Fans of Napoleon Dynamite pack stands for stars

Jon Heder (left) and Aaron Ruell take time to autograph a poster for a fan after the program and question and answer session Aug. 26.

Jon Heder (left) and Aaron Ruell take time to autograph a poster for a fan after the program and question and answer session Aug. 26.

T.J. Gerlach

Two of Hollywood’s newest stars made a Dynamite appearance Aug. 26.

Jon Heder and Aaron Ruell, who played Napoleon and Kip Dynamite, respectively, spoke to students and members of the community in Taylor Auditorium. The evening was spent with Hector Amaya, sophomore political science major, asking the pair questions.

Heder and Ruell also showed a slideshow with behind-the-scenes photos of the movie. The night ended with an audience question-and-answer session.

This was the second tour for both, but Heder was alone on the first and Ruell toured with Efren Ramirez, who played Pedro in the movie.

“It’s cool to meet the fans,” Ruell said.

Heder said it is interesting to see how widespread the movie has become.

“It still interesting to see places like Joplin,” he said. “Anytime you have to drive two hours from the airport then it’s very interesting. It just reminds you that the movie has been everywhere.”

Both Heder and Ruell said their newfound celebrity has been difficult to adjust to.

“People have asked me to come dance like at wedding receptions,” Heder said.

He also said during his first tour, he received numerous drug offers.

Ruell said he has been asked to sing at wedding receptions in distant countries.

“I think one of the weirdest things for me was on the first tour,” Ruell said.

“It was one of the first nights, I was signing stuff and people would leave me little notes. And I wasn’t really paying attention to it, and at the end of the night I put them in my pocket. The next morning I was checking out of my hotel, and I was emptying out pockets, and I pull out these notes. And they’re all like total sexual offers with phone numbers.”

Ruell said that happened every other night on his first tour.

“I think the weirdest thing of all this is that we have action figures coming out of ourselves,” he said.

Heder said he thought it was “pretty cool” for such a small movie to become a cultural icon, especially in the eyes of MTV.

“That was actually one of the coolest things [winning an MTV Movie Award],” he said. “I mean we all just kind of joked, ‘Oh, MTV, it’s not an Oscar,’ but honestly we sat back and thought about it and for such a low-budget, independent movie to go on to win Best Movie at MTV, that’s a huge feat I think.”

Since the movie’s release, Heder and Ruell have been touring the country as well as looking for more jobs in the film industry.

Ruell has been writing, directing and acting.

Heder has several films in post-production and has a small role in the upcoming release Just Like Heaven.

Heder said about the only advice he gives to people is to be true to themselves.

“Celebrate who you are and really grasp it,” he said. “If you really want to express yourself, just find what makes you.”