This past week we had a phenomenal time in the Manhattan.  It started with a train ride from Ronkonkoma to Penn Station.  We then went to a private screening of the new movie “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”

Following the movie we walked a few blocks to the Regency Hotel and up to the 19th floor.  We attended a press conference with Zachary Gordon who plays Greg in the movie, Robert Capron who plays Rowley, and Jeff Kinney, the author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series.  Later on we got to interview the boys and they were really down to earth and nice.

The movie was hilarious!  It told the story of Greg Heffley, a boy entering middle school.  He has a creepy older brother who bullies him and tells him terrible things will happen to him in middle school.

Greg and Rowley have been best friends since kindergarten. Rowley is a little immature for his age.  He likes to play in ball pits and his favorite shirt says “Mommy and Me.”

Greg is trying to fit in and trying to become popular in Middle School.  He is even willing to ditch his best friend.  He lets Rowley get kicked of Safety Patrol for something he did.  One of our favorite scenes in the movie is the one on Halloween.  The boys get dressed up and get into a lot of trouble!

Stars of the movie "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" Robert Capron (third from left) and Zachary Gordon (fifth from left) with Kidsday reporters. from left, Nick Cassese, Julianne Perrone, Austin Pomerenke and Katie Kieffner Photo Credit: Newsday Photo/Pat Mullooly

We thought this movie was hysterical.  Even though we loved the books, we think that even if you didn’t read them you’ll still love the movie!

We definitely give it 5 smiles (out of 5).

Here's our interview with Zachary and Robert:

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This is for Zachary.  Why do you think the book Diary of a Wimpy Kid has been such a success?

ZACHARY:  Well a lot of people can relate to the book because some kids out there have experienced what Greg and Rowley have experienced.  Everybody can relate to him because people could do bad things and Greg does bad things most of the time.

This one is for Zachary.  Do you like acting as much as your love for animals and reading?

ZACHARY: I love animals and reading more than acting.  It’s just great to have a healthy environment and keep animals safe and some dogs and cats as pets.  You really need to take care of them.  Reading makes you smarter.  That’s what makes your imagination happen.

What’s your favorite part in the movie?

ROBERT:  My favorite part in the movie is probably the mother-son dance.  The woman that I dance with was my real mom.  So that made it like 10 times more fun and we had to slap our butts and do like this robotic thing and we had to make like waving motions in the air.  We had to do these wacky moves that I don’t know how to describe.

ZACHARY: My favorite scene was probably when I walked the kindergartners home; when I was alone.  Actually to have it raining, it wasn’t a rainy day, they had a rain machine. It was like 80 feet long up above our heads and it was really boiling that day and I had to wear like this wet suit, so the water wouldn’t go down and make me feel freezing.  I remember when I was looking at the bad guys' truck, supposedly the bad guys, I was thinking to myself, where do I hide them? Oh my gosh and unfortunately, to the right of me I find a dirty mud hole and I shove the kindergartners in there. So that’s not comfortable for them. But unfortunately they cut out a scene of that part where there’s a kid who was stranded over there in the corner and I run and get him in slo-mo and then they asked me if I could pick up a dummy and because I have to pick him up on my shoulders and I actually carry that kid.  He’s like 60 pounds. And they cut the scene out. I’m like “what?” I worked really hard.  But I was very happy when I found out that the bad guys was actually a hillbilly, who listens to weird music and then Mrs. Irvine goes along with the whole story because she’s sort of wearing an alien mask, as I call it.

This is for Zach.  Which character do you play on Nickelodeon show “Ni Hao, Kai-Lan”?

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ZACHARY: In “Ni Hao, Kai-Lan” I play San San, who is the leader of the ants and I actually play almost all the ants voices too.  And whenever they want me to do as a regular character like the snails or Mr. Hopi, I double in for those when those people can’t go in to record.  It’s pretty cool to play other characters too.

Robert, what is the best piece of advice your parents ever gave you?

ROBERT: That’s a very good question.  I haven’t heard that one yet.  Even from the adults. The best piece of advice my parents ever gave me I remember when I was in elementary school. I got so upset [about something] and my parents told me that you should tell us [what happened] and that keep calm and don’t get angry. Don’t lose your mind, stay calm and talk about it. Because it helps. Talk it out.

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Robert, is Rowley the person you wanted to be in the movie?

ROBERT: Well Greg’s on the poster….only kidding. I really enjoy Rowley because he’s a lot like me so for me, plus Rowley gets to do all these fun things.  He gets to ride on a big wheel, he gets to dance with his mom, he’s a flip over.  That was one of my favorite scenes.  He’s got like hip catch phrase. Zooey Momma.  I really enjoyed being Rowley.

Have you ever read the book?

ROBERT:  At the time there were three books out and I read them all.  And the first time I’ve ever read the first book was when I was sleeping over my friends and my friends were like [mimics snoring] because he sleeps late and I get up early.  And I was so bored. I was just sitting there and I saw the book and I might as well read it and I read it and I loved it.  I’m actually playing a person in that movie.  It just seems wacky.

ZACHARY: I read the books before and of course, I loved them.  But I actually told my mom I wanted to make a movie out of it.  I wanted to direct it, produce it, be the background, be the stand-ins, everything.  I could really play a good Mrs. Flint, but I wanted to do every single role. And I remember about four months later my agent called me and said, Zach, I have this perfect role for you it’s for Greg in “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” And I was bummed because I wanted to make the movie and I thought to myself that I was a pretty good match for Greg.  I physically look like him.  I thought I could put myself in his situations and I could imagine how Greg would deal with the situations.

What did you do about school while filming?

ROBERT:  Well, every five minutes we had to go to school.

ZACHARY:  We got a 10 minute break.  The other kids use to play and we use to watch them and go ahhh! And then the teacher would go like “guys need to get to work” and for five and 10 minute breaks we had to go to school or we had to learn our lines. Sounds like fun, huh? But it was worth it because a lot of kids went out for these roles and Robert and I feel very privileged to play these roles. We had such an amazing time and we got to do some things that no ordinary kid would ever get to do.  I mean, you saw the movie. Get sprayed by a fire extinguisher, get tackled by a weird kid in school, get tackled by a girl.  I remember in wrestling practice they learned how to take down people where I had to learn how to fall.  That seemed like fun.  But it was worth it. It was a price that I spent and I think it was great.

ROBERT: It was definitely an honor, but like Zach said a privilege.  I was not like it was handed to us on a silver platter and immediately we were in a movie and getting grapes fed.  It wasn’t like that. It was definitely an honor and we had a lot of responsibility like Zach said.

Zach, name one thing you that you couldn’t live without and why?

ZACHARY: I would say probably my family. Your parents really take care of you.  None of us wouldn’t be here without our parents and brothers and sisters because they support us and help us out.

When Greg throws the football at Rowley, was it a real forward fall or was it played out?

ROBERT:  What they did was they had a stunt person and they actually did flip the big wheel over. They attached a rope to one of the wheels.  So what happen is, well the football was CJI, so they had to time it just right.  Zach had to pretend to throw a football.  So they had to time it just right.  So what they do is when the CJI football hits the tire they had a cord attached to the back and he yanked it.  So the stunt guy would go (showing motions), but I did get to do this shot where they took me from a wire and they hung me up about as high as this ceiling, even a little bit higher.  And they made me go like (motions) like you saw in slow motion.  They made me do that.

ZACHARY: Except I remember I was there when the stunt guy was jumping.  There was sort of like a trampoline thing, or this black tarp and he jumped into the fake snow and those weren’t Robert’s legs when they were shaking up in the air when he was in the snow pile.  That was a stunt double.

ROBERT: That was funny

During that scene was it really in December or the winter?

ROBERT: No it was all movie magic.

ZACHARY: Oh yeah, it was in September.

ROBERT: It was in late September, early October.

ZACHARY: I remember it was supposed to be completely freezing at the time except that was all paper.  They just crumbled up paper and made it look like snow.

ROBERT: It was actually kind of sunny that day wasn’t it?

ZACHARY: Yeah.

ROBERT: It was weird. It was so cold, but it was sunny.

ZACHARY: And there was someone who was across the street playing music to try and annoy us because they didn’t want us filming.  It was so funny.

ROBERT: Really I didn’t notice that.

ZACHARY: Remember when we were going to lunch and there was a lady going hey!! I’m not shutting off the music until you stop filming.

ROBERT: Oh yeah.  She was a jerk. But you know the snowman that Greg and Rowley built, it was actually like wires. It was made out of wires.  They just put extra snow padding on it.  It was so funny.  I just saw The Terminator movies, so what I did when we were done filming I scraped the snow off .  So it looked like it was half Cyborg and half snowman.  And I took a tomato and I put it like where a snowman’s eye would be. So it looked like The Terminator’s eye and I called him the Snowinator.

Zach, when you were auditioning for the play was that really you singing or someone else?

ZACHARY: Well at first they actually wanted me to sing.  I remember I was singing for them whenever we had in-between takes. Then they wanted to hire some extremely amazing soprano artist who was like extremely good and who was like (sound) with that amazing voice.  So unfortunately it wasn’t me singing but I think it looks like it.