'Napoleon Dynamite' cast gets animated on Fox
January 11th, 2012
09:35 AM ET

'Napoleon Dynamite' cast gets animated on Fox

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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soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Watch Napoleon Dynamite Online

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    April 6, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dark Shadows

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    March 19, 2012 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  3. dark shadows

    You are so interesting! I don't think I have read anything like this before. So nice to find another person with a few genuine thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

    March 19, 2012 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. Icarus Arts

    This seems about a decade late, but I love the original film and the talent involved, so I'll watch. CNN: That video was terrible. Let me know if you need a new videographer. Hint: you do.

    January 29, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. DKS

    That was the worst piece of journalism I've ever seen. Did an 8 year old do that on his flip phone? Wow CNN, nicely done.

    January 13, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. JMK

    so psyched for this show!!!

    January 13, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bocephus

    Hey Mimi, get bent and take that recruiting somewhere else.

    January 12, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mimi

    Hi Girls and Boys. If you ever feel like you need to talk to some1, need advice or just need to vent. Relationship issues, family issues, work, school ... Whatever bother you tell Mimi on Facebook "ONE LOVE" request to be added and you will. There will be girls and boys from all over the world. No matter what is your gender, skin color, or religion you are welcome. As long as you do not insult each other. This project was just created, it is 100% free and I do it to help people who sometimes struggle with life and even the ones who struggle in silence.
    Mimi is here.

    January 12, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bocephus

    Really looking forward to this show. I loved the movie when it came out, love it now. People who didnt think it was funny have no sense of humor. This will be an awesome show. Whoever doesnt think so, youre a moron, get over it.

    January 12, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Fred

    The movie was creepy, and the cartoon promises creepier. I shall not indulge.

    January 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jack

    So it's before LaFawnduh but we have Pedro? They've restricted themselves to only being able to play out things that can fit in between the action of the original movie.

    I enjoyed the movie, but I just don't see the point of making an animated series at this point. I'm afraid we'll see something like the long-delayed Spaceballs cartoon, trying to rehash all the same jokes after the audience has forgotten them.

    January 12, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ElKai0

    Pft, this show is going to be retarded. Where the hell is Bob's Burgers? They put that POS "Allen Gregory" Crap on and now this. Bobs Burgers was Hi-larious. Fox just has no idea how to program a network or market shows and never has. Case and point: Family guy, they moved it around their schedule so much no one knew when the hell it was one, plus they put the entire bulk of the advertising load on Stewie who was barely a character and more of a gimmick when the show came out.

    January 12, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. matt

    If the show came out a year after the movie debut I think it would have been a hit for a few seasons. 8 years later? yeah, it's going to be like the caveman show...remember geico?

    January 12, 2012 at 5:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. Steve-OB

    Hopefully this will be shown via the internet so we don't have to watch it on lame as-s conventional outdated TV. I can't wait to see it.

    January 11, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mark

    Waaay too late. I'd sooner watch a Married With Children cartoon. And no LaFawnduh? Fail.Kip wasn't a stud until LaFawnduh showered him with brown sugar and showed him the ways of bling.

    January 11, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  16. hsuegroj

    There is a video game of Napoleon Dynamite that came out not too long ago that I got and is pretty good. . I think Amazon.com still has it.

    January 11, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Winston5

    Anything, anything at all...just not "American Dad". Please, god?

    January 11, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  18. whatever

    Another cartoon for adults. What a surprise.

    January 11, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Stormer

    Watched to movie when it came out. Enjoyed it. Re-watched it a few weeks ago, it's lost some of it's sparkle, but still ok. Saw preview after sneak preview, trailer after trailer of the animated show. Not worth TiVo-ing if only to delete without watching.

    January 11, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  20. David, CA

    "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,"

    Yeah- it seemed like it would translate so well that it took them 8 years to get around to it. Bottom of the barrel much FOX?

    January 11, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Jean

    I found the movie to be first sad and then boring. The last fifteen minutes is the only part that interested me. Vote for Pedro though!

    January 11, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  22. David, CA

    Little Ricky Santorum? Is that you?

    January 11, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Gauntletwielder

    Great....just what the world needs...more proof that Americans are leading the march to a future that gets increasingly ignorant every day. A movie so popular they decided to make it a cartoon EIGHT years later. Napoleon Dynamite makes any Pauly Shore movie look like an Oscar winner.

    January 11, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  24. David, CA

    This might have been funny if it was done in 2005. It's 8 years later and ND and all the catch phrases and funny parts of the movie seem horribly dated.

    January 11, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Rick

    Most of the people who liked Napoleon Dynamite are now 7 years older and realizing how everything in that movie besides the "Vote for Pedro" scene was boring.

    January 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Anomic Office Drone

    I'd knock them for bringing back something so dated, but NBC just launched a series based on The Firm. Regardless, I won't be watching. The movie was garbage. The cartoon will be that water that leaks out of trash bags after rain on a hot, humid day.

    January 11, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  27. C

    It couldn't be any worse than the crap that MacFarlane makes.

    January 11, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Alex

    I make fun of myself, and even I think it's the stupidest idea. The movie was just so freaking boring. I have a very wide sense of humor..but I just don't see how the movie and even the series will do well. That's just me though.

    January 11, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Leo

    Mommy and Daddy never did give you must attention, amirite? Loser.

    January 11, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  30. xtx89

    The humor in Napoleon Dynamite is a bit too intelligent for its elderly detractors. Hands down, one of the all-time classic comedies of my generation.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • dogface

      Whatta ya mean, ELDERLY detractors??? Generalize much? I'm pushing 60, and I'd still vote for Pedro!

      January 11, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • david, CA

      It was funny when it came out- now it's just dated. It's like listening to people say one liners from office space 100 times. It was mildly amusing the first time....now? Not so much.

      January 11, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  31. The Question

    At least its not another stupid Mcfarlane show...

    January 11, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Answer

      Seth is hands down , the funniest writer to come down the pike in 15 years. Proof ? His shows only get funnier with age as exemplified by the fact Family Guy was restored years after being cancelled. Is it our fault you don't get his many references ?

      January 13, 2012 at 5:43 am | Report abuse |
  32. @monkeymix

    🙂 Right 🙂

    January 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Sid

    Get rid of Allen Gregory! Thank you

    January 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Superhiro

      It's already gone.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • David, CA

      God did Allen Gregory svck so bad. What were they doing?! It was annoying x 1000000 and I don't think I laughed once. Bring back Bob's Burgers. It was great in a demented, funny way and had great characters.

      January 11, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • mplaya

      Allan Gregory was bizzare. Now Bob's Burgers...THAT'S a funny show
      .....this is where I thrash....... 🙂

      January 12, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  34. shacks

    I thought the movie was pretty horrible but i guess its what the majority wants....

    January 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Eddie O.

    Stupid @ss piece of cr@p show. FOX has hit an all time low. What's next?...animated series about Kardashian @nal leakage?

    January 11, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  36. rad666

    Just watched the dvd about a week ago. VOTE FOR PEDRO.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  37. J

    Not gonna watch this either. What's wrong w/ cartoons nowadays? They are not funny at all.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Guy Smilie

    Jeezus... Did only one person hand-draw and film each animated cell or what? About 5 years too late.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Eric

    @wow: "By the way, one of the funniest movie scenes ever..."

    The movie had funny scenes? We must've been watching a different movie.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  40. technology68@yahoo.com

    This show was a little funny but a bit slow. We are all human and go through things.

    January 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Christopher

    "Napolean Dynamite gets animated".


    January 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  42. wow

    I believe a person needs to be able to make fun of themselves in order enjoy the movie Napoleon Dynamite (which I am and I loved the movie). I am quite certain the character of Deb was based upon me when I was in high school – side ponytail and all. I am still debating a law suit.

    By the way, one of the funniest movie scenes ever has to be the farmer with the shotgun to the cow's head, while the actual "murder" cannot be seen by the viewer as the a school bus full of children comes in and blocks the view of the farmer/cow. Only the gunshot is heard followed by the reaction of the children on the school bus.

    As for the cartoon, I cannot comment as I have a horrible track record for predicting which shows will make it (example: My So Called Life) and which shows will not (example: The Bachelor).

    And also, Vote for Pedro.

    January 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  43. truefax

    if you insist but it's gonna hurt.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  44. flashtrum

    "...don't get it....aweful..." it was a hit with younger viewers. My kids (11 and 5 at the time) loved it. It is a different kind of humor, but I liked it, too. I think it will do ok – but for how long? Fox certainly stuck with "The Cleveland Show" long enough. Good lord was that a bad idea.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • DE

      I'd take "The Cleveland Show" over "The Simpsons" of the last 14 years ANY DAY!

      January 11, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Snarky

    Yawn. This'll vanish faster than Jonah Hill's garbage show.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  46. M

    Awful movie. Die already.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  47. John

    Kind of late for this.... The Vegas Line is 5 shows, im taking the under

    January 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  48. scott

    I don't see the point.

    January 11, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  49. Kevin

    Yes Firsty a liger is a lion tiger mix and it is real. Anyways I hated the movie. Couldn't imagine the show being any better.

    January 11, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  50. Emma

    The animation looks like a rip off of Beavis & Butthead and King of the Hill.

    In fact, in the picture above, the guy pointing at Napolean Dynomite is almost an exact replica of the weight lifting guy that moved in next door to Hank Hill and voiced by the guy that used to be on the Drew Carey Show.

    January 11, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • be quiet

      There's a good reason for that. The guy who used to be on the Drew Carey show is Diedrich Bader, who was also in the film Napoleon Dynamite.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • rad666

      Diedrich Bader -– And the neighbor in Office Space.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emma

      Cool, thanks for the info. I watched Nap Dyno a long time ago and didn't remember Bader being in it (it's not one of the most memorable movies to me).

      However, that still doesn't explain why the animation is a rip off of King of the Hill. At first I thought Mike Judge was behind this, but I don't see that written anywhere.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Camber Blonson

    I can't see how this show will be any good.

    On a positive note it can't be worse than The Cleveland Show.

    January 11, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  52. Sokman

    Don't blame me for this economy, I voted for Pedro

    January 11, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  53. Jackson

    Make sure and see all 5 episodes before it disappears.

    January 11, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • SunnyD

      Agreed...sometimes I just can't understand who decides what gets the nod to be put on television. I will admit the movie was entertaining and I'm not going to bash it. But the fact that a "cult" following made of folks saying the things I see here was enough to get a show...really? It is Fox though, the SImpsons, Family Guy and American Dad have long "jumped the shark". Since 24 left Fox I haven't needed to turn to that station unless it was Sunday and a football gmae was on (or MLB playoffs).

      January 12, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  54. ED

    You eat dooodooo you tuuurd nockerson.

    January 11, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  55. &marsha98

    I hope old people dont watch this shoe. It might give them ideas. PS T-Rex eats dooodoooo.

    January 11, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  56. firsty

    Okay-secondy. Dam u nellie ! *just fooling*

    January 11, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  57. firsty

    Liger ? Is that a lion tiger mix ? I have a bull shyt mix.lol

    January 11, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  58. Nellie Bly

    My favorite character was LaFawnduh. Perhaps it was because she was (gulp) - from out of state but she seemed like the only person who had a real clue.

    January 11, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |

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