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Whatever Happened To Uncle Rico From Napoleon Dynamite?

When Napoleon Dynamite was released in 2004 it was quick to capture the praise of critics and audiences, and soon solidified itself as an easily quotable cult classic. With a budget of $400,000 and relatively unknown cast at the time, the film went on to rake in over $46 million worldwide and put its stars into the spotlight (via The Numbers and Box Office Mojo).

Centering around an awkward Idahoan teenager named Napoleon Dynamite, the film spawned memorable scenes and trends including Napoleon's "Canned Heat" dance, Vote For Pedro shirts, and an inordinate amount of people using "Gosh!" as part of their vernacular.

But who could forget Uncle Rico? The mustachioed, steak-eating uncle who looked after Napoleon and his brother Kip after their grandmother broke her coccyx riding a dune buggy. Rico easily took some of the film's funniest moments including reminiscing about playing high school football, fighting Napoleon, and of course eating steak. 

Rico was played by actor Jon Gries. Gries has a long history in acting, with his IMDb page listing roles dating back to the late 1960s. Gries has directed and acted in music videos and appeared in various movies like Get Shorty and Men In Black before his role in Napoleon Dynamite, which earned him an Independent Spirit Award nomination. So what has Gries been up to since playing Uncle Rico?

Jon Gries played Roger Linus on Lost

After appearing in one of the biggest hit films from 2004, Jon Gries went to work on one of the biggest television shows taking on the role of Roger Linus, a DHARMA Initiative worker and father to the villainous Ben Linus (Michael Emerson), on Lost.

It was a fitting character shift for Gries, as Uncle Rico was obsessed with time traveling to relive his high school football glory days, and Roger Linus unknowingly interacts with various Lost characters who have time traveled back into the 1970's.

Though Roger Linus shoots Sayid at one point in the show, it's hard not to pity the character. Roger lost his wife after she gave birth to Ben and was ultimately killed by his own son years later.

Showing off his acting chops, Gries played Roger when the character was young in 1964, when he was middle-aged in the 1970's, and as an older man in 1992 and 2004. According to the Lost Fandom page, "this is the longest age range (40 years) the same actor has played of any naturally aging characters on the show." 

Jon Gries reprised Uncle Rico for the animated series

Since first playing Uncle Rico in the Napoleon Dynamite film, Gries reprised his role for the Fox animated series in 2012. Set in the small town of Preston, Idaho and revolving around the same memorable characters from the film, the familiar voices of Jon Heder, Aaron Ruell, Tina Majorino, and Efren Ramirez all returned to feature on the series, as well.

Gries revealed to NatalieInterviews, that when he was approached to do the animated take on the classic film he was so excited to revisit Uncle Rico, he "didn't even take a breath" before saying yes.

Despite positive reviews from critics like Linda Stasi of The New York Post, who said she "was laughing so hard that my Afro began shaking violently enough to cause my aviators to crash to the ground," the series was cancelled before it could get a season two.

Though the series was short-lived, Gries continued to revive the role, recently donning Rico's wig and mustache for an ESPN segment with reporter Chris Connelly.

Jon Gries appeared in the video game Hitman

In addition to his various live action work, Jon Gries is notably recognizable to gamers for his voice-over work as Clive Skurky, the sheriff of Hope, South Dakota, in the popular game Hitman: Absolution.

In the game, Skurky is a corrupt sheriff who uses part of his prison as a sex dungeon and ultimately takes a priest hostage. Joined by fellow Lost castmate, Marsha Thomason, who played Naomi Dorrit on the ABC series, and is featured as the handler of the game's protagonist, it was like a mini-reunion for the former co-workers.

The game received mostly positive reviews from critics with IGN giving it a 9 out of 10 writing that it was a "true pleasure to play."  GamesRadar+  agreed sharing that the game showed "true evolution, moving Agent 47 forward and playing up his enhanced abilities well, both when it comes to hitting a well-placed shot to the head of a scummy target or stealthily moving through a building full of police." 

Jon Gries has done numerous TV guest spots

In addition to his already hefty resume of work, Jon Gries has also guested on several television shows throughout the years. Fans can clearly recognize the prolific actor from shows ranging from two separate yet distinct roles on Seinfeld ,24, Cold Case, Psych, Las Vegas and CSI (via IMDb).

Supernatural "stans," no doubt recognize Gries as Martin Creaser from seasons five and eight of the show, a hunter and mental institution patient who ultimately helped Dean and Sam to kill the Wraith monster. 

The talented actor also appeared in the Taken films as Mark Casey, a retired CIA operative and friend of Bryan (Liam Neeson). He said in an interview with We Are Movie Geeks he had no idea how big the film would become. Sharing, "We both had the same feeling about the script that it was going to go straight to video. There's no way we thought the film was going to become what it became. But I think I underestimated Liam Neeson."

Jon Gries starred in an Adult Swim show about dreams

Most recently Gries stars in an Adult Swim series called Dream Corp LLC. In the show Gries plays Dr. Roberts, an eccentric professor who runs a dream therapy facility that aims to help patients solve their issues by dropping into their dreams. The show, which as you'd expect, leans towards the bizarre, includes a rotoscoping aesthetic that resembles Richard Linklater films like Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly. 

Debuting in 2016, the show which has aired three seasons to date features stars like Stephen Merchant, Nick Rutherford, and Sunita Mani from GLOW.  In an interview with Jon Interviews Gries revealed that he got the role after bumping into the show's creator Daniel Stessen at a party. Telling the outlet, he didn't hesitate to work on the series. Sharing, "And I was like I'm in." Gries said. Without even knowing what the part was, he reiterated to Stessen, "Doesn't matter, I don't even need to read it." 

The AV Club wrote that the series "won't quite haunt your dreams, but it will grab your full attention during Adult Swim's graveyard shift."