TIL that Jared Hess had a $400,000 budget for ‘Napoleon Dynamite, relying on the generosity of the locals of Preston, Idaho, to provide housing and food for crew members. Jon Heder was initially paid $1000 for starring as Napoleon.

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I took a detour off the I-15 and visited Preston, ID a couple of years after the movie came out. They were super proud of it. They were giving out maps of the filming locations to tourists. We went and visited the high school and were taking pictures outside of it. This was on a school day and the vice principal came back from lunch and asked us in a very excited tone, “You here to see Napoleon’s School? Well come on in!” Most schools at that time had started really restricting who could enter due to recent school shootings, so we were not expecting that. But we went in and got some pictures of the lockers etc. while actual school was going on. Napoleon’s house looked pretty run down. The yard was full of junk and a broken down old truck. We also went and yelled at Tina the llama, “Tina you fat lard, come get some dinner!”, while she was in her pen.


> *”Napoleon’s student ID shown in the opening credits clearly established that the film takes place in 2004. However fashion, technology and pop culture are all from the 80s and 90s. Jarad Hess was once asked when the movie takes place and his response was simply “Idaho.'”* As someone who used to live in Idaho, I can vouch for this sentiment.


In 2005, the Idaho legislature wrote a resolution praising Jared and Jerusha Hess and the city of Preston. HCR029 appreciates the use of tater tots for “promoting Idaho’s most famous export.” It extols bicycling and skateboarding to promote “better air quality,” and it says Kip and LaFawnduh’s relationship “is a tribute to e-commerce and Idaho’s technology-driven industry.” The resolution goes on to say those who “vote Nay on this concurrent resolution are Freakin’ Idiots.” Napoleon would be proud.


Thats like a dollar an hour!


According to Wikipedia, most of the situations in the movie are loosely based on the life of Jared Hess. The film’s total worldwide gross revenue was $46,122,713, which is whopping 115 times of budget. The movie was voted at number 14 on Bravo’s 100 funniest movies too.