Rodney James is a minor but memorable character in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series.

Rodney james diary of a wimpy kid: A Closer Look

Rodney James is a name that might not immediately ring a bell for every “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” enthusiast, but this minor character has left his mark in the series. In this comprehensive article, we’ll delve into the life of Rodney James, also known as “The Shrub.” From his appearances in the books and movies to some interesting trivia, we’ve got it all covered. Let’s explore the world of Rodney James together.

Key Takeaways

Before we dive into the details, let’s highlight the key takeaways about Rodney James:

  • Name and Alias: Rodney James, also known as “The Shrub.”
  • Gender: Male
  • Age: 11-14 (debut)
  • Occupation: Middle school student
  • Status: Alive
  • Actor: Ryan Grantham
  • First Appearance: “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” (online)
  • Last Appearance: “The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book”

Now, let’s explore Rodney James’s journey in the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” universe.


Diary of a Wimpy Kid

In the world of school plays and auditions, Rodney James tried his luck by auditioning for the role of the Tin Man. However, luck wasn’t on his side, and he didn’t make the cut for that coveted role. Instead, he was assigned the role of “The Shrub.” This casting decision came as a result of there being too many kids in the play, leading the school to invent new roles to fill the gaps.

As “The Shrub,” Rodney found himself in a somewhat idle position during rehearsals. To make the best use of his time, he ingeniously snuck a video game into his costume. This allowed him to pass the hours during rehearsals, as his only on-stage duty was to sit there doing nothing.

One memorable moment during the play’s preparation was when Archie Kelly tripped over Rodney, accidentally chipping his tooth. This incident led the school to grant Rodney and the other tree actors permission to carve armholes into their costumes to prevent similar accidents.

Right before the play was set to begin, Rodney experienced stage fright, causing a half-hour delay in the production. Ultimately, his mother had to step in and carry him off the stage.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010 film)

In the movie adaptation of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” Rodney initially played the role of a bush but later became part of the tree scene during the actual play.


In the online book version of the story, Rodney James took his mischievous side a step further by sneaking a Game Boy Advance into the play. Gaming in the midst of a school play? That’s one way to make rehearsals more interesting!


  • In the film adaptation, Rodney James was spotted playing Mario Kart DS on a Nintendo DS. In the online version, Rodney opted for a Game Boy Advance.
  • According to Jeff Kinney, the author of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, Rodney James was held back during the events of “Rodrick Rules.”
  • It’s worth noting that Rodney shares his last name with two other characters in the series, Lionel James and Terrence James.
  • While Rodney wears glasses in the book, he doesn’t sport them in the movie adaptation.



Rodney James makes appearances in several installments of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, including:

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid (online)
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010 film)
  • The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book
  • The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book


Let’s take a visual journey through Rodney James’s appearances:

Rodney James’ Role in Diary of a Wimpy Kid

The School Play

  • Auditions for the role of the Tin Man in a production of The Wizard of Oz
  • Doesn’t get the part, instead is cast as “The Shrub”
  • Brings a Game Boy Advance into his shrub costume to play during rehearsals
  • Causes Archie Kelly to chip his tooth when Archie trips over him
  • Allowed to cut arm holes into his costume after the incident
  • Gets stage fright before the actual performance

Other Appearances

  • Appears briefly in other books like The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book
  • Jeff Kinney says Rodney was held back a grade at some point
  • May be related to other characters with the last name James

Behind the Character: Ryan Grantham

  • Canadian actor who plays Rodney James in the 2010 Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie
  • Born in 1990 in Vancouver, Canada
  • Other roles include The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
  • Played Rodney James as sneaking a Nintendo DS into his shrub costume in the film

Why Rodney James Stands Out

  • Humorous role as a human shrub with little to do
  • Sneaking in a video game system showed his boredom and creativity
  • Caused key plot point when he chipped Archie’s tooth during rehearsal
  • Remembered for his stage fright after getting a minor role
  • Added comedy and mischief to an otherwise straightforward school play

Rodney James’ Lasting Popularity

  • Remains recognizable to fans of the Wimpy Kid series
  • Represents the offbeat, quirky characters that populate the Wimpy Kid world
  • Shows how even minor characters influence Greg’s journey
  • Plays a part across multiple books and adaptations of the series
  • A fun character fans enjoy reading and learning more about

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Rodney James in “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”?

Rodney James is a character in the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series. He is known for his role as “The Shrub” in the school play “The Wizard of Oz.”

What is Rodney James’s age in the series?

Rodney James’s age is between 11 and 14 during his debut in the series.

What is some trivia about Rodney James?

Some trivia about Rodney James includes his fondness for gaming during rehearsals, his appearance with and without glasses in different adaptations, and the possibility of him being related to other characters with the last name James.

In which books and movies does Rodney James appear?

Rodney James makes appearances in various “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books, the 2010 film adaptation, “The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary,” and the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book.”

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