Today marks the tenth anniversary of the release of a film that surely ranks among the most surprising sleeper hits in Hollywood history.
When Napoleon Dynamite hit theaters in 2004, moviegoers were unlikely to recognize a single actor in the cast; its directors – an unknown married Utah couple – were only in their early 20s; and the film even lacked the rave reviews usually required for an indie film to find mainstream success.
Yet somehow the tale of a ginger-froed teen and his mustachioed sidekick became a love-it-or hate-it cult phenomenon and went on to gross over $46 million domestically.
With a full decade passed since Jon Heder became the most unlikely movie star since Steve Buscemi, we thought it would be a good time to check in on what the cast has been up to in the years since Napoleon Dynamite briefly made them household names.
We say “briefly,” because the film sadly proved to be a “lightning in a bottle” sort of experience for most of the principal players.
The cachet initially enjoyed by the actors proves short-lived and directors Jared and Jerusha Hess were unable to recreate the success of the first film in subsequent efforts.
In 2012, a Fox animated series based on Napoleon lasted only six episodes.
Even so, the film continues to enjoy a lovingly devoted fan base who recite Napoleon Dynamite quotes on cue and “Vote For Pedro” t-shirts can now be seen on kids too young to remember the time when a lonely geek with a pet llama ruled the box office.