Zachary Gordon talks about playing Greg in series “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”

Zachary Gordon is known best for playing Greg Heffley in series “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”. He is returning this summer in the third film in the series “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Zachary about the series and what we can expect from this film.

Mike Gencarelli:  What do you enjoy most about playing the Greg Heffley character?
Zachary Gordon: It’s somewhat of a challenge to go back to Vancouver every year but at the same time it almost gets easier as we are just a big wimpy family. I kind of fell right in to character from the start. Playing Greg is so much fun. I get to become this whole new character. When we are shooting in Vancouver we all get to hang out and do things together.

MG: How does the latest film compare to the previous two?
ZG: The first two films were based during the school year. What’s unique about “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” is that it takes place during summer vacation. Greg’s idea of a perfect summer vacation is sleeping in and playing videos games. His Mom’s idea is quite different. Greg is kind of forced to spend time with his Dad and things just backfire. Greg’s tries a number of different ways to impress everyone but nothing seems to work out.

MG: Was there any difficulty trying to blend the two books, “The Last Straw” and “Dog Days”, that make up this film into one?
ZG: Playing Greg is always somewhat the same. A lot really depends on the mood of the scene. What I find so interesting about the two books being combined is you get some of the school year and some of the summer. I thinkthat is really great. I especially like that they involved summer vacation as this hasn’t been shown before. I am really happy with the way the film is turning out.

MG: Do you have any fun stories from during filming?
ZG: I have a lot! There was one where we were filming in a pool with a bunch of people. I was a little nervous about what people could be doing in the pool because they had been in there for awhile. Everyone started joking about it and my Mom and Peyton List’s Mom decided to mold a bunch of tootsie rolls together and put it in the pool. Peyton planted the evidence in the bottom of the pool and then went over and told one of the producers. They told Peyton not to tell me as they thought I would freak out. They had to get some people to try and get it out. We were all laughing and then Peyton jumped in the pool and picked up the fake poop. Eventually people found out that it was fake. That was a great prank.

MG: Do you have a favorite book in the series?
ZG: The first one to me is personally the best. I love all the books but the first one really starts everything off. That’s where the rollercoaster begins.

MG: What do you like most about working in the voice over field?
ZG: I am actually working on a voice over project right now titled “The Boxcar Children”. What I love about animation is that it is so different from live action. You can roll out of bed and go to work. You have to voice over acharacter without anyone seeing your emotions. I like that challenge. When working on voiceovers you are watching something through a glass window. Both voiceover and live action are so unique.

MG: Are you going to be reprising your role in the new “Santa Paws”?
ZG: In the first film I play Puppy Paws which is Santa Paws’ son. In the new film I voice the younger Santa Paws. The dogs are adorable and I am glad I got to voice over them.

MG: What are you currently working on?
ZG: I am working on “The Boxcar Children” which is based off the book series. It’s a great family film that everyone can relate to. Also before I broke my leg I finished work on a film called “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”. This character is much different than my role in the Wimpy Kid films  as I play sort of a bully. It was fun working on a totally different character.

Book Review “My Boring-Ass Life: The Uncomfortably Candid Diary of Kevin Smith”

Author: Kevin Smith
Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Titan Books
Expanded and Updated Edition
Release Date: September 22, 2009

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Yes, you are not misreading the cover wrong Kevin Smith is a New York Times Bestseller author.  This book is a very personal in-depth diary into the life of Kevin Smith.  The expanded and updated edition of the book adds a behind-the-scenes look  at the making of “Zack and Miri Make a Porno”.  A new afterword is also included which pretty much brings us up to date on what Kevin has been up to and what he has (or had) planned for 2009.  The subtitle of “Uncomfortably Candid” is definitely not an understatement either as the entries in this book are just as vulgar as his film scripts.  Nonetheless fans of Smith, will eat it up and get a chance to get inside of his mind.

If you think that the life of Kevin Smith is all razzle and dazzle you might be disappointed though coming into this book.  You will find that some of it is dull and uneventful but between watching his TiVo, Kevin also finds time to make kick-ass movies like “Clerks II”.  The book isn’t all jokes though, he also dives into the personal details of Jason Mewes’ drug addiction battle. Like myself you really need to be a die-hard fan of Smith in order to really take away the most from the book.

If you are looking for a typical autobiography, this is not what you would be looking for.  I actually enjoyed the diary format of “My Boring-Ass Life”, because it feels more personal and complete.  We get to experience Kevin’s full account for each day in his life as he completes his  journey entries.  Once you get started with this book it is almost hard to put it down and it is a rare book that actually gets better as it goes on.  If you don’t own this book already, it is recommended highly that you pick it up but get ready to laugh and be offended at the same time.

Blu-ray Review “The Rum Diary”

Directed by: Bruce Robinson
Starring: Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Rispoli, Amber Heard, Richard Jenkins, Giovanni Ribisi
MPAA Rating: R
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Run Time: 119 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Johnny Depp + Hunter S. Thomspon novel = match made in heaven. After Depp’s performance in 98’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, there has been talks about this novel being made into a feature. It has a LONG road and even though it finally was released, it misses a certain HST feel to the movie. You can’t compare this film at all to “Fear and Loathing”, they are unrelated and two different novels. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed it thoroughly enjoy this one as well and Depp acting definitely delivers another great ode to HST. Depp even pulled director Bruce Robinson (Withnail and I) out of retirement, since 1992, to sharply direct this adaptation. Funny, suave and free-spirited, this film can be enjoyed if you just sit back and let the rum flow.

Johnny Depp plays Paul Kemp, a journalist working for a newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He arrives in PR in order to escape his past life in New York and hopes to be able to write the truth for The San Juan Star. During Kemp’s work and investigations he befriends co-worker, Bob Sala (Michael Rispoli) and both of them consistently get into a lot of trouble. Kemp next meets Hal Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart), who tries to get him involved in a corporate scheme to take over the island. Besides Kemp getting in too deep, he also becomes obsessed Sanderson’s girl Chenault (Amber Heard) and then things go all wrong for the journalist.

Sony’s Blu-ray presents the video in 1.85:1 aspect ratio with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. The video is sharp and in some scenes really captures the beauty of Puerto Rico. The audio track also impressive especially during the music sequences in the film. There are only two special features and no commentary track but overall they are still good. “A Voice Made of Ink and Rage: Inside The Rum Diary” is a basic featurette about the film. It covers cast/crew interviews, costuming, location challenges, and on the spirit of Hunter S. Thompson on set. Lastly there is a VERY in-depth feature called “The Rum Diary Back-Story”, which runs about 45 minutes. It features interviews from Depp, HST himself and make others influences from the book. There is also a reading excerpt from the book and a looks into the writer’s career. It is a fantastic look into film’s path to the screen by Wayne Ewing.

Film Review “The Rum Diary”

Starring:  Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart and Giovanni Ribisi
Directed by:  Bruce Robinson
Rated:  R
Running time:  2 hours
GK Films

Our Score: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

In 1960, writer Hunter S. Thompson went to Puerto Rico to cover sports for a local newspaper.  While there he made friends with several writers of the major paper on the island, the San Juan Star.  When the sports paper folded, Thompson returned to the states, where he became one of the most popular authors of his generation.  Among his novels, written while he was in his 20s but not published until he was 60:  “The Rum Diary.”

Paul Kemp (Depp) is a novelist looking for a job that pays him to write.  So he answers an ad and soon finds himself doing horoscopes for the largest English language newspaper in Puerto Rico.  At the paper he is introduced to some bizarre co-workers, including Lotterman (Richard Jenkins), the paper’s editor, and photographer Sala (Michael Rispoli).  Like Sala, Kemp has a weakness for alcohol.  Paul notes that his drinking level is “just a big high of social.”  Which would explain why his hotel bill on average charges him for 93 bottles from the mini bar per week.  “Am I to assume those are NOT complimentary,” Kemp asks when confronted with the cost.  When Paul finds himself being recruited to help promote an upcoming real estate project, he must choose his words, and deeds, very carefully.

Skillfully acted but lacking in plot points, there’s a reason “The Rum Diary” wasn’t published for 30 years.  The film has no less than three stories to follow and each one kind of peters out at the end, without a proper payoff to send the audience home satisfied.  Depp, who was a long time friend of Thompson and portrayed him in “Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas,” manages to get under the skin of the great Gonzo journalist and give the audience a brief look at what made him tick.  As Sala, Rispoli (who was funny as Bernie Mac’s former teammate in “Mr. 3000”) has a great physical comedy side that makes the performance.  Sala loves his rum and Puerto Rico has plenty of it.  Jenkins is his usual steady self while Ribisi gives a brave performance as the papers religion writer Moburg.  A cross between Truman Capote and “Midnight Cowboy’s” Ratso Rizzo, Moburg is the kind of young man that attracts attention no matter what he’s doing.  But if you get past his penchant for drinking 420 proof rum and his enjoyment for the recorded collection of the speech’s of Adolph Hitler, he proves to be someone to have around.

The film moves smoothly under Robinson’s direction, though, for what is being billed as a “crime drama,” there aren’t a lot of surprises.  However, the inside look at Puerto Rico as JFK took office is pretty interesting.  The cinematography is beautiful and I can see more than one movie goer saving his pennies for a trip to the island.  Palm trees and blue waters will surely tempt  viewers.