Some young actors strive to be the next Tom Cruise or Will Smith, but 12-year-old Zachary Gordon has found success as the next Bill Murray. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” producers auditioned thousands in a nationwide search to find the boy who would play the selfish, lazy, manipulative yet beloved protagonist of the hit book series.
“Like a Ben Stiller or Bill Murray, you just like to see him get himself into bad situations and deal with the fallout,” says “Diary” producer Nina Jacobson. “Zach was the kid who could pull it off and get away with it.”
With Gordon in the lead, “Diary” earned $64 million, outgrossing Miley Cyrus starrer “The Last Song,” and is now shooting a sequel.
Before “Diary,” Gordon appeared in “The Brothers Bloom” and “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” while lending his voice to animated series “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” and “Ni Hao, Kai-lan,” where he speaks Mandarin.
Had it been up to him, Gordon would’ve started acting even earlier.
“When I was younger, I asked my mom if I could go to an acting class and she said I had to wait until I could read,” he says.
The craft comes relatively easily to Gordon. His voiceover agent, CESD’s Melissa Berger Brennan, says he booked an animated pilot on his first audition.
“He has a wonderful, quirky voice, but he also had the personality and all the joy that goes along with it,” she says. “He’s a smart kid, good actor, funny, unique — same stuff you’d like about an adult but in a slightly shorter package.”