Napoleon Dynamite’s 10th Anniversary Interviews: Co-Writer/Director Jared Hess!

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I had a chance to very briefly interview Napoleon Dynamite himself, Jon Heder (Benchwarmers, Surfs Up, Blades of Glory), the fantastic writer/director Jared Hess (Nacho Libre, Gentleman Broncos) and the brilliant Diedrich Bader (The Drew Carrey Show, Office Space,
Batman: The Brave and the Bold), about the 10th anniversary of the Napoleon Dynamite and the lasting impact that the film has had.
Jared Hess was sporting an epic beard that left me incredibly jealous. His excitement throughout the event was refreshing to see; you encounter so many filmmakers and actors who have no pride in their early work, but Jared was beaming with happiness when he spoke about Napoleon Dynamite and how everything has changed so much since 2004.

: It’s been 10 years since you released this movie, how does it feel looking back on it now and seeing it celebrated so much?

Jared Hess: It’s fun, time has flown man! It’s been a lot of fun. A lot of the people, a lot of the cast, a couple of them I haven’t seen since we shot the film so it was fun to be able to see everyone again.

: I know you based a lot of the character stuff on your brothers, but I was wondering if you keep in contact with anyone else who might have inspired some of the characters in the film.

Jared Hess: Well, I definitely keep in contact with my brothers, haha, but um, the old Farmer…a lot of the smaller roles in the film we cast locally in my hometown where we shot.

: Yeah, you had like 400 extras just for the scenes at the school!

Jared Hess: Yeah we did, that’s right! But the old Farmer that shoots the cow and talks about the Shoshoni arrowheads in the chicken farm scene, he’s a really cool guy and I wish he had been able to come out for this.
ARB: One of my favorite parts of Napoleon Dynamite was the scenes with Diedrich Bader playing Rex, how did you get him involved with the shoot?

Jared Hess: He was one of the few people that we had sent an offer too. I’d seen him in Office Space and really loved all of his comedic work that he’s done and his voice was just so deep and resonant and exactly what we needed for the role of Rex. We were lucky to get him, he was busy on The Drew Carey Show at that time and I think it was his hiatus, we lucked out. He was willing to drive all the way out to Idaho to be in the film, which not a lot of people were.

: Totally non-Napoleon Dynamite related, but I’m a big fan of Gentleman Broncos, as a writer and someone who’s gone to writing workshops it’s one of the my favorite comedies of all time.

Jared Hess: That’s awesome! That’s the litmus test!
Thanks Jared! More to come from the 10th Anniversary of Napoleon Dynamite!

Jared Hess poses with Anthony Ray Bench for a flippin' sweet pic.

Jared Hess poses with Anthony Ray Bench for a flippin’ sweet pic.

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