Good new for Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans! The second movie, Rodrick Rules (rated PG) is almost here! It’s coming to theaters on March 25 – that’s next Friday!! To get you psyched, today we have interviews with the actors who play Rowley, Greg, and Rodrick, so you can find out all about their real life quirks, pranks on the set, and other hilarious escapades in their lives. AND, be sure to check back here next Friday because Scholastic writer, Ratha, has already seen an advance screening of the Rodrick Rules movie, and she will be giving us her review.
First up is Robert Capron who plays Rowley.
Q: Describe Rowley.
Robert: Rowley is a very caring person. He’s who every person would want to be friends with. He really cares about people and he’s really nice, but he can be naïve. He can be kind of dumb sometimes, but everybody likes him and he’s a really good person. I would be a friend of his.
Q: You and Zach play best friends in the film. How did you establish a friendship?
Robert: Well, Zach and I really got to become very good friends because when we were in Vancouver there was so much stuff to do. Neither of us had been there before. So we went to this mountain called Grouse Mountain and we went on this suspension bridge called the Capilano Suspension Bridge, and it was very, very fun. We got a very good bond over the course of filming the first movie. We got to know each other really well, and when we had to do, in the first movie, the scene where I get mad at him and I tell him I don’t want to be friends anymore, it was kind of tough because it was like saying “I don’t want to be friends” to Zach.
Q: Your real mom played your mom in the movie?
Robert: Yes. That was really, really cool. My mom did play my mom. When we were filming, it was really funny because my mom, when she was in high school she used to be like a choreographer, so that’s why she got cast. It was really, really funny because we had to do like the weirdest dance, and it was really awkward to have to do this stuff with your mom in the outfits we were wearing. And when we watched it, we were like shocked. [Laughter]
Q: Did you read the Wimpy Kid books before you were cast?
Robert: Yes, and I have a very funny story about that. I was sleeping over at my best friend’s house and I’m an early bird. I can’t sleep any later than like 6:30am. So I was up and I was bored out of my mind. I mean my best friend is right next to me and he’s just snoring, and I’ve got nothing to do. I almost felt like jumping on him and saying, “Wake up!” Well, on his book shelf there was the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, and I thought, “I heard this book was good. I might as well read it.” And I loved it. I finished the book before my friend got up, and I really, really enjoyed it. Now that I think back on it, who knew that I would end up being in the movie? It’s like, “Whoa.”
Q: Now when you read a book, do you think, “Hmm I might like to play this character”?
Robert: This could never happen – when I was reading the Harry Potter books, I saw Neville – and the way I am, I thought that if they had made the movies around this time when he’s my age, I think I could have played him because he kind of fits me because I’m clumsy and stuff.
Q: What kind of books do you like to read?
Robert: I really like a lot of books. My least favorite genre would probably be like romance. I think that’s pretty common with boys my age. I really like the Harry Potter books, the Percy Jackson books. So I guess you could say I like fantasy. I also really like mystery books. I love mystery books.
Q: Is there a book that you’re looking forward to reading this summer?
Robert: There are a couple books. One of them is Everfound. It’s by this guy named Neal Shusterman. And a very funny thing happened with him. I did this episode for a TV show called R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour. I did the entire episode and I went home. Now during the episode I was reading some of Neal Shusterman’s books. Just as we were going home I realized that Neal Shusterman had written my episode and I didn’t even know it. I was like, “What?” I was shocked.
Q: What was the biggest change going from elementary school to middle school?
Robert: The biggest change for me was probably being in different rooms every period. I was always used to being in just one room. Sometimes we’d go into another room for like library or art or something, but now we had to go into a different room for every period. I remember I came back later in the year, like in October, because I was filming the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid. So when I got to middle school I had no idea where to go or what to do.
Q: What do you think the qualities of a good friend are?
Robert: I think the qualities of a good friend are they really care about you. Now with me it’s interesting because when I got back, everybody wanted to be my friend because I was in the movie. But I knew that my real friends were the people that were friends with me before I was in the movie. So you have to be careful because some friends will be with you just because you might be like popular or be like a member of the basketball team or something like that. Another quality for a good friend is that they’re honest. They don’t talk behind your back or anything.
Q: If you could put any topping on a pizza, what would it be?
Robert: You have like the most brilliant questions! You do. Man. If could put anything on a pizza, even if it was unusual – I do just like plain old pepperoni pizza, but let me think. You know what would be really weird is if you had pancakes on a pizza. That would be really weird. [Laughter]
Q: Is there anything in particular that you would like your fans to know about you?
Robert: I would like my fans to know that I’m really, really glad that they’re my fans. I’m really glad they like me as an actor. I really appreciate it.
Now on to Zachary Gordon who plays Greg Heffley.
Q: Is Greg close to your own personality?
Zach: No, because I have a lot of friends in real life and Greg doesn’t. He’s manipulative and I’m pretty nice. My parents really keep me grounded.
Q: Have you read all the Wimpy Kid books?
Zach: Yes. I think the first is my favorite. I love them because they’re really funny. When I read them, I hadn’t gone to middle school yet and they gave me tips about the middle school experiences.
Q: What are some of your favorite books?
Zach: The Percy Jackson books, Harry Potter, Wimpy Kid of course. The Candy Shop Wars. And this book called Evil Genius. It’s an awesome book, pretty long but will keep you entertained. It’s kinda like Harry Potter but evil.
Q: Book you want to read next?
Zach: I have The Hunger Games (for ages 12 and up) and I’m gonna start reading it.
Q: Real life embarrassing moments?
Zach: When I was six I was walking in Sea World with my brothers and my mom and dad. My brothers and I were fooling around and I tripped over something and grabbed onto my dad’s pants and pulled them down. Then he pulled my pants down.
Q: Funniest moment from the set?
Zach: Devon (who plays Rodrick) played a prank on me and I tried to get him back. I filled a bottle with water and put salt in it, but it backfired because someone gave it to me to drink—but I pretended it wasn’t salt water. But it was awful.
And finally, we hear from Devon Bostick who plays Greg’s mean older brother, Rodrick.
Q: With the new Wimpy Kid movie, Rodrick Rules, did you your role grow?
Devon: I was on pretty much every single day of shooting and we really get to see some sides of him that we never saw before. Good and bad. We get this whole juicy new world of Rodrick. His band is featured a lot more too. I play the drums in it. I had to learn it like two months before the movie. I had to just learn tricks, because we figured Rodrick is one of those guys that didn’t learn from a teacher or any lessons. He watched drummers on television and just mimicked their cool moves. So I worked on more moves than actual drumming.
Q: Have you ever tormented a younger sibling?
Devon: I haven’t. I have a younger brother. He’s fifteen now and we didn’t used to get along so well, but that’s just age difference. With Rodrick and Greg, one’s in middle school, one’s in high school and it’s just an awkward time for both of them to be friends. He’s in high school now – my younger brother – and we get along so well. So I feel like if Rodrick and Greg grew up, in five or six years they’d actually be friends. They’re actually pretty similar. Rodrick is as wimpy as Greg is. He’s just so much better at hiding it or being something else.
Q: Do you have a favorite prank from the set?
Devon: Yeah, it’s funny and cruel at the same time but me and Zachary have this funny relationship in real life. We’re really good friends and in the first movie we bonded like that. That was me snapping. “Like that.” So this movie I took the approach of yes, we’re really good buds, but I’m gonna pull out a little Rodrick just to keep you on your toes. There was one point where I went to the floor to pick up my water bottle and Zach actually jumped because he was scared by my movements. But my favorite prank was actually one I did always April Fool’s when I was in grade school. It was filling an oreo with toothpaste. I said to Zach, “Hey, you want this oreo? Dance for it.” So he started dancing and then he grabbed the cookie from me and ran away and he’s like, “Haha! I got the cookie!” And then he ate it and he spat it out. He tried to prank me after that, so it went on and on.
Q: What are some of your favorite books for kids?
Devon: Harry Potter’s a big one when you’re younger. I stopped reading though on the fourth book when he brought an egg into the bathtub because I was like, “Whoa what? What just happened?” I was too confused. I was like, “You know what, there’s magic and then there’s bringing an egg into a bathtub.” A dragon egg I think he was bringing into the bathtub which is even weirder. So I just stopped reading by that point, but I did love the Harry Potter series when I was younger. Also Magic Tree House. I love those books! When I was really young I read those. That’s like coming into a whole world when they go back in time in their tree house.
Q: What obstacles did you have to overcome while you were in school?
Devon: Definitely bullying. I was bullied when I was in grades three and four. Middle school was tough too. I became comfortable with myself by the time I hit high school. But in grade seven I moved to a new school. And that was really tough because everybody had already made friends. They had cliques that they had formed since kindergarten. I just really didn’t fit in and was sort of left out. When I hit high school I was like, “Enough of this.” It’s tough. Middle school and when you’re younger is really tough. Kids can be mean. And then you realize it’s all not really worth it in the end. It’s a huge part of your life but also you’ve got so much more to do. There’s many years ahead of you but you don’t really realize it because you’re just there in the present. And there’s some bully who’s tackling you to the ground. But yeah there’s more. There’s more to life.
Interviews by Marie Morreale, Gerry Miller, and Tyrus Cukavac
Images courtesy of 20 Century Fox