Author Jeff Kinney, creator of the kid series Diary of a Wimpy Kid, sat down for an interview to discuss the new Disney Plus film Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever. The writer of the popular kid book now has 18 books under his belt, including Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, Dog Days, and The Last Straw. His writings of the middle school student are loved across the world, with children and adults alike reading the books, watching the live-action films, and enjoying these new animated films coming to Disney+. I had the opportunity this week to sit down and ask him about his newest film and some other fun facts about the series in this Jeff Kinney interview.
If you enjoyed this Jeff Kinney interview, check out these other articles: Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever parents guide review, Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever movie quotes.
In Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever – The winter holidays are turning out to be especially stressful for Greg Heffley this year. After accidentally damaging a snowplow while making a snowman with best friend Rowley Jefferson, Greg worries he won’t get the new video game console he so desperately wants for Christmas. To make matters worse, he gets snowed in with his family, including his grumpy older brother Rodrick and annoying younger brother Manny.
Jeff Kinney Interview
What about these stories resonates with kids and adults?
Jeff Kinney: I think the stories are kind of universal. This story in particular is about the stress kids feel around the holidays. I try to hit on themes that feel like they are universal. And that’s really rewarding, knowing these stories are resonating with all genders, cultures, and things like that. So, that’s cool.
What message do you hope the viewers take away from Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever?
Jeff Kinney: My books don’t usually come with a lot of messages, but this one does. The message is that your family might be driving you crazy now, but you’ll come to appreciate them later on. I think it’s a good-hearted message, and even though it’s a little outside the normal Wimpy Kid fair, I think it’s a good one to deliver right now.
How do you choose what book to adapt into a film?
Jeff Kinney: There are so many right now; there are 18. It just felt like the right time to tell a holiday story; we’ve never done it before. We really wanted to do a holiday story during the holidays, and we had a window and an opportunity to do it. We really had to race to get it done, but we did and got it done in time. It’s nice. Here it is, December. I’m in Time Square right now, and I’m looking at the backside of one of those giant video boards. So, it feels like Christmas around here already, and it feels really good to have a holiday film coming out.
Did you have a Santa Scout growing up? Or did you take part in the Elf on the Shelf craze with your own kids?
Jeff Kinney: I don’t think we took part in Elf on the Shelf, but that’s a genius idea. My elf is called Elfriendo, which is kind of a strange name. He’s keeping an eye on Greg, and it’s not very clear if he’s alive or if he’s a doll, and Greg can’t figure it out himself. So, we’ll leave it up to the viewer to figure that one out. It’s fun because it adds this element to the story, which is almost like horror, which is a fun element to throw into a holiday movie.
Was there anything that got cut from the book that you were hoping made it into the film?
Jeff Kinney: No, I felt really good about it. An hour is a nice length because you have to tell a really tight story. In filmmaking, there is something called an A plot and a B plot, and most movies have both, but these don’t have a B plot. So, it’s a really straightforward way of telling the story. In a way, that works really well for me.
What book would you like to see next on Disney+?
Jeff Kinney: I’d like to see The Last Straw next, because that way we’d be getting back on track. It would be the third story, but that’s out of my control. I’ll do whatever Disney wants, and we’ll hope they all get made.