April 28, 2011

Greg & Friends Level Up in “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules”


Greg Heffley, the kid who made “wimpy” cool, is back in an all-new family comedy film based on the best-selling follow-up novel by Jeff Kinney of the same title “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules.”

The first motion picture based on Kinney’s work, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” brought to cinematic life the adventures of wisecracking pre-teen Greg Heffley, who must somehow survive the scariest time of anyone’s life….middle school. Zachary Gordon, Devon Bostick, Rachael Harris, Robert Capron, Steve Zahn and most of the cast from “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” return. Now, with the new film, the focus is on Greg’s family, especially his relationship with his older brother, Rodrick. Greg has changed since the first movie. Last year, he was heading into middle school for the first time. This year, he feels more confident and like he’s in control. And now, he’s trying to make inroads with a pretty new girl at school, so he can improve his situation at school even further.

“The movie is centered on a classic theme, something most people have been through, which is sibling rivalry,” says producer Brad Simpson. “Every day, Greg probably wishes he were an only child.”

“It’s hard from me to look at the Wimpy Kid books now and not think of Zach [Gordon],” says Simpson. “I think he’s the perfect Greg Heffley. He’s brought a depth that was essential to role. Zach has a little bit of Greg in him – that’s the key thing. He’s a fast talker and often looking for an angle. Zach doesn’t have some of Greg’s hard edges and he has the ability to deliver some of the ‘Greg lines’ that can read as being harsh, but when delivered by Zach, you see that they come from him wanting to fit in. Greg isn’t mean; he’s just struggling, like every kid, to find his place in the world.”

“Greg Heffley has definitely changed since we saw him in the first movie,” says Zachary. “In the books, he pretty much stays the same but, for the movies, we wanted him change at least a little bit. This time, he and Rowley don’t have as much conflict. Greg is no longer being humiliated every day and he’s kind of got the school-thing down.”

Robert Capron returns as Greg Heffley’s best friend, Rowley Jefferson, “Rowley is still wide-eyed,” says Simpson. “He thinks you should just be yourself and people will like you.”

“Rowley and Greg’s relationship hasn’t really changed,” Capron elaborates. “They’re still really good friends and Greg is still making Rowley do things that he doesn’t want to, but Rowley’s doing them anyway.”

Jeff Kinney notes that, “In the first movie, Greg is worried about Rowley weighing him down in the social world. But now, he is comfortable with Rowley as his best friend. There’s something about the relationship that’s really one-sided, but there’s something that also works. And in this movie, we’re exploring the part that works.”
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” opens April 23 (Saturday) in theaters from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

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