When adapting an iconic book series like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, it’s important to choose the right actor to bring your iconic protagonist to life. With a character as popular as Greg Heffley, it’s important to choose an actor who can embody the character’s attitude, humor, narcissism, and more caring actions. Luckily, Disney was able to find that actor in the form of Brady Noon.
DiscussingFilm had the chance to sit down with the The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers star to discuss bringing Greg Heffley to life in the new Wimpy Kid reboot, and what goes into acting in an animated film. In addition, we discussed his previous experience with the series and work with Disney, as well as working with Jeff Kinney to make Greg his own.
Over the last fourteen years, the Wimpy Kid franchise has become hugely popular. What’s been your experience with this franchise before coming onto this movie?
Brady Noon: I definitely had a great experience with this franchise. When I was in the third or fourth grade, I picked up the original Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and I was immediately hooked. I remember fighting my friends in the library over getting the new book and reading it, even with the older ones, just to read them over and over again. Of course, I grew up on the live-action movies, so to be apart of such an amazing franchise is a dream come true.
Covid has obviously changed a lot about how movies like this has made, but did you get the chance to talk to your costars on this film, primarily Ethan William Childress, who is playing Rowley?
Brady Noon: Unfortunately not, I haven’t even spoken a single word to Ethan yet. But I admire the work he has done, it’s absolutely incredible and I’m super happy with how it turned out, and I wouldn’t want anyone else being my co-star.
Jeff Kinney, the author of this series, was super involved in the development of this film. Did you have the chance to talk to him regarding your character Greg and bringing him to life?
Brady Noon: I did, Jeff was really open to what I had to say, and I think that’s really incredible. I talked to him about certain things I wanted to change in Greg and how I wanted to implement myself into Greg a little bit. He liked most of the stuff I did, but if he was a little unsure of anything, he was very vocal and very open about it. He told me what he wanted and I gave him exactly what he wanted, and it sounds like he’s happy, which makes me happy because I think it turned out great.
While Greg is the main character, he’s not your typical protagonist. How do you bring his cocky, egotistical attitude to life while also making him likable to the audience?
Brady Noon: That’s the spin that I really tried to put on it. I tried to not make him seem too much like he did in the books, where he thinks he’s just too cool for school, I wanted him to be where he understands he’s in this place now, but later he’ll be rich and famous. That’s kind of the approach I took on it, and I really tried to put myself in Greg’s shoes and think about how I would act in middle school, and that was something I didn’t want to overdo on Greg to the point where it became ugly to the character. That was probably one of the bigger things I’ve changed.
You have a history on Disney+, portraying Evan in Mighty Ducks. What’s it been like getting to work with this huge studio and bring multiple projects to life for this hugely popular service?
Brady Noon: It’s been incredible, just being apart of the Disney+ family has been a dream come true. I know me and my family are a big Disney family, we travel yearly to DisneyWorld, so to be apart of something that’s been so important and changing during COVID and even before, with such a big platform that they’re creating new movies and opportunities on every year, and creating such great products, I’m just so happy to be apart of something so eventful.
You’ve been working as an actor for years now, but this is your first animated project. How do you approach voice acting compared to live-action?
Brady Noon: I typically tried to take it the same way I did as live-action. I try to imagine there’s a camera in the booth, and if I have to run in a scene, I’ll be running in place, if I have to jump, I’ll jump in place, and if it’s an emotional scene, I’ll become emotional. I try to keep it the same as I would in live-action, so you can have that realness in my voice, I just found that easier for me.
When watching an animated film, is it strange hearing your voice come out of this CGI-animated character?
Brady Noon: Yes, the first time I heard it it was definitely a little surreal. It was just because I grew up on the books and movies so much, and it was something that I admired, and to think that not only am I apart of it, but I’m playing Greg, is just a childhood dream come true.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid hasn’t even released yet, but there’s already a sequel coming next year. What’s your hopes as far as seeing where this series goes moving forward?
Brady Noon: I know that we have a lot of stories to tell so I hope that we can do many more of these, it’s something that I’m looking forward to and something that I’m definitely open to. We’re pretty deep in production on the second movie, so we’re obviously very excited for people to see that as well.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid is super important to kids across the world. What do you hope to see those hardcore fans take away from this film?
Brady Noon: Definitely the hardships that Greg and Rowley bring to the screen, the friendship that they bring. I just hope that everyone can connect that with at least someone in their life and really take away that you shouldn’t take your friends for granted.
On social media, the Wimpy Kid books have become even more popular due to the original readers growing up and spreading the word about them to younger children. Have you had a chance to see the huge impact this series has had on these social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok?
Brady Noon: I have, especially now more than ever with the release of the movie coming so soon. I noticed in the comments, which I do read a lot, everyone seems super excited and is like “Oh my goodness, I remember this!” That’s exactly what we want, there’s so many people in the comments that are looking forward to this. You have people of all different ages, from all different places, cultures, groups, that all want to see this movie and will hopefully come together to see an amazing film that anyone can enjoy.
With animated films, it can be difficult for the main character to develop much of a personality. How do you work as an actor to give Greg more of a personality and make sure the audience can connect with and feel interested in his story?
Brady Noon: Humor. It’s definitely humor. I’m the same way, I feel like if you don’t have at least a little bit of humor in your characters, I feel like there’s no real personality and there’s nothing to connect with. If you can laugh at a funny character, I don’t really see how you can’t like him, that’s the way I look at it.