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diary of a wimpy kid dog days Wimpy Kid Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) charts his memorable summer in his diary. (Photo: Diyah Pera, TM and © 2012 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.)

A Wimpy Kid's Dog Days

Zach Gordon plays Greg Heffley for third time in new movie

By Dani Bergman Chudnow | August 1 , 2012

Kids all over seem to love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series, created by author and illustrator Jeff Kinney. So it's no surprise that the books became movies — three of them, in fact. The latest Wimpy Kid movie, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, will be released on Friday.

Actor Zach Gordon has played Greg Heffley, the main character of the Wimpy Kid series, in all three movies. At the press junket for Dog Days in New York, Zach told the Kids Press Corps what drew him to the role.

Greg is "totally different from me personally," Zach said. "I love a good challenge, and playing a character that is so different from me is definitely what I find so interesting about the acting world."

One difference between Zach and Greg is school. In the movie, Greg is not exactly the perfect student. But Zach emphasized, "School is number one." He explained that he loves acting but he has to "have a backup plan" and he wants to be "educated." To stay on top of his education, Zach balanced making Dog Days with studying. He juggled his busy work schedule with three hours of schoolwork a day and five hours over the weekend.

Despite their differences, Zach said that he was like Greg in some ways, too. One is that they both love video games. They're also both "optimistic" and see things "differently."

Zach wanted to play Greg Heffley from the moment he read the first Wimpy Kid book. In the Wimpy Kid Movie Diary, Zach says he finished the book and told his mom he hoped someone would turn it into a movie. If it became a movie, he told his mom, he wanted to play Greg. When it came time to make the first Wimpy Kid movie, thousands of kids auditioned to play Greg. But Zach won the role, and his dream came true in 2010 when the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie came to theaters.

He played Greg again in the second Wimpy Kid movie, Rodrick Rules, which follows Greg as he learns to live with his big brother. In the new movie, Dog Days, Greg is on summer vacation and gets into all sorts of antics. He jumps off high dives, sneaks his older brother into a ritzy country club, tries to get the attention of the girl of his dreams, and rides a crazy mind-blowing amusement park ride called the Cranium Shaker.

The movie contains laugh out loud moments as well as life lessons that everyone can apply to their own lives. But one of the most interesting aspects of the movie — and the books — is Greg's relationship with Rowley. These two characters are really opposites, but "two opposites can equal one good friendship," Zach said.

Dog Days also finds Greg "growing and getting nicer," according to Zach, while also learning from his mistakes. Zach said that he respects the way that Greg enjoys his life and already knows what he wants his life to be like. "He isn't a wimpy kid. He is short, skinny, and weak, but he is tough in his mind."

Zach said he has really enjoyed acting in the Wimpy Kid series and has advice for kids like Greg. He believes that it's important to work hard and set goals. He remembered a quote he learned in his health class that he believes can help any kid: "Fake it 'til you make it."

Maybe Zach has more of Greg Heffley in him than he realizes.

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