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South Texas Living


Jon Heder of ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ on Fox

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February 29, 2012
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Q: When did you know you wanted to be an actor?

A: In college. I studied film in college, and before that I liked making videos with my brother. I was really into filmmaking and wanted to get into the business somehow. In college while studying film and animation, I started acting on the side. People started putting me in their student films, and I (thought) I like this, and this was fun so I will keep auditioning for student films and plays. I really enjoy this, but I was never quite sure what I was going to do as my main focus. And after “Napoleon” happened and the roller-coaster ride that was, I was just finishing college, and that kind of got me into deciding and led to this.

Q: What was your first time onstage?

A: I was 10, with my brother, and we played swindlers in “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” It was the first year kids in CET (Children’s Educational Theater). It was back in the ’90s. We wore bright turquoise, bright yellow outfits. This was in Salem, Ore., where I grew up. Next year was our main theatrical debut. We did “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” We were cast as Oompa-Loompas -- as rapper Oompa-Loompas. We had bright pink hair and outfits, and we rapped.

Q: What actors and directors inspire you?

A: I love Jeff Bridges. I have always loved his work. Director Christopher Nolan is rad, of course. I grew up thinking Steven Spielberg is amazing, and more recent people like Peter Jackson. Alexander Payne is wonderful. Darren Aronofsky, the Coen brothers are, of course, so fascinating. I loved Woody Allen all through college.

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