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DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: RODRICK RULES

Introduction
From its origins as a series of online cartoons, Diary of a Wimpy Kid exploded onto the pop culture scene when Jeff Kinney's first "novel in cartoons” was published in 2007. Diary of a Wimpy Kid spent almost three years on The New York Times' children's best-seller list, and sold millions of copies around the world. The book captured the imaginations of an army of formerly "reluctant readers,” and launched countless video reviews, social networking fan groups, and parties celebrating the release of each new Wimpy Kid book. While Kinney had originally targeted adults through the book's nostalgic look at middle school life as told through a narrator with Walter Mittyesque fantasies of greatness, kids immediately connected to his blending of the subversive and edgy with the fun and wholesome.

The first motion picture based on Kinney's work, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” brought to cinematic life the adventures of wisecracking pre-teen Greg Heffley, who must somehow survive the scariest time of anyone's life….middle school. Now, with the new film, Kinney (returning as executive producer), director David Bowers, producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson, and screenwriters Gabe Sachs & Jeff Judah, put the focus on Greg's family, especially his relationship with his older brother, Rodrick.

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: RODRICK RULES kicks off one year after the first film, with Greg beginning seventh grade. Greg has mastered middle school, rid himself of the Cheese Touch, and thinks he's got it all together. There's just one problem: Rodrick is trying to ruin Greg's life. "The movie is centered on a classic theme, something most people have been through, which is sibling rivalry,” says producer Brad Simpson. "Every day, Greg probably wishes he were an only child.”

Zachary Gordon, Devon Bostick, Rachael Harris, Robert Capron, Steve Zahn and most of the cast from "Diary of a Wimpy Kid” return. One key new member of the Wimpy Kid family is director David Bowers ("Flushed Away,” "Astro Boy”), making his live-action feature debut. "This film was like a family reunion,” says Kinney. "It felt like coming back for a second year of summer camp.”

The second time around turning one of his books into a film was no less exciting for Kinney than his maiden Hollywood voyage on "Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” "As an author, it's incredibly exciting to see your words (and doodles) come to life on screen,” he notes. "I'm so glad audiences liked the first movie and that we're back, bringing the second book to life on screen.”

That's not to say this adaptation was any less daunting than the first picture's. Kinney's books are anecdotal and don't lend themselves to a direct transition from book to screen, so the filmmakers spent considerable time determining the spine of the movie's story. "As thrilled as we were with the success of the first movie,” says Nina Jacobson, "we knew this film would have to up the ante and take the comedy, the set pieces, and the Wimpy Kid's world to the next level. Audiences appreciated that the first movie was true to the book, and that has certainly continued to be our mandate on this next movie because we have great source material.” Adds co-screenwriter Gabe Sachs: "As writers, the great thing about working from Jeff's source material is there is so much stuff from every book you'd want to use.”

While DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: RODRICK RULES is based on the second book in the series, Kinney notes that the filmmakers "have gone a little bit forward and a little bit backwards [in the book series] in pulling moments that would work to service this plot and make a fuller universe. We mixed things up a little bit to tell the best story. Greg has changed since the first movie. Last year, he was heading into middle school for the first time. This year, he feels more confident and like he's in control. And now, he's trying to make inroads with a pretty new girl at school, so he can improve his situation at school even further.”

Gabe Sachs says, "When we meet Greg in DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: RODRICK RULES, he is a little wiser. But with all the stuff he went through last year [in the first film], he still has a feeling of, ‘I'm going to get a handle on this. I can still make this experience work for me.' And I think that's really fun to watch because if I had experienced what Greg did in the first movie, I'd be saying, ‘I'm changing my entire plan.'”

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