The Low Down On The Makers of The Game Changers
by Emily Harris
This September marks the passing of one year since the hit documentary film The Game Changers graced our Netflix subscriptions, and WHAT a year it’s been for veganism and plant-based living! But who were the brains, cinematic eyes and plant-based sportsmen behind the popular documentary film?
The Game Changers aims to debunk the widely held belief, and myth, that humans need meat for protein. Ex-UFC fighter James Wilks narrates the film, following various plant-based athletes who’ve experienced a heightened performance since making the switch to a plant-based diet.
The key talking points in the film surround how plants make you strong and boost your testosterone levels, which are all no-brainers for world-class athletes.
Image credit: The Game Changers
Director of The Game Changers was Oscar award-winning American photographer and documentary filmmaker, Louie Psihoyos, whose focus is photography and directing. He also raises awareness of the conservation of oceans which has stemmed from his training as a scuba-diver, alongside his 17 years worth of work for National Geographic.
When in a discussion about the destruction going on in the Great Barrier Reef on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Psihoyos talks about how he not only wants to create awareness around these issues but also wants to create change. Which is exactly what he aimed to achieve through his direction of The Game Changers.
A former UFC fighter who suffered extensive injuries throughout his professional career, Wilks personally investigated switching to a plant-based diet, which ultimately led to him starring in as well as producing the documentary.
In an interview with the founder of Plant Based News at the time of the film’s release, Wilks described the filmmakers of the documentary as “the most powerful documentary team ever assembled.” Plant-based Avengers, anyone?
You probably know James Cameron from the likes of Titanic and Avatar, but he was also an executive producer on The Game Changers. He’s achieved all this and more while being an environmentalist and running a number of sustainable businesses. Read more about Cameron’s plant-based investments here.
In his award acceptance speech at the National Geographic 125th Gala, Cameron divulged his belief that “by changing what you eat, you will change the entire contract between the human species and the natural world.”
Hollywood’s very own action man, Schwarzenegger is best known for his career as an actor and bodybuilder. Arnie is now fully on board with living a plant-powered lifestyle (check out our copywriter Laura’s take on our newfound hero), swapping beef for Beyond Meat and cow’s milk for almond milk.
Another executive producer on the documentary, Schwarzenegger also features in it. He explains how the meat industry sells “the idea that real men eat meat” but that this is not realistic nor is it sustainable (check it out here). Coming from a bodybuilder who has gone from eating 10-15 eggs a day to being 99% plant-based…
One of the most recognisable household names in action films, Jackie Chan is a martial artist from Hong Kong. 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.
The filmmakers considered streaming the documentary in China a crucial step due to the country’s rising meat consumption. In an interview at the time of streaming the documentary, Wilks said they wanted to encourage people in China to return “to a more traditional Chinese diet, where healthy plant foods make up the majority of each meal. In short: eat more plants.” You can read more on this topic here.
A five-time winner of Formula One motor racing, Lewis Hamilton has talked openly about his veganism and how he made the switch to a plant-based diet after watching another crucial documentary, What the Health. He has even opened his own vegan restaurant, Neat Burger, which we featured in our Eating Around London in a Day article.
In a 2020 interview with Lewis Hamilton, Gentleman’s Journal called him a “visionary”. It noted that when he made the switch to a plant-based diet, some of his fellow drivers labelled him a hypocrite for wanting to save the planet but also racing for a living.” But the positive effect this dietary change had on his mind and body, as well as the planet, was undeniable.
Djokovic was also an executive producer on The Game Changers towards the later stages of production, while also being ranked world No. 1 in men’s singles tennis, no big deal. In an interview before the Wimbledon Men’s Final in 2019, he revealed that “I do eat plant-based. I think that's one of the reasons why I recover well. I don't have allergies that I used to have any more. And I like it.”
The discussion surrounding his change in diet pricked the ears of The Game Changers team, where Djokovic, after discovering he was intolerant to dairy, refined sugar and had an allergy to gluten, switched to a plant-based diet.
Paul is a nine-time NBA All-Star basketballer who maintains a largely plant-based diet (with Beyond meat burgers and sausages being a main, tasty feature on his menu). This change in Paul’s diet came about after co-producing The Game Changers as he realised he wasn’t getting younger or any fitter while playing alongside 19 and 20-year-olds full of refined sugar and energy.
“For me, being as competitive as I am, I looked at this and I was like: hold up, let me try this out,” he told Men’s Health in 2020, and so far, so good.
So, if being plant-based is good enough for a gladiator or for any of these athletes and visionaries, then it’s good enough for us. And if you’d like to add more plants to your plate, why not try out a box of our 100% vegan meals to get you started?
By Emily Harris
Emily is our Social and Content Assistant who you’ll find at an art gallery, snapping away on her camera, or updating her Instagram with a gin in hand (so millennial).