David Bowers to direct 'Wimpy' sequel

Helmer's credits include 'Astro Boy,' 'Flushed Away'

Animation director David Bowers will make his live action debut by tackling "Diary of Wimpy Kid 2: Roderick Rules," the sequel to Fox 2000's sleeper hit "Diary of a Wimpy Kid."

Zachary Gordon, Steve Zahn and Rachael Harris are returning as stars in the adaptation of the Jeff Kinney young adult novel series. Nina Jacobson and her Color Force banner are back as producers along with Brad Simpson.

Fox 2000 is moving fast on the sequel, hoping to capitalize on the slow-burn success of the first movie, which opened March 19 and went on to gross almost $64 million domestically. The movie was made for a modest $15 million and Fox 2000 is making the sequel for the same amount.

"Diary 2" is already in pre-production barreling toward an August start in Vancouver and a March 2011 opening.

(The book was called "Rodrick Rules" but Fox 2000 is strangely adding an "e" to the "Rodrick" of its movie title.)

Thor Freudenthal directed the first movie but opted not to return for the second outing. The search for a director came down to Bowers, who co-directed DreamWorks Animation and Aardman Animations' "Flushed Away" and directed last year's "Astro Boy," and Jay Chandrasekhar, the TV and feature director best known for his work as part of comedy troupe Broken Lizard.

"Diary 2," with a script by Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah, again focuses on put-upon kid Greg Heffley, who this time around must deal with the punishments inflicted by his older brother Roderick.

Bowers is repped by ICM.