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To the majority of us, Steve Zahn will always be known as Lenny, the sarcastic guitar player from Tom Hanks' delightful directorial debut, That Thing You Do! But parents reading this may also recognize Zahn for his work as the beleaguered father Frank Heffley in a trio of Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies. Which is why I found it so funny that, with Zahn's time in the Wimpy Kid franchise coming to a close, he's being replaced by fellow That Thing You Do! band member Tom Everett Scott.
Scott is poised to begin playing Frank Heffley in a soft reboot of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise, which will adapt The Long Haul into a family-friendly movie, due out later this year. When I sat down with Steve Zahn recently to discuss his work in War for the Planet of the Apes, we talked Wimpy Kid, where he revealed with joy what he loves most about his replacement:
It's Tom Scott! Who is my buddy! Dude, he called me up and he's like, I'm playing your part. Like, what?? I couldn't believe it. How weird is that? They were shooting in Atlanta. I live in Kentucky. I'm like, I'm driving down. I'm driving down.
Did you go?
No, I ended up not going. I had too much stuff with my kids.
His quote, while awesome, doesn't quite convey the enthusiasm that Steve Zahn has for Tom Everett Scott replacing him in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise. Thankfully, we have video!
For three straight years, from 2010 to 2012, Steve Zahn held a cushy gig as the frazzled father in the backgrounds of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies. He and Rachael Harris held court as loving and supportive parents, but the problem with the series is that the young cast was destined to age out of the main parts.
Enter Jason Drucker, the young kid who has been cast as Greg in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, the fourth movie based on the books of Jeff Kinney, though one with an entirely new cast. In the process, Tom Scott and Alicia Silverstone have replaced Steve Zahn and Rachael Harris as the heads of the Heffley household. Zahn, adorably, couldn't be happier for his old band mate.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul hits theaters on May 19, while Zahn's War for the Planet of the Apes opens on July 14. Which ones are you going to see?