Jon Heder was only paid $1,000 for Napoleon Dynamite

Gregory Robinson

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Jon Heder was only paid $1,000 for Napoleon Dynamite

Featured Image Credit: WENN Rights Ltd / Maximum Film / Alamy Stock Photo

Napoleon Dynamite star Jon Heder has revealed he was given a shockingly low pay cheque for his role in the film.

The off-beat 2004 comedy has become a cult classic in the years since it was released. However, the indie film is quite the underdog, after being made on a minimal budget of only $400,000.

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The finished product is an endearing tale about awkward teens in Idaho and not only did it gross a whopping $46.1 million at the box office, it launched Heder’s career as an actor.

Which is why looking back at Heder’s initial payment of only $1,000 (£840.68) is all the more shocking. Making a movie on a tight budget means there will be sacrifices, it seems.

You will be shocked by Heder's pay cheque. Credit: Paramount Pictures
You will be shocked by Heder's pay cheque. Credit: Paramount Pictures

Thankfully, the Blades of Glory star was able to make it work. Although it is unclear where the original figure was reported, the 45-year-old has since confirmed it’s true.

Speaking to Stuff about his ‘dynamite’ career, Heder confirmed he was paid only $1,000 ‘initially’.

As we all know, Napoleon Dynamite is firmly cemented in pop culture and has clearly raked in millions since it was unleashed into the universe, Heder was able to renegotiate his deal and got a cut of the profits.

To quote Kim Kardashian, “It’s what he deserves.” *cheeky smile*

And let's be honest, we can't imagine anyone else as Napoleon.

Heder explained: “They went a little bit higher.”

Napoleon and Pedro aka the ultimate besties. Credit: Paramount Pictures
Napoleon and Pedro aka the ultimate besties. Credit: Paramount Pictures

Just in case you haven’t seen the film – seriously, where have you been? – Napoleon Dynamite is about the titular nerdy high school student who wants to be class president.

Played to perfection by Colorado native Heder, Napoleon lives in an odd town with a quirky family and he befriends an equally slow-talking teen named Pedro (played spectacularly by Efren Ramirez).

The film was co-written by Jared Hess and Jerusha Hess and was based on a 2001 short film, Peluca. Hess produced the short for an assignment while attending Brigham Young University with Heder in 2002.

Heder discussed the possibility of a sequel during a virtual Wizard World panel with co-stars Ramirez and Diedrich Bader, where he explained Napoleon Dynamite 2 could follow the star into a ‘raw and edgy’ future.

"I would come back if Jared decided, ‘Hey, let’s go ahead, and let’s see if we can pull off the magic.’

"We’ve thought about it. We’re always playing with the idea.

I know I’ve talked a little bit with Jared, and it’s his baby, so I’m just like, ‘You pull the trigger on that."

Should Napoleon come back for another term?

Topics: Film & TV, Film and TV, Celebrity

Gregory Robinson
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