Jason Drucker takes ‘Wimpy Kid’ lead in stride
More than 2,000 boys competed for the starring role of Greg Heffley in the new film “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.” Jason Drucker of Miami, 11, got the part.
“I was a huge fan of the series. I never thought I’d be in the movie,” Jason said by telephone.
Jason began acting in 2013 with a recurring role on the Nickelodeon series “Every Witch Way.” He’s also been on the TV show “Chicago Fire” and played the lead in a short film called “Nightmarish.”
His role as Greg Heffley was his most challenging yet.
“It was an incredible experience,” Jason said. “I never realized that being a lead in a film would be so demanding of my time. I realized I’m pretty good under pressure.”
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul,” the fourth movie in the franchise, follows Greg as he and his brother Rodrick convince their parents to take a road trip to their grandmother’s house for her 90th birthday celebration. Their true motivation, however, is to go to a video game convention. Alicia Silverstone and Tom Everett Scott play the boys’ parents.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking, but it was exciting when I booked it,” he said of his audition. “That happened two weeks after the screen testing. Then the shoot was around 10 weeks long.”
In the film, the Heffley family owns a pet pig that was “a bunch of fun to shoot with,” Jason said. “I never would have thought I could shoot a movie with a pig. Her real name was Charlotte.”
Jason is balancing his sixth-grade studies and acting by taking classes online and working with on-set tutors. It was especially challenging while shooting “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”
“It was a bit too difficult to work out regular school with my acting career,” he said. “On set, it’s always a bunch of fun because I’m doing what I love and I’m able to pursue it. When I had any free time on set, they would have me in school. My tutor was there in case I needed help. That was definitely a life saver.”
When Jason was filming in Atlanta, his parents and other members of his family would stay with him on set. He is the second of three brothers, just like Greg Heffley. Though his siblings tried acting a few years ago, Jason is the only one still pursuing it.
“My close friends and my whole family are really supportive, and maybe more excited about the movie than I am,” he said.
Though he hasn’t begun preparing for his bar mitzvah, Jason attends Sunday school every week at Temple Solel in Hollywood, Fla. “I go and learn about the Jewish culture and language,” he said.
Jason and his family do not have plans to move to Los Angeles for his career, but he will be visiting the area to promote the movie.
“I don’t really prepare for the red carpet,” he said. “I get in my suit or whatever I’m wearing and I go out there with confidence and smile for the camera.”
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” opens in theaters May 19.