12 year-old Vancouver based actor Alex Ferris has done more in his short lifespan than some people do in decades. The child actor is not only the star of the hit Canadian TV series jPod but has also been featured in such American movies as RV with Robin Williams, David Goyer's The Invisible and last summer's The Time Traveler's Wife playing a young Eric Bana. However soon you will be able to see the young actor in the new film Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, opening in theaters on March 19th, which is based on the hit series of children's books by author Jeff Kinney. We had an opportunity to speak with Alex Ferris about the new film, the character that he plays, his involvement in the possible sequel and his short but impressive career. Here is what the actor had to say:
For starters, Alex you're just a 12 year-old kid, so how does it feel to be in "Diary Of A Wimpy Kid?" Were you a fan of the book before filming and are your friend's jealous that you are in the movie?
Alex Ferris: Yeah, actually before I got the part in the film I hadn't quite read the books. My friends kept telling me how good the books were but I hadn't quite read them yet so then when I got the part I read the first book. I liked it so much that I bought all the rest of the books and read them in about a day. So they definitely entertained me and yeah, my friends are really looking forward to its release.
Have you had a chance to see the final cut of the movie yet?
Alex Ferris: No I haven't seen it yet. I think it's probably because I'm up in Vancouver and all the little screenings they've been having are in LA. So I haven't seen it yet but the script was great so I think it will be a great movie.
Can you talk about how the story was adapted for the film and how the animation is integrated with the live action in the movie?
Alex Ferris: Yeah, actually I read the script first and the books second so that may make my take on it a little bit different but the script and the book are quite similar. A lot of the dialogue has been taken straight out of the book and put into the movie. With the animation I actually found that part cool because it cuts in and out of animation, which I thought was extremely unique. The script is quite a lot like the book actually. I know that my character is a character from the books but he's not as big a character in them as he is in this film. There weren't all that many characters in the books in the first place so they had to make the parts bigger for the characters that they did have. They had to make up some characters too. They mostly did drawings for the animation so there wasn't a lot of green-screen involved.
What can you tell me about the character you play in the film, Collin Lee? What is his role in the events of the movie?
Alex Ferris: Collin Lee is a pretty nice guy. He's a friend of Rowley's and (Spoiler Alert!) when Greg and Rowley have a big fight in the middle of the film, Colin then becomes really good friends with Rowley. They really hit it off and have a good time together. Then of course Greg, the main character, comes back and he apologizes to Rowley and they become best friends again. Colin isn't so happy with that and I think that is the end of him being friends with Rowley so far. But that's where my character sort of fits in. I think my character is really kind but you sort of get a sense that he's trying to undermine the fall of Greg and Rowley's relationship in a lot of parts.
What aspect of the film do you think will get fans most excited and was there anything that had to be changed or left out of the movie that you think will disappoint them?
Alex Ferris: Actually I think they'll be really impressed with the humor. In the book a lot of the humor came from the drawings and stuff. So I think they had to make a lot of the lines quite humorous for the film. Actually the first time I read the script I laughed so much. I remember I read the script like five times because I got such a kick out of it. A lot of the lines are really funny. Something else that I think the people will be excited about is that my friends say that the actors playing the characters look a lot like the characters actually do in the books, which I think fans will be excited about.
Since you mentioned the cast, the film does have some great actors in it including Chloe Moretz, Steve Zahn, Rachel Harris, Maria Bello, Seth Green, Virginia Madsen, Diane Kruger and Fred Willard, just to name a few. Did you have a chance to work with all of them or just some of them and who was your favorite to work with? Did you learn anything new from them that has been able to help you as a young actor?
Alex Ferris: I had the pleasure of getting to work with all those great actors and I think I learned quite a bit. The kids were so professional and yet we had a lot of fun together. The producers gave us Nerf guns one day, we were running around and we had a Nerf fight on set. But after we got called to set all the kids were really professional so I really learned about that. It's actually very interesting that if you look, the kid actors are from all over the place and all came to Vancouver (to do the movie). Robert Capron who plays Rowley he's all the way from Rhode Island, Zach Gordon who played Greg is from Los Angeles and Grayson Russell who played Fregley is actually from Alabama, so it was great to get to work with people that are from so many different places.
What was the best part about shooting the film, did you get to do anything really fun or exciting that you hadn't had a chance to do before in your life?
Alex Ferris: I think getting to work with so many kids was great because usually in movies most of the cast are adults and its great hanging out with them but I think it's a bit more fun hanging out with kids your own age. We all go to school together, get tutored together and everything, so its great to get to work with a bunch of kids. Also because there were so many kids on set, the set was much more kid-friendly than the average movie set. As I mentioned, we had Nerf guns and targets on set. Even the food was a lot more kid-like. I mean we had pasta and burgers most of the time. It was great.
20th Century Fox has already announced that they are planning to make a sequel to the film, are you excited to return to the franchise and has anyone contacted you about that?
Alex Ferris: I haven't been contacted yet but I certainly hope that I am in the sequel because that would be great. I had such a great experience getting to film it the first time that I think filming it a second time would be such a blast. Especially shooting in my home tow of Vancouver is great. I remember a bunch of years ago I did RV and me and the other kids didn't actually get a chance to hang out a lot but since I was in my own town I was actually able to invite a lot of the cast over to my house one evening. So its great getting to film a movie in your own town, there's lots of advantages.
Have you had a chance to see "The Time Traveler's Wife" and are you ultimately pleased with your performance and the film itself?
Alex Ferris: Yeah, actually I haven't read the books so I'm not sure how the film related to the book but I actually thought the movie was quite good. I'm definitely happy with how my scenes turned out. I was afraid that I would be completely edited out of the movie but I wasn't, which is great. That was actually a lot of fun to film as well. It was down in Toronto and we filmed it at midnight, it was snowing and freezing but some how I still managed to have a pretty good time.
Alex, can you tell me what you're working on next? Any big projects lined up for the future?
Alex Ferris: Currently, I'm actually going to LA for the Young Artists Awards in March. I got nominated for two different things, a Hallmark Channel movie of the week called Living Out Loud and I was also nominated for The Time Traveler's Wife, which is a big honor. I'm going to have a blast when I go down there. Right now I've been quite busy, I've been auditioning for a lot of stuff and I hope to start getting some new projects soon.
Finally, do you enjoy acting? Do you think you'll continue to do it as you get older or is just something fun that you like doing as a hobby for now? Is it something you think that you might like to pursue as an adult for a long-term career?
Alex Ferris: I definitely love acting I wouldn't have gotten into it if I didn't love it. I would love to be able to pursue acting for the rest of my life. I mean it's a great career to be able to call your job. But if I didn't get to be an actor I would say that I would like to go into business. I'm actually fascinated with investment banking. It's really weird but I have been fascinated with it for a long time.
Diary Of A Wimpy Kid opens in theaters everywhere on March 19th.