Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

The Heffley family embarks on a road trip to attend their grandmother’s 90th birthday turns into a disaster.
  • Starring: Jason Drucker, Alicia Silverstone
  • Director(s): David Bowers
  • Producer(s): Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson    
  • Screenwriter(s): Jeff Kinney, David Bowers, Adam Sztykiel
  • Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox
  • Animal Coordinator: Animal Casting Atlanta, Birds and Animals Unlimited
  • Release Date: Friday, May 19, 2017
  • Rating: Outstanding

Featured Animal Action

In the scene where we see two rats crawling at the bottom of an empty swimming pool, trainers placed the rats at the bottom of the pool and let them run on their own. In the scene where the rat runs across and eats the cheese, the animal trainer brought three rats to set in individual rat carriers. The trainer set up the area for the shot. The setup included a folding table which lay a wooden board with a green piece of material attached.  At one end of the table he positioned a small cardboard box with an opening cut to allow the rats to come in and out of the closed box.  He placed a slice of fake Swiss cheese at the other end of the table not close to the edge.  The slice of cheese had one clip to which he attached food treats.  A green screen backdrop was positioned approximately three feet behind the table. When filming began the trainer placed the rat carrier at point B on the table and opened the door for the rat to come out on her own. He then positioned himself at the far end of the table and pushed a buzzer to call the rat to the cheese.  The rat came out of the box and found the cheese. After shooting the three rats back to the trailer where he placed them back in three larger cages where they had free access to water.

In the scene where the boy raises his foot and sees a bunch of cockroaches scurrying about, the trainer placed a roach in a small plastic container and brought it to set. The trainer placed the roach under the boy’s barefoot. The trainer first rehearsed with his finger under the actor’s foot so he would how much pressure to put down. On action, the boy lifted his foot and the roach ran out. Ashley picked it up at cut and placed it back in its container.

When we see the multiple roaches running about the trainer placed twenty roaches in a plastic container and let them go on the bathroom floor. On action, he lifted the container up and they scurried around. On cut, they were all collected and placed back in their large container.

In the scene where the family goes to the country fair and we see horses and a variation of livestock in the background, the handlers were out of frame supplying them with feed when needed. Moreover panels were set up to create small corrals in the petting zoo animals and the hog. The petting zoo animals were led over by halter and lead ropes from their main tent at the fair. Water was in the corrals and arena all day.

In that same scene where the man takes a piglet from a box and places it in the boy’s arms, the piglet he handed the boy was fake. In the next shot, when the woman pulls back the blanket revealing the baby pig, they switched the fake piglet for the real piglet.

In the scene where the actor pulls the piglet out of the backpack, the trainer placed the piglet the backpack with a grape and zipped it up. The trainer also cut a hole in the bottom of the backpack and held the pig from underneath. When the boy opened the backpack, the trainer pushed the pig’s face out of the opening. After yelling cut, the piglet was immediately taken out of the backpack and placed in a trailer.

In the scene where the baby pig jumps from the cooler to the plastic toilet in the back of the van, trainers brought a few piglets to the studio. The piglets were subsequently filmed on a large green screen. On the first take, the trainer placed a piglet in the middle of the green floor and handed her a pacifier provided by the props department.  To get the look that the piglet was jumping from one area to another, the trainer ran and the piglet ran after him. Everything else was actualized with special effects in post production.

When they open the cooler and see the baby pig in the cooler, the trainer placed the piglet in the cooler. On action, the actress opened the cooler and took out the piglet. In that same sequence when the family sees the piglet in the bathtub, the trainer placed the piglet in the tub. She got the piglet to move around by placing a grape on the end of a stick. When the family wakes up and sees that the piglet is eating food from the mini-fridge, the trainer placed the pig on floor in the middle of all the food. On action, the pig eats a cookie and the actor walks over and pets her. They called cut and the trainer rewarded the pig with treats.

In the scene when the pig almost jumps out of the window of the minivan, the trainer was dressed in a green screen suit with the piglet. On action, she lifts the piglet to the open window as if she were jumping. She brings the piglet back and forth at different angles. The rest was done in post production. When we see the pig’s head stick out of the car’s window that was actually an animatronic pig.

In the scene where the two pigs run toward each other in love with chickens, ducks and donkeys in background, the trainer placed the ducks and chickens in cages with food and water. Likewise, she tied the donkey and horse to posts. Before filming, one trainer brought one pig to point A and another trainer placed the other pig at point B. On action, the trainers called the pigs and they ran towards each other.

In the scene where the seagulls fly to the sunroof, attacking the family, production actually filmed the birds on stage in front of a green screen. The trainers tied black string on two seagulls legs. One trainer placed one seagull on the edge of the sunroof opening of the minivan. On action, the bird sits and acts naturally, grooms, looks, flaps wings. They then brought a crate with a couple more seagulls inside. The trainer then moved the perch and hand released him to the crate a few feet away. Trainers then stacked two crates on top of each other and released one bird at a time to the crate. The action was across camera, changing positions of crates to a diagonal cross in front of the camera. They got the shots of the birds acting naturally.