Greg Heffley is back in the all-new Disney+ original movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The animated feature takes us back to book one, where Greg must master the laws of middle school if he wants his classmates to take him seriously.
This isn’t the first time the series got the movie treatment, but there is one major difference between the live-action films and the Disney+ original — and it has everything to do with author Jeff Kinney.
“This film is the first film that I’ve got my name on it and I’m the only writer!” he tells ABC Audio. Kinney didn’t write any of the live-action movies, except for “a writer’s credit” in the 2017 film, The Long Haul.
When asked if screenwriting is harder than book writing, Kinney says it’s a little more nuanced than that.
“Writing a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book is like joke, joke, joke,” Kinney explained, but that formula doesn’t work in movies because they have “to be operating on a deeper level.”
“What I learned is that you do have to tell that emotional story. You can’t get away with just going joke, joke, joke,” he said. “[People] want to be entertained and to be entertained fully… So you have to tell these emotional stories that are really satisfying.”
The author also reveals movies are written “at the speed of thought.”
“The applications that you use to write a screenplay are created in such a way that you can almost write at the speed at which you can think it,” he described. “It’s really different than writing the book, which is very technical, very heavy.”
Although Kinney may be an author first, he does admit, “I love screenwriting.”
Diary of a Wimpy Kid is streaming now on Disney+.
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