It’s been ten years since Napoleon Dynamite danced his way to the forefront of American pop culture. In the alternate universe of Preston, Idaho, Pedro might be running for Mayor, and Napoleon has probably shot, like, two hundred wolverines. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the 2004 sleeper hit has been commemorated with a statue on the Fox studios lot.
On Monday, the cast of Napoleon Dynamite — including Jon Heder (Napoleon), Efren Ramirez (Pedro) and Tina Majorino (Deb) — reunited for the unveiling of the statue, a bronze Napoleon holding a tetherball and wearing his iconic “Vote for Pedro” T-shirt. Heder, 36, posed proudly for photographs next to his likeness, which Fox Searchlight described on Twitter as “possibly the only bronze statue ever to sport moon boots.”
Along with revealing the statue, Fox hosted a Q&A with the actors and writer-director Jared Hess. Other cast members who showed up for the occasion included Diedrich Bader (Rex), Haylie Duff (Summer), Sandy Martin (Grandma), Shondrella Avery (Lafawnduh) and Carmen Brady (Starla). Even Tina the llama made an appearance, having apparently forgiven Jon Heder for calling her a “fat lard” on camera.
Napoleon Dynamite is one of the biggest and most unlikely hits in independent film history. Shot by a then-unknown director on a budget of $400,000, the movie went on to gross over $44 million and inspired an animated TV series. In 2005, the State Legislature of Idaho officially commended the filmmakers “for their cinematic talents by which they have increased the nation’s awareness of Idaho.”
(L-R) Haylie Duff, Shondrella Avery, Carmen Brady, Diedrich Bader, Jon Heder, director Jared Hess, Sandy Martin, Tina Majorino and Efren Ramirez