'Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3: Dog Days' Interview with Kam Williams
By Kam Williams
Tete-a-Tete with the Wimpy Kid Co-Stars, Creator and DirectorZachary Gordon (Greg)
Zachary Gordon was born in Oak Park, California on February 15, 1998. Following his work as the title character of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," Variety called him "The next Bill Murray." While filming its sequel, he received the Danville Children's Film Festival's Rising Star Award. His Young Artists Award-winning film debut in "Georgia Rule" led to work in "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," "The Brothers Bloom" and TV series including "How I Met Your Mother," "Desperate Housewives" and "24."
Zach's voiceover work includes "Ni Hao Kai-lan," "Bubble Guppies," "Afro Samurai: Resurrection," "Batman: The Brave and the Bold," "Robot Chicken" and the big screen's "Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2." He's also hosted the "Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus" DVD. Zachary enjoys basketball and ping-pong, and plans to produce or direct some of his favorite stories.
Robert Capron (Rowley)
Robert Capron was born on July 9, 1998 in Providence, Rhode Island where he began taking afterschool acting classes at the Trinity Repertory Company at the age of 8. After auditioning for a role in "A Christmas Carol" that same year, he knew he wanted to pursue an acting career.
Robert is best known as Rowley in the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" franchise. He has also appeared in "The Three Stooges," "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," "Bride Wars" and Lasse Hallstrom's motion picture drama "Hachi: A Dog's Story." In addition to classic movies, Robert loves reading, from American history to Spider-Man comics. He also enjoys writing, and wrote his first film treatment while filming "Diary of a Wimpy Kid."
David Bowers (Director)
Born in Cheshire, England in 1970, David Bowers is an artist-turned-director who started out as an animator for "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" He made his directorial debut in 2006 with "Flushed Away," following-up that feature-length film with "Astro Boy," "Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules" and now "Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3: Dog Days."
Jeff Kinney (Creator/Author/Cartoonist)
Jeff Kinney was born in Fort Washington, Maryland on February 19, 1971. He has written and illustrated the entire "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series, selling over 75 million copies and counting thus far.
Kam: Hi guys, thanks for the time. I have asked a couple of Wimpy Kid fans, Martha Cryan and Clementine Hauger, to help me conduct the interview.
Zach, Robert and Jeff: Nice to meet you!
Martha: What's it like making another movie together?
Zach: It's cool! It's really cool! You get to bond with all of the cast and crew. And it's really nice to get to see them for a third time now. I've got to say, every time we film these movies, it's like a little Wimpy reunion. It definitely helps getting into character. We all play off each other so well, and that's what I like about coming back to film these movies. It's a great feeling!
Martha: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?
Robert: Is there any question no one ever asks, that I wish someone would? [Stops to think]I don't know... People have asked a lot of questions. Like I had one interviewer ask if I liked KFC bargain buckets. [Chuckles] So, I don't know. I think they've pretty much covered everything for me.
Zach: This question doesn't really work that well, but if some person ever asked, "Zach, why are you so awesome and very muscular?" that would be pretty cool. That's not really going to happen, ever, but I can dream.
Martha: Do you ever get nervous acting?
Robert: I wouldn't say we get nervous anymore. When you're doing your first play, your first movie, or whatever the first thing you do you is, you can get nervous. I remember acting in a play for the first time, and I was nervous because all my friends were watching, and I was worried that they might laugh at me, if I messed something up. But after awhile, you get kind of used to it, and eventually it gets to the point where you're like, "That's okay. That's alright." So, you generally get used to it, although you do still feel a little anxious right before you film a scene.
Zach: It really depends on the scene. For instance, we were filming a scene where we were supposed to go on this roller coaster-type of amusement park ride that was 160 feet tall and went 62 miles per hour. Plus, you got spun around at the top of it. That was definitely nerve-wracking! That was probably the only scene I was afraid filming.
Clementine: Are you happy?
Zach: Definitely! I'm basically happy all the time. But filming these movies is really a blast. It's a great experience and you learn so much new stuff that you couldn't in school.
Jeff: That was supposed to be a one-word answer, Zach.
Zach: [LOL] I know, I was going to stop, except that happiness can be described in many ways. I was only answering at length because I didn't know if she meant was I happy in general or happy making the movies. They're totally different, because...
Jeff: [Cuts him off] Robert? Robert's allowed to answer as well.
Zach: Okay, I get it. [Laughs]
Robert: Yeah, I'm always happy, except when I have to do chores.
Clementine: When was the last time you had a good laugh?
Zach: A good love?
Clementine: [Who has a French accent, repeats] A good laugh.
Robert: Do you mean love or laugh?
Kam: [Clarifies] Laugh! Laugh!
Zach: Oh, laugh! [The boys snicker] My last laugh? Definitely after Jeff teased me about that last answer. I laugh all the time, which is good, except during class when I sometimes get in trouble for it. Laughing's good for you!
Martha: What was the last book you read?
Jeff: [Playfully] You should first ask them if they can read.
Robert: I currently can't read, but I'm working on it. [Laughs]
Zach: The last book I read was "The Maze Runner."
Robert: The last one I finished was a summer reading assignment from school called "The House of the Scorpion." It was pretty good.
Jeff: I never read books. I only listen to books. I'm currently listening to Game of Thrones. It's a very good series.
Clementine: What music are you listening to?
Zach: Music? I love Sixties music, in general. I love The Beatles. I like some of today's music, but the older stuff clicks more with me.
Robert: Yeah, I'm probably going to answer the same way. I like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, those kind of bands. And Barbara Streisand, too. [LOL] I'm just kidding.
Jeff: I like Third Eye Blind and Def Leppard.
Kam: Jeff, to what do you attribute your success as a writer?
Jeff: I think kids like to laugh and to read for pleasure, just like adults do. That means they're inclined to pick up a book they think is going to entertain them. So, I believe it's that I entertain kids.
Kam: The last best-selling author I interviewed was Nicholas Sparks, who has enjoyed the same, stratospheric success as you, but with romance novels. I think both of you have tapped into something that has jettisoned you to another level.
Jeff: I'd say that it's the ordinariness of the stories. They're very plain, very small stories. But because of that, people can see themselves in the characters. There are no dragons or wizards or vampires. It's just real-life stories, and I think kids like that.
Martha: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
Robert: I see myself, a person who has a lot of zits.
Kam: I didn't even notice any. I see a handsome young man.
Zach: When I look in the mirror, I see a kid being hit by a truck when it comes to puberty. It's definitely happening too fast. Obviously, it's a part of life, but you have to get used to it. Also, I see someone who's is hopefully becoming a famous actor.
Robert: I see...
Zach: [Cuts him off] Batman!
Robert: Yeah, I see, and a person who hopefully is going to grow up to be an actor, writer, producer and director. I guess I'm talking too much.*
Jeff: That's alright, you still have a long way to go to catch up to Zach. [Everybody laughs] when I look in the mirror, I see a guy who's lost 20 pounds in the last year, but nobody's mentioned that.
Kam: Congrats on the weight-loss, Jeff. Zach, do you want to direct, too?
Zach: Absolutely! I want to direct because I still have so much to learn about the film industry. My knowledge increases with every movie I work on, especially Wimpy Kid where I learned all about camera angles and lighting techniques. I also want to go to film school. Every aspect of the film industry is fascinating to me.
Clementine: What is your earliest childhood memory?
Zach: Being in the stroller at Disneyland with my family. And no, Jeff, it wasn't at 14. I was about 2 and I guess I remember it because of the good memory. I can clearly recall everybody laughing and having fun. I wish I could remember more of it.
Robert: My earliest memory is really weird. It's popping a balloon and playing in a bouncy house at my 4th birthday party which is when I got my first Batman mask. I'm secretly Batman.
Jeff: I remember being asked in pre-school what was my favorite vegetable. I answered cucumber. Then they let me taste one, and I realized I'd made a terrible mistake.
Martha: What is your favorite dish to cook?
Zach: Ooh! I don't know, but when I was younger I used to watch the Cooking Channel, because I never understood why people would eat such weird stuff. Then, one day, I watched a show about how to make an omelet. That's the only dish I can really make, so I guess that would have to be my favorite.*
Robert: Mine is toast, because it's the only thing I can make.
Jeff: I like 2 eggs over hard.
Clementine: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?
Zach: It might sound silly, but if I had one wish, I would choose that I could always be happy. A lot of people aren't content with their lives. I'm happy now, but I hope to remain happy when I get older.
Robert: I'd like to end world hunger. Or else I'd wish for world peace or maybe for more wishes.
[At this juncture, director David Bowers joined the conversation.]
Kam: Hi David, what challenges did you encounter in making Wimpy Kid 3?
David: One of the challenges was to find something new, something that we hadn't already covered. The first film was about school. The second was mostly about brothers. This one was about summer vacation, and about the sort of trouble Greg gets into when he isn't in school. It also has a big father/son story that provides the emotional spine of the film. It afforded Steve Zahn a chance to do a bit more than he had in the previous movies.
Kam: What's it like working with Jeff? Is he a nuisance to have hanging around the set, always complaining about how his words were being adapted to the screen?
David: Not at all. Our relationship is different from the usual relationship between filmmaker and author in that Jeff was integral to the making of the movie. He was always very supportive and available on the set as a critical resource, like if we needed help with gags.
Kam: Jeff is also a cartoonist who illustrates all his books. Did that talent come into play at all while making the movie?
David: One of the things I was really keen to see happen was making sure the animation in the movies reflected the animation in the books. Jeff worked very closely with the animators to ensure that the animations were in the style and spirit of the books, and that they're funny.
Martha: Can you go to the supermarket or the mall without getting mobbed by fans?
David: Yes I can, thank you. [Laughs]
Robert: Once in awhile I get recognized maybe, but for the most part, it's pretty good. *
Zach: I get recognized occasionally, especially if I go to a place like Universal Studios or Disneyland. All it takes is for one person to recognize me and then it turns into a crowd. That happened recently at the Teen Choice Awards' after-party. Somebody recognized me, and they had to escort me out through security. That was kind of cool, but I would have liked to have been able to stay and meet everybody. You sort of feel bad when you can't.
Martha: What key quality do you believe all successful people share?
Zach: I would have to say a positive attitude, especially when anything goes wrong. For example, every time I go out for an audition, I stay positive, and look for good feedback, even when I might not get the role.
Robert: Another key quality is to be modest.
Jeff: I'd say persistence is the key quality. There are a lot of people who are very successful just because they're persistent, and I think I'm one of those people.
Martha: What was your best business decision you ever made, and what was your worst?
Zach: I had to turn down a role I had landed in order to audition for Wimpy Kid. That was definitely a big business decision that worked out. So, I was lucky.
Robert: I can't think of a bad business decision I've made yet.
Clementine: What is your favorite charity?
Zach: I work with the Starlight Foundation and visit hospitals with the Lollipop Theater Network which screens movies for kids who can't go out to see them. It really makes you appreciate life and you really feel good at the end of the day.
Kam: Thanks again for the interview guys.
To see a trailer for Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3: Dog Days:
Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze. Read more reviews by Kam Williams.
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