Jeff Kinney Reveals How Disney Was Convinced To Reboot Diary Of A Wimpy Kid – Exclusive
Disney+’s new “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” movie is both something old and something new. It’s new in the sense that it’s a completely new retelling of the first book of the long-running series, animated for the first time ever. But it’s also old, not just because of the previous live action installments, but because this has been a long gestating project – one that predates even Disney’s involvement or even knowledge. That’s right, we’re going to be talking about corporate mergers!
Looper spoke with Jeff Kinney, the author of the “Wimpy Kid” books and the screenwriter and producer of the Disney+ “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” movie. When asked about how he ended up with an animated movie instead of another live action installment, Kinney revealed that he first started talking about this possibility at Fox. Furthermore, a feature length reboot of the series wasn’t the original plan – or even one of the earlier plans.
It starts at Fox
The four live action “Wimpy Kid” movies were all distributed by 20th Century Fox. It was at Fox where all this started –- and whom Jeff Kinney had to convince before Disney. “We started this project during the filming of the live action movies,” said Kinney. “I talked to Fox Animation. We wanted to do a primetime Christmas special, and we liked working together so much that we kept at it. And so it morphed many times from a primetime Christmas special to a TV series to what it is now. And I’m really, really happy where we landed.”
In the middle of all that planning, Disney acquired Fox. Several projects got delayed or reshuffled because of the merger, and this caused some concern. “You always worry about that – somebody champions your work and now they’re gone, and that kind of thing can happen a lot,” Kinney explained. Luckily, that did not happen, and he was relieved that Disney kept the project alive: “So I felt really, really pleased that they put A-level talent behind ‘Wimpy Kid,’ they made it a priority, and that they started from the beginning. That’s really cool.”
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is now streaming on Disney+.