Before They Were Stars: Jon Heder in Jared Hess’ “Peluca”

In 2004, Jared Hess directed a comedy called Napoleon Dynamite, which became one of the most unlikely cult hits of all time and turned its lead actor, Jon Heder, into an equally unlikely star. The title character had actually originated a year beforehand in a 9-minute black-and-white short called Peluca, shot by Jared Hess in two days on a budget of $500. Peluca is virtually plotless and just showcases a bunch of random events involving an obnoxious nerd played by Heder. Of course, he looks and sounds exactly like Napoleon Dynamite, but here, he is simply named Seth. Like in Napoleon Dynamite, Seth has a friend named Pedro, but he’s actually something of a badass. Seth’s other friend here, Giel, actually serves as the model for what Pedro would be like in the feature film.

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