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“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” Actor Says Becoming a 'Worldwide Meme' as a Teen 'Ruined My Acting Career'

Young actor Charlie Wright was subjected to an internet campaign titled #NotMyRodrick after he took a role in 2017's 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul'

<p>Paras Griffin/Getty</p> Charlie Wright

Paras Griffin/Getty

Charlie Wright

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul star Charlie Wright is opening up about the negativity he experienced after becoming a "worldwide meme."

On Sunday, Wright, 25, shared a video to YouTube and TikTok in which he recalled being cast in the 2017 family comedy, which served as the third live-action film in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise. Released several years after the first two Wimpy Kid movies, based on author Jeff Kinney's children's book series of the same name, The Long Haul featured an entirely new cast, including Wright as the character Rodrick, who is lead character Greg Heffley's (Jason Drucker) older brother.

"Let's just say that when the world found out I was playing Rodrick, they weren't very happy," Wright recalled of reaction to his 2016 casting announcement. When 20th Century Fox released a trailer for the movie in March 2017, internet criticism of the film was aimed largely at Wright, culminating in an internet trend known as #NotMyRodrick.

"For the better half of 2017 and honestly until like 2018, I was kind of a worldwide meme, not to brag or anything," he said. While Wright said he found many of the jokes funny at the time, the trend gave way toward more serious anger and derision toward him. Comments on YouTube trailers for that movie remain turned off seven years later.

Related: 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' and 'Riverdale' Actor Ryan Grantham Sentenced to Life for Killing His Mother

<p>20th Century Fox/Alamy</p> Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

20th Century Fox/Alamy

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

Wright noted in his video that he remains unsure whether "the hate towards me was because" he replaced Devon Bostick, who played the character Rodrick in the first two Wimpy Kid movies, or whether the trend simply grew popular as a joke paralleling turmoil over Donald Trump's election and inauguration around the same time as the movie was marketed to audiences.

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"The random death threats were a little disturbing, I'll be honest," Wright shared, noting that even after the initial internet fervor died down, "there were still a couple of stragglers that were in my DMs or in the comments on my Instagram."

The Long Haul proved the Wimpy Kid series' final live-action entry. Further entires have been developed as animated films for Disney+. In Wright's video, which he said is the first time he has spoken publicly about his experience following The Long Haul, the actor noted he experienced "a depressive episode for almost three years" following the film's release.

<p>20th Century Fox/Alamy</p> Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

20th Century Fox/Alamy

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

"It kind of ruined my acting career, but I'm still alive," Wright, whose IMDb page last credits him with a 2021 appearance in Yellowjackets, said. "I'm still here, and to be honest, I never really liked acting."

Wright shared in his video that while he holds no ill will towards people who turned him into a meme as a teenager, he regrets that "no one was there to really guide me through it or help me."

"I just had to suck it up and deal with it; I had to figure it out on my own and it took me three years to finally let go and move on," he said.

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