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‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ author Jeff Kinney talks about making movies for “a whole new generation”

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Courtesy Disney+

The second Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie, Rodrick Rules, arrives Friday on Disney+, but some original fans of the franchise are none too thrilled with the switch from live action to computer animated films.

Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney, who penned both scripts for the Disney+ movies, told ABC Audio how grateful he is to have such a passionate fanbase. He says he understands why fans are resisting this new direction.

“It doesn’t surprise me that there’s that kind of reaction,” he said, adding the live action movies came out during these fans’ “very formative years” and that triggers a strong sense of nostalgia. 

The first three live action Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies — including Rodrick Rules — hit theaters between 2010 and 2012. Unlike the Disney+ movies, Kinney didn’t write the scripts.

“There’s a whole new generation of fans coming in that didn’t see the live action movies and I think those are the ones I’m trying to reach right now with the different version of the stories,” Kinney explained.

Kinney noted animated movies also allow for more freedom. “You feel like these stories have really sprung to life from the pages of the book and, of course, animation has all sorts of advantages. You can exaggerate actions in a way that’s a little harder to do with live action,” he said.

In all, Kinney is grateful he is among the few authors who saw his books turned into movies — twice. “It’s taught me to be humble,” he grinned. “I just feel really lucky that there’s an appetite for this and I’m just really blessed.”  

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules premieres Friday, December 2, on Disney+.

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