanger? ›
Any Team Staff member (or Confirmed Team Member on teams with Streaming Permissions set to Confirmed Members) can start live streaming video of their team's games in GameChanger with just a few taps.Who is the woman in the intro of the game? ›
Wendy Raquel Robinson as Tasha Mack - Tasha is the brash, bold, & flamboyant mother of Malik Wright and begins the series as his manager.Where can I watch the new the game series? ›
The Game, a comedy series starring Wendy Raquel Robinson, Hosea Chanchez, and Adriyan Rae is available to stream now. Watch it on The Roku Channel, Paramount Plus, Prime Video or Vudu on your Roku device.
It works with Android and iOS, PlayStation, Xbox, Chromecast, Fire TV and more. Paramount Plus offers two tiers of service plans. The base tier, Paramount Plus Essential costs $4.99/mo. or $49.99 a year.Which NFL team is mostly vegan? ›
Fifteen Tennessee Titans players have adopted a plant-based diet to improve their athletic performance. Vegan Chef Charity Morgan, who has more than 15 years experience and a culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, provides food for the team.Does Tom Brady eat bread? ›
SPORTS WRITER REACTS TO TOM BRADY'S DIET REGIMEN
While the NFL quarterback reportedly avoids bread to keep his digestive system in tip-top shape, it turns out writing off bread might help to keep you looking and feeling young.
The Tom Brady diet includes plenty of brown rice, quinoa, and millet because they provide greater nutrition than their refined counterparts.Is Oprah A vegan? ›
Oprah Winfrey is probably one of the meat industry's least favorite people. In 1996 she invited former cattleman Howard Lyman onto her show. Despite the fact that she currently eats a non-vegetarian diet, Oprah Winfrey has done more than nearly anyone else in the media to publicize the benefits of veganism.Does Jennifer Aniston vegan? ›
Is Jennifer Aniston Vegan? Many are curious to know about the star's diet. While she's not vegan, she does seem to eat a lot of plant-based foods and have sustainability on her mind. In Jennifer Aniston's new interview with Allure, it seems that the star enjoys a nice homemade shake.Is Jennifer Lopez A vegan? ›
The Jenny from the Block singer credited a vegan diet for her weight loss after giving birth to her twins, but the star previously revealed that she also felt her energy levels soar. "It was a real change, but more than that I felt better and people were like 'Your energy's better'," she told Extra.
But what happened to Emilio Estevez, who has portrayed Coach Bombay since the early '90s? It was previously confirmed that Estevez, 60, would not be reprising his role as Bombay, now the owner of the Ice Palace, in "The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers" due to what has been described as a contract dispute.Why did Coach Bombay leave the Ducks? ›
They told him he could never coach college hockey again. With no more Ducks in his life, no hockey, and no way to revive his legal career, Gordon Bombay focused on the only way he knew to make a living: the Ice Palace.Is Dean Portman in game changers? ›
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers (TV Series 2021–2022) - Aaron Lohr as Dean Portman - IMDb.
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers Canceled After Two Seasons at Disney+ Following Emilio Estevez exiting the show after season 1, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers has been canceled.Why did The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers get Cancelled? ›
Along with Big Shot, Game Changers was approved for a second season despite an underwhelming performance relative to what it cost to make. The move is likely what led to the firing of longtime Disney executive Peter Rice who reportedly drew the ire of the company for his questionable decision-making.Which gender is most vegan? ›
In fact, 79 percent of vegans are women. Some theorize that this gender disproportionation can be attributed to cultural notions of masculinity being contingent on the primordial intricacies of the hunter-prey paradigm.Was Mike Tyson A vegan? ›
After being vegan for a decade, he decided to go back to meat as he was preparing for his return to the ring in 2020. Tyson told UFC commentator Joe Rogan on his podcast: “I stopped because of the training and because of what I wanted my body to look like and the strength that I wanted to poses.Are most vegans male or female? ›
Women are about twice as likely as men to say they're eating less meat, clocking in at 31% to 15%, respectively. Overall, it's been estimated that 80% of vegans in the U.S. are women—that's a whopping four out of five plant-based people you meet.Is Arnold Schwarzenegger a vegan? ›
Speaking on a recent episode of his podcast Arnold's Pump Club, Schwarzenegger—who is also an actor and the former governor of California—said that while he still eats eggs, salmon, and chicken, he has “more and more veggie burgers with lentils and beans.”Is there any obese vegan? ›
It's possible to be an overweight or obese vegan, of course, just as it's possible to be a thin meat-eater, but adult vegans are, on average, 10 to 20 pounds lighter than adult meat-eaters.Are any elite athletes vegan? ›
Seven-time Formula One champion and vegan Lewis Hamilton is a vocal supporter of animal rights. The British racer ditched meat and dairy in 2017 after watching the vegan documentary “What the Health.”What is the index of the game changers? ›
What is The GC Index? The GC Index® (a.k.a. The Game-Changing Index) is the organimetric that empowers organisations to drive performance and achieve innovation by creating game-changing teams and cultures.Who are the members of the game changer? ›
Zeke Nicholson, Zach Reino, Jess McKenna, and Scott Passarella make up a musical on the spot.
Sam Dalton Reich (/raɪʃ/ RYSHE; born July 22, 1984) is an American CEO, businessman, producer, and game show host. He is best known for his work with CollegeHumor and Adam Ruins Everything, as well as for hosting the web series Game Changer.How old is Ben McBain? ›
Playmakers by Mike Lupica is about a 12 year old boy named Ben McBain who plays basketball on his middle school team. After winning the county championship Ben and friends are looking to win the county championship for basketball. But when Ben finds out that there is a new kid in town, and his name is Chase Braggs.Who is the main character of game changer by Mike Lupica? ›
In the book Game Changers by Mike Lupica the main character Ben is faced with problems on his football team with helping his friend Shawn show his father, a former NFL quarterback that he wants to be a receiver and let Ben be quarterback.What team does Ben McBain play for? ›
Ben Mcbain is the main character of the book. He is very short, but very athletic and always wants to win in sports. He plays the point guard position in basketball. In the previous book of the serious, Ben's team, the Rockwell Rams, win there football season by Ben throwing a long pass to Sam Brown for a touchdown.How did Teddy get injured in Game Changer? ›
Teddy wobbled a bit before collapsing as he tried to leave the field. The injury was no accident—it was a deliberate cheap shot, and now Teddy is in a coma. Alec reveals that he was the poster named Clea and that he wanted to reveal the truth behind Teddy's injuries and the team's toxic culture.Who is the lifter from game changers? ›
Kendrick Farris. Kendrick Farris is a three-time Pan American Games champion, the current American record-holder in the Clean and Jerk as well as Total Weight, and the only American weightlifter to compete in the last three Olympic Games.Who is the main character in Game Changer? ›
Teddy is a 13-year-old football player who has been injured during football camp the summer before his freshman year of high school. Though Teddy serves as the catalyst for the narrative, he doesn't speak until the novel's end.
Game Changer, Dropout. tv's hit game show/comedy revue and one of the best shows on TV, will not conclude with the show's purported finale, but with Game Changer: Battle Royale — Old Guard vs. New Blood, a four-part conclusion to the most changeable season of Game Changer yet.When did GameChanger by Neal Shusterman come out? › Is there a free version of GameChanger? ›
Coaches, GameChanger is 100% FREE for you to use for your team. Free Features: Live video streaming. Game & practice schedules.
Game Changer (TV Series 2019– ) - IMDb.What is the highest played Battle Royale game? ›
Fortnite: Battle Royale is the most successful free-to-play videogame ever, making $1.2 billion in the first 10 months of release.Who is the founder of GameChanger? ›
GameChanger was launched in 2010 by co-founders Ted Sullivan and Kiril Savino.Can you watch GameChanger on TV? ›
You can watch GameChanger on a TV, although it will require the right setup. There is no native GameChanger app for Apple TV, FireTV, Google TV, or Roku. Still each of them has some form a screen sharing potential.Who invented game changer 23? ›
Madhav Gupta - Co-Founder - Game Changers 23 | LinkedIn.Who is Ash in game changer? ›
Ash is a 17-year-old football player. During a game he gets hit hard and after that the things start to get weirder and weirder. At first it's the small things that are off, but every next time he gets hit, his world changes beyond comprehension or control.What is the tone of game changer? ›
At its core, Game Changer is a story about empathy.
It's about the need for kindness, understanding, and the humility to listen and learn from those who have different life experiences than us.
GameChanger is free for Team Staff to manage their teams. All scorekeeping, video streaming, and stat features are available free of charge. Family and fans will have a Basic level of access for free and can opt to upgrade to the Plus or Premium level to access additional features.Who owns GameChanger app? ›
Sameer Ahuja leads New York-based GameChanger, a DICK'S Sporting Goods sports technology company. GameChanger's mission is to help families elevate the next generation through sports.
It's free to stream and watch on iOS and Android devices.