Napoleon Dynamite’s Jon Heder
Just Like Heaven official website
Not much has changed for twenty-eight year old Jon Heder since he shot to the tip of every movie lover’s tongue as Napoleon Dynamite – his film debut.
Though Napoleon Dynamite was a box office smash, ($45 million), considering it cost next to nothing to make, ($400,000 to film, $10 million to market), Heder is still not on Hollywood’s A-list, nor do most who know nothing about movies know who he is.
That may be about to change. Heder, who got his start in acting as a kid in a stage production of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, has four movies coming out within the next few months. The first, Just Like Heaven, in which he co-stars with Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo.
This time he is not the lead, but still a weirdo – an employee, Darryl, at an occult bookstore. “I guess looking goofy can pay off,” laughed Heder, when I spoke to him last year before Napoleon Dynamite was released.
Heder, who has an identical twin brother, couldn’t have looked any nerdier, geekier or goofier in Napoleon Dynamite, what with that hairdo, those 70s clothes and that monotone voice. “That was my real hair, not a wig,” Heder revealed, proudly, of his do in Napoleon Dynamite. “I had a permanent but it was all my hair.”
Heder doesn’t go the perm route in Just Like Heaven but his look is not what one would call contemporary, jockish or preppy. “I would say a cross between grungy and retro,” giggles Heder, when asked the best way to describe his on screen looks.
In person, Heder, who is happily married, is far from a nerd, rather sharply dressed: in a suit, button up shirt, no tie and hair styled somewhat conservatively, compared to his on screen hair.
Coming up for Heder, after Just Like Heaven, more roles that accentuate his goofiness. In The Benchwarmers, Heder is among a trio of guys who try and make up for missed opportunities in childhood by forming a three-player baseball team to compete against standard little league squads. He lends his voice to Sony’s upcoming animated film Monster House. And in School for Scoundrels Heder plays a young guy short on luck who enrolls in a class to build confidence to help win over the girl of his dreams. But it gets complicated when his teacher has the same agenda.
“All that matters is that my life is not complicated,” says Heder. “It’s quite simple, actually. I hope it stays that way.”