Following our private interview with Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney, we got the chance to watch the kids from the film in action. First, at a press conference for adults and kids (there were some terrific reporters from Kidsday on hand to grill the three stars about their experiences on set) and then, in a private room where we got the chance to see how the boys act, well, like real boys.
I found all three actors to be incredibly down to earth, humble and generally fun to be around. And they were incredibly gracious to sign copies of the Wimpy Kid books for all of our children. Plus, I have never seen so much talent in three boys under the age of 20. Let’s start wtih Robert Capron, who plays the nerdy, awkward and incredibly funny Rowley. Robert lives in Rhode Island and says when he went to audition for the film, “There were so many people there and I didn’t think I was going to get it. I found out later that as soon as I auditioned, they knew I was Rowley. I didn’t know that. The producer, Brad Simpson, said that as soon as I walked out, they knew that I was gonna be Rowley, which I’m happy about. I did three different screen tests, because the thing was they had a very hard time searching for Greg Heffley. I did three different screen tests with all these different Greg’s.”
Zach Gordon, who eventually landed the role of Greg says the audition process for him took much longer – nine months to be precise. He says, “I was 10, I think. It was different. I really didn’t expect that the audition process would be so long, and during that time, I actually slept with the books under my pillows for good luck. It was really long, and I didn’t expect it to be that long. Originally, I was out of the mix and they didn’t want me. But, then, a couple of months later, they asked me to come back, and they wanted to see me again.”
Zach continues, “I loved the books, so I thought, ‘Wow, I can’t believe it.’ They’re actually letting me audition.” When I went in the room, there were eight high school kids in there going out for Greg. And I said, “Are you sure I’m supposed to be here, mom?”
Zach adds that when he first auditioned for the role, he didn’t quite look like Greg Heffley.
“I went in the audition and I had these huge baggy pants on, this huge jacket and a long T-shirt and long hair. Originally, they said that I didn’t look like Greg, but I could deliver the lines like Greg. I went through all these screen tests. Then I did something called boot camp, where they dress you up like the character, and then they cut your hair and do your make-up. It was crazy, because I had never had my hair that short before. I got to go to this hair stylist and everything, but they still weren’t that sure.”
The last part of Zach’s audition required him to play a scene with Robert and after doing two screen tests with him, he says, “they knew that we were the perfect best friends.”
Once casting was complete for Greg and Rowley it was on to Rodrick. Devon Bostick, who had been living in Canada at the time, initially sent in his audition via videotape. While he had been acting professionally since he was nine years old and had been portraying serious roles, he never expected that he would inevitably land the part of Rodrick.
While he hadn’t heard anything for three months after he had submitted his first audition tape, he finally got word from production that they wanted him to “self-tape” again. He says, “It was the exact same sides, so I did it the exact same way. Usually I will switch up my performance, but I thought I did it right the first time. And I didn’t know that it was a call-back. I said to myself, “I bet they didn’t even see the first tape.”
Within 24 hours, the producers called Devon and said, “We want you to audition in Vancouver. So, they flew me to Vancouver, and when I auditioned, I did improv in the room. I think that once I did the improv, I knew I had the role. The next day they called.” And the rest is history….
Check back again for some great stories from the three cast members who dish some dirt about their antics on set and who played the most tricks on each of them. Plus, visit the Diary of Wimpy Kid movie website for great games, videos, photos and the chance to “wimpify” yourself! And if you haven’t checked out the movie yet, take a look at the trailer…
Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules Online Trailer