When a film makes number 14 of Bravo’s Top 100 funniest movies, you know it is one to watch out for. Napoleon Dynamite is a cult classic for sure. If you meet some of the dedicated and die-hard fans of the film, you will surely be sold on the idea that it is one of the best things to have ever been on TV. Jon Heder, the lead role, sure makes it easy to fall in love with the comedy film.
Who is Jon Heder?
Jon Heder is an American producer, actor, comedian, writer, and filmmaker. He was born on the 26th of October, 1977 in Fort Collins, Colorado. His parents are James Heder (a physician) and Helen Herder. He is actually an identical twin to his brother Daniel. He also has two older siblings, Rachel and Doug, and two younger brothers, Matt and Adam.
The hilarious actor grew up in Salem, Oregon, from the age of two. He eventually went on to attend Walker Middle School, and later graduated in 1996 from Salem High School. Heder went to Brigham Young University and graduated in 2002.
The Cult Classic Napoleon Dynamite
Napoleon Dynamite is an American comedy film released in 2004. It was produced by Chris Wyatt, Jeremy Coon and Sean Covel and directed by Jared Hess. Jon Heder stars in the lead role of the title character, Napoleon Dynamite. The film follows the life of a 16-year-old Napoleon Dynamite, a socially awkward and geeky high school kid juggling the many issues and dilemmas in his life.
Napoleon lives with his grandmother Carlinda Dynamite and brother Kipland Dynamite in Preston, Idaho. He is an aloof teenager who spends most of his time daydreaming in school and doodling mythical creatures and superheroes. He is an alienated kid at school and gets bullied, often particularly by one sports jock Don.
His already messy life takes a turn for the worse when his dear grandmother gets injured in an accident. He is then forced to live with his uncle Rico, who keeps a tight leash on him. Rico and Kipland soon engage in a get-rich-quick scheme where they sell items door to door.
In a bid to escape all the craziness at home, Napoleon decides to befriend a new kid at school, Pedro- a transfer student from Juarez, Mexico. He also befriends Deb, a dynamic young girl who operates several small businesses to raise money for college. Napoleon and his new friend launch an elaborate plan to run for class president, which Pedro eventually wins through the ingenuity of Napoleon dynamite by performing his now-famous solo dance routine.
How He Landed the Role of Napoleon Dynamite
Jon Heder met the director and writer of Napoleon Dynamite way before the film came together. The two were taking some classes together at Brigham Young University and were doing a few projects together. Together they made the short film Peluca which also follows the life of a dorky kid who skips school with his friends, ends up winning a lottery ticket, and then they go shopping.
The film Napoleon dynamite was based on Peluca, but Dynamite is the superior version. Many people did not like the cinematography for Peluca, and critics have pointed out how overused some of the slang was in the film. Napoleon dynamite is, however, a classic that checks all the boxes for a great movie.
Speaking on how the name Napoleon Dynamite came by, Jon Heder said the director, Jared Hess, had met an old guy called Napoleon Dynamite in one of his trips, and he had decided that was a cool name for his first film! Heder also thought the name was excellent for his character.
On Filming, Setting, and the Cast
Jon Heder and his team took 22 days to shoot the film. They had to do fewer takes as there weren’t many pre-rehearsals since most of the actors in the film were cast last minute. Most f the crew that helped in the film were their fellow graduates at BYU, and some were still in school.
Heder has revealed that most of his lines were scripted; he only threw in a few extra words here and there, but not too much. They decided to shoot the film in Preston, Idaho, where Jared grew up, and because the story was centered on his childhood experiences.
Jon Heder on Napoleon Dynamite Avoiding Raunchy Roles
When asked about the possibility of doing a raunchier role than The School of Rock, he says, “You can’t do anything without somebody thinking that it’s going to be raunchy. You’re always walking into something with some sort of expectation. But I don’t think anybody would expect me to go down that road. I mean, I could play a guy who is really bad at sex. But I wouldn’t want to play that guy because I like playing characters who are good at sex.”
Why Hollywood Won’t Cast Jon Heder
Jon Heder, the actor best known for playing a character named “The Kid” in the 1999 comedy The School of Rock and its 2004 sequel, is now starring as the title character in Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. But he says that casting directors have been reluctant to cast him because they think his face looks too much like that of his character.
Heder tells New York magazine that when he was first approached about the role, he was told by an agent that he had to shave off all his facial hair before being considered for the part. He did so but still wasn’t offered it. Then, after reading the script, he decided to shave again. This time, however, he didn’t tell anyone beforehand. When he got home from work one day, he found a message on his answering machine: It was the casting director calling back. She wanted to know if he’d shaved his beard. “I said ‘Yes,’ and she said, ‘Good! We want you to keep your beard.’ And I said, ‘Okay.'”
Jon Heder appeared in a string of flops
Before landing the role of The Kid, Heder played a series of characters who were either too stupid or not funny enough to be taken seriously. In 1998, he starred in the pilot episode of NBC’s short-lived sitcom The Brothers Garcia, which lasted only two episodes. A year later, he made his feature film debut in the teen comedy American Pie 2. His next project was a 2001 remake of the French horror movie Le Samouraï, which flopped at the box office. After that came the 2003 comedy The Benchwarmers, followed by a 2005 appearance in the romantic drama Just Married.
In 2007, Heder landed the lead role in the cult hit comedy The School of Rock. The following year, he co-starred with Jack Black in the music biopic High Fidelity, which also failed to make money. In 2009, he voiced the titular character in the animated adventure Toy Story 3, and then went on to star alongside Jennifer Aniston in the 2010 romcom Horrible Bosses.
Jon got married to his college sweetheart Kirsten Bales on 23rd November 2002; they both attended Bigham Young University. Together they have four children, and they remain staunch members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Well, according to Napoleon Dynamite, Nerds Rule! If you are one, you would particularly enjoy this film more. Jon Heder is a brilliant actor, and even though he has taken up more serious roles now in his career, we will always know him as the dorky, awkward kid from Napoleon Dynamite.