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What Napoleon From Napoleon Dynamite Looks Like Today

Seventeen years have passed since "Napoleon Dynamite" emerged from the ether to become a cult hit, but its impact continues to be felt today. If Jared Hess' magnum opus had never come into being, there might be a whole generation of children who don't understand the sweet bliss that is a pocket full of tots, the strange and magical creature that is the liger, and/or the dating edge that comes with having "nunchuck" skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills, et al. 

The film's oddball characters (you may not recognize what the cast looks like today), zany set pieces, and farm-town setting all combined to make it required viewing for indie geeks, weirdos, and comedy nerds alike. But it was the performance of Jon Heder as the titular hero — zero might be the better word — that gave it true staying power. Napoleon is a loner and a rebel, like Pee-wee on his "Big Adventure," whose total lack of style, charisma, and social grace somehow imbues him with a flair all his own. Without the affable Heder lending his own skills and unique look to the role, though, it may not have worked. 

Since playing Napoleon, Heder has continued to bring those attributes to a variety of roles. Here's what the actor has been up to...

From Napoleon Dynamite to Tremors: Shrieker Island

In the years immediately following the 2004 release of "Napoleon Dynamite," Jon Heder went to the same wacky well a handful of times. In "Just Like Heaven," "The Benchwarmers," and "School for Scoundrels," he may as well have still been rocking Napoleon's sweet perm and "Vote for Pedro" ringer tee. He was similarly awkward and often just as endearing in his role as a champion figure skater opposite Will Ferrell in "Blades of Glory." 

After that Napoleon glow began to dim somewhat, Heder hit a sweet spot providing the voice to some memorable cartoon characters. He voiced Chicken Joe in 2007's "Surf's Up," then returned to the role again 10 years later in "Surf's Up 2: WaveMania." Heder even voiced Napoleon in a short-lived animated series for Fox. These are but a few of his credits though; Heder has been working nonstop on various film and television productions for the better part of two decades now.

Although he has multiple projects on tap, audiences saw him most recently in 2020's "Tremors: Shrieker Island," the seventh installment of the "Tremors" series. In the film, he plays Jimmy, a member of a research team who, alongside series mainstay Burt Gummer (Michael Gross), finds himself in the role of reluctant hero when the Graboids shake the earth once more. Shades of Napoleon still linger, but there's at least one major difference in "Shrieker Island" — this time Heder has a beard!