You’re probably wondering-didn’t you already post this? Three times? And, yes, I did. But there was something interesting about Heder’s career that I felt I should include so I decided to post this blog. I promise though-this is the last time I’m going to update this blog! Or at least re-post it. Anyway, let’s get on with it!
At one point, Jon Heder starred in an independent movie that more or less became a phenomenon called Napoleon Dynamite. Everyone was quoting it and it spawned catchphrases like â€œgoshâ€ and â€œligerâ€ and their was a lot of merchandise that spawned off from it. The popularity of the movie made it seem like he was going to be a really popular comedic actor and he even ended up doing movies with the likes of the director of The Hangover and Will Ferrell. Recently heÊ¼s made three animated movies that went direct to red box. What the hell happened?
Jon Heder was born on October 26th, 1977 in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. He was raised to be a mormon and even did some missionary work with his church. He also did a commercial for the missionary organization he worked for:
He also got a gig having his picture used for the Quip It! Board Game cover. However he really started his film career in 2000 by doing some short films like The Wrong Brother and Funky Town. One of these shorts films, though, led to Napoleon Dynamite.
In 2003, he starred in a short film called Peluca which ended up getting remade as Napoleon Dynamite. Now do I really need to explain what happened to Napoleon Dynamite? Okay…it ended up getting positive reviews and became a sleeper hit and also became a very popular movie. You could pretty much go much nowhere without people quoting stuff like “Vote for Pedro” and “Gosh” for a few years. Granted, that all ended by 2006 but still, for a certain time, it was huge and led to Jon and the director, Jared, getting many offers out of it!
Jon’s follow up film, Just Like Heaven, wasn’t quite as successful though. It got mixed to positive reviews but was ignored at the box office.
He ended up following that up with The Benchwarmers. That movie, like all Happy Madison movies, got negative reviews but it did okay at the box office. However it did cause people to worry that Jon was a one trick pony as, like Napoleon Dynamite, he was playing a nerd.
He also played a nerd in his next movie, School for Scoundrels, which also got negative reviews and, unlike Benchwarmers, didn’t do well at the box office.
He then rounded off 2006 with a voice over role in Monster House and a cameo in the indie film, The Sasquatch Gang. Monster House got positive reviews from critics but was ignored at the box office. However JonÊ¼s part was so small that it wouldnÊ¼t have any effect on his career.
But it seemed like things were turning around for Jon in 2007. In 2007, he starred with Will Ferrell in Blades of Glory which got positive reviews and did well at the box office.
Then he followed it up with another animated film called SurfÊ¼s Up. Like Monster House, the movie got positive reviews but bombed at the box office. Also, while he had a bigger role than he did in Monster House, he still wasnÊ¼t the star of the movie so it probably wouldnÊ¼t have any effect on his career. Not to mention that most of the time animated movies donÊ¼t usually effect actorÊ¼s careers anyway.
Then came MamaÊ¼s Boy. Jon Heder went back to Independent Films with MamaÊ¼s Boy. The movie was released to a select amount of theaters and bombed with critics but did okay by independent film standards.
And then his career started getting weird…
In 2008 he did mostly TV work. He did a guest spot on My Name is Earl. Then he did a Christmas commercial for MacyÊ¼s with Janelle Monae.
It got even weirder from there. In 2009, he started appearing in a web series called Woke Up Dead.
LetÊ¼s get this straight-he went from being a potential A-lister to doing a web series. Now donÊ¼t get me wrong, web series are great and IÊ¼d gladly do one (hell IÊ¼ve done a lot of them), but for someone who was at one point pretty much a movie star, that sounds rather rough. IÊ¼m sorry but it does! I mean if you got your start on a web series and ended up becoming a movie star, I wouldnÊ¼t find it weird if you were a movie star and did web series but the other way around? ThatÊ¼s kinda strange…
However he did return to the big screen in 2010 with the Kristin Bell romantic comedy, When in Rome. When in Rome was a romantic comedy starring Kristin Bell as a girl who wishes to find her one true love as she flips a coin into a wishing fountain. This somehow causes many men to fall in love with her, thinking sheÊ¼s their one true love. Jon Heder is one of the men, playing a Cris Angel-esque magician who falls for Kristin. The movie, like most romantic comedies starring Kristin Bell (or most romantic comedies in general), received terrible reviews from critics. However I canÊ¼t find if it bombed or not online. I know it made about $43 million altogether when you consider national costs and worldwide costs but I canÊ¼t find what the budget of the movie was. Not even Box Office Mojo has the budget nor does Wikipedia!
But their was something that happened in HederÊ¼s life around this time that was very interesting. During this time, Heder was cast in a sitcom produced by Will Ferrell about a financial whiz kid who lost his job and was forced to move back with his parents. But before production could begin, Jon Heder ended up dropping out of the sitcom because apparently his idea of what the character was like didnÊ¼t match up with WillÊ¼s. After dropping out, they must not have found another actor to take his place because the show was never made.
During that same year, Jon also appeared on yet another web series, FCU: Fact Checkers Unit.
In 2011, he also took on a role in, guess what, another web series called Dead Grandma.
He also did a movie at the time, though, having a cameo role in the independent film, Life Happens.
That same year he also did a video for Will Ferrell called How Will Ferrell Touched Me. I guess their on good terms still after all!
Then, in 2012, he got another stab at leading a TV series. Twice. First he starred in a TV pilot called Gulliver Quinn that was never released and never become a series. But hereÊ¼s some proof it exists:
Then he reprised his role as Napoleon Dynamite in an animated version of the spin-off show. Unfortunately for him and Jared Hess, Napoleon DynamiteÊ¼s popularity had died down a bit by 2012 so it ended up getting kicked off the air after 6 episodes due to low ratings because, well, no one was interested!
Around 2012, he also did guest spots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Soup, Conan, The Jace Hall Show, The Aquabats Super Show, and Comedy Bang! Bang!
He also had a supporting part in another independent movie called For Ellen. Plus he did two short films-Peter at the end and All Star Bowling Trick Shots.
He also produced a short film called Drained during 2012. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
The last thing he did that year was provide a voice for the video game, Epic Mickey 2.
Then comes 2013-the year where his career headed to Direct-to-DVD land. He did three Direct-to-DVD movies that year. One was The Legend of the Kung Fu Rabbit, a movie thatÊ¼s pretty much infamous for being a Kung Fu Panda rip-off. They even rip it off in the trailer!:
However the movie was originally a korean movie and he pretty much just dubbed over the main character. If you see the trailer, notice how he doesnÊ¼t use his regular voice. I get the feeling he wanted to hide the fact that he was in the movie.
He also dubbed over another Korean animated movie that went straight to DVD in the U.S., a korean film called Pororo, The Racing Adventure, based off of a popular cartoon character from Korea. In this film, he ended up re-uniting with his Benchwarmers co-star, Rob Schneider.
Then he did yet another animated straight to DVD film, this time one made in America called A Monsterous Holiday. Believe it or not, I actually found out about itÊ¼s existence not from doing research for this article but because I saw the name on a TV guide. If theirÊ¼s one thing to note here, though, is that the movie re-united him with his Pororo co-star, Drake Bell.
Now I don’t know if you noticed but most of these movies were animated. Well he’s continued doing a lot of voice work in 2014 as, this year, he has done voice work on Clarence, Ben 10: Omniverse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Uncle Grandpa, and The Legend of Korra. He also is set to do some more voice work in video games and T.V. series in the future, including the lead role as a talking pickle in a Disney XD cartoon called Pickle & Peanut.
However heÊ¼s also got a lot of live-action movies in production. However, their movies youÊ¼ve probably never heard of and, considering the state his career is in now, will most likely only get a limited release or will go straight to DVD. Some of them are also short films. Yet the only one that pops out is Walt Before Disney, because itÊ¼s literally an independent movie that focuses on the early years of Walt DisneyÊ¼s career. Also, believe it or not, heÊ¼s actually going to play Roy Disney. To be honest, he seems like kind of a weird choice for the role but, who knows, he may surprise us…
So what the hell happened? Well, in an interview where he was promoting the Napoleon Dynamite cartoon, he said that he was given a lot of scripts and turned them down because he felt they were too raunchy, which he didn’t like because he felt it went against his mormon faith. Also, he apparently did film one movie (he didn’t say which) where he actually interrupted the shoot and forced the director to re-do the scene because he wasn’t comfortable with how raunchy it was. So I think what happened was that his refusal to do “raunchy movies” made him come off as rather difficult to people (especially if he interrupted the shoot of a movie to make sure it was less raunchy) and, therefore, made less people want to hire him.
What also could’ve happened is that, because he didn’t like the scripts Hollywood was giving him, he decided to go back to smaller, independent films that weren’t “so raunchy”.
Studios might have also feared that he was becoming less profitable due to the backlash he recieved around the time he was popular in Hollywood. Like I said earlier, back when he was a big star, a lot of people complained that he was playing the same character over and over again. The studios mightÊ¼ve seen this complaint and were afraid to hire him because they thought, seeing as he was losing popularity with audiences, they were afraid his presence would cause the movie to bomb.
Another thing that could’ve factored into his star derailing, so to speak, though was that his daughter was born in 2007-he might’ve taken on roles in smaller films so he could have more time to spend with his daughter because he wouldn’t have to promote an independent movie as much as he would a big Hollywood picture and, therefore, he would have more time with his daughter.
But, even though he may not be a movie star anymore, he does seem to be doing well for himself in a new career as both a professional voice actor and an indie actor, as he does seem to be getting a lot of work in both independent films and doing voice work on television. So, while he may not have become an A-lister, he seems to be doing just fine…