January 11th, 2012
09:35 AM ET
When the low-budget comedy "Napoleon Dynamite" was released in 2004, few could have predicted it would end up as an animated series on Fox.
But then the movie became a bona fide phenomenon, and here we are, seven years later, with the show set to premiere on Sunday night after "The Simpsons."
"We’d always felt if we ever continued the adventures of Napoleon that we would do it in animated form just because it seemed like the film would translate well into animation," said the film's director (and show's executive producer) Jared Hess, when speaking to reporters last month. "It was a way that we could get inside Napoleon’s head as well, but we’ve just had a lot of fun re-exploring his world."
Many movies have been adapted for the small screen, but it's difficult to remember any that reunited the original film's entire cast the way that "Napoleon Dynamite" has.
"It was a lot of fun because most of us hadn’t seen each other since it played up at Sundance when we first screened it," said Hess. "Most of us hadn’t had consistent contact throughout the years that have passed, but everybody was such a delight to work with on the film and it’s continued on the series."
When "Napoleon" himself, Jon Heder, was asked how difficult it was to get back into character, he responded in the trademark voice, "It was pretty easy."
As Heder explained, "It’s when I’m most relaxed. You can hide behind your eyelids and you just kind of rest your voice. He doesn’t have to scream that much...For the lead character in an ongoing animated series, I’ve had to show way more emotional range in this role than I ever have in anything else I’ve done. I’ve had to explore all the different sides to Napoleon that I never knew were there."
As for another favorite member of the "Dynamite" clan, executive producer Mike Scully ("The Simpsons") promises that this show takes place before Kip found happiness with LaFawndah: "You don’t want a stud like Kip Dynamite tied down to one woman."
Napoleon may be animated, but as Scully pointed out, "I think Napoleon at his core is definitely the same person, but we are able to see him in so many more varied situations, and just aspects of the character that we never really got a chance to see in the film."
For example, in one episode, Napoleon ends up at a liger breeding facility.
But there will be at least one brand new obsession for him, according to Scully: "We don’t talk about ninjas a lot in the movie, but in the TV show, of course, there will be ninja stuff. It will be awesome."
While you're waiting for the show to premiere Sunday, check out iReporter Cherry Davis' video - she caught up with the cast at an event in Los Angeles last week:
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