“Wimpy Kid” stars drop in on Purcellville Middle School
For sixth graders at Blue Ridge Middle School in Purcellville, Nov. 16 was just another day at their school – until they received a special visit from a well known book and movie franchise.
Jeff Kinney, the widely popular author of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” book series and films dropped by the school to promote the new installment of the series, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever,” which was released Nov. 15 in bookstores nationwide.
Kinney grew up not far from Loudoun County in Fort Washington, Md., and attended the University of Maryland. He currently lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two sons.
Kinney’s brother Scott, a resident of Loudoun County and owner of Shamrock Music Shoppe in Purcellville, helped to bring his younger brother to the school.
The children knew the author would be at their school for an assembly, but had no idea what surprise was in store for them.
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” actors Zachary Gordon, who plays Greg Heffley and Robert Capron, who plays Rowley Jefferson, joined Kinney on stage and told students about their experiences on set and answered their many questions.
Before introducing the two main characters in the movie, Kinney shared the process he faced and his inspiration for the books.
“I actually never wanted to be an author at all, but instead a cartoonist,” Kinney said. “Back in 1989, I was having trouble getting published and started my first comic strip in my college paper, which I called Igdoof.
“I wasn’t the best drawer and I have improved over time and I started to get noticed and corresponding with other cartoonists at other papers,” Kinney said. “I even had the Washington Post do a big article on me and say I was going to take on the world at 22 and I ended up not getting anything else published until I was 36.”
Kinney’s experiences in getting published allowed him to give the children who are aspiring authors some valuable advice.
“If there are any authors, poets, screenwriters or artists in this room, remember that you are going to face rejection before you find success,” Kinney said. “I think they say it takes about an average of five years before an author gets published.”
Kinney also told stories about how he used his own experiences, whether it was his family or events throughout his life, in the “Wimpy Kid” books.
Following a short question and answer session with Kinney, stars Gordon and Capron came out to say hello and answer questions.
Gordon answered a question about playing his character and getting into the role.
“It’s really interesting because when you try to become this character you are really not like, it’s really cool to change your personality on set and get yourself into the character and see what you would do in these situations, so it can be really cool,” Gordon said. “Greg and I are both optimistic and he is the middle child in his family and I am the youngest in mine.”
When Capron came out, he was asked about his hair, which was a different color and style than in the movie.
“I am just going to say that I hate that haircut, because I look like I have a giant bowl on my head,” Capron said.
The actors were also asked questions like ‘how old are you? and if they really liked the “Wimpy Kid” books?
They were also asked if they are making another movie after the third one, which is due out in August 2012.
“We are definitely open to making another one, but there is nothing planned right now,” Capron said. “It also kind of loses its appeal when we are 6 feet tall and am asking Greg if wants to go out and play.”
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