Here’s What The Cast Of ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ Is Doing These Days
What’s your favorite cult classic in cinema? That one movie that you absolutely adore and have seen countless times and quote it nonstop with all of your friends, but really only became popular after it was out of the theaters. Like an inside joke that the masses didn’t get in on until much later, but hey, better late than never, right? There’s something truly special about a great cult film. They can become much better when they aren’t popular in the mainstream.
Just look at the later success of movies like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the so terrible it’s amazing brilliance of The Room. In cities all across America to this very day these films are played at midnight to huge crowds of adoring fans speaking and singing along with every line. But if you want to talk about cult films that are insanely quotable and super re-watchable, then we have to talk about a particular movie that came out over 15 years ago now…
Wanna feel old? Napoleon Dynamite came out in 2004, which means it’s now over 15 years old.
Kids that were born in the year this cult classic about nerdy kids in high school came out are now old enough to be nerdy kids in high school.
While the memories and laughs from this film have held up and will for a long time to come, have you ever wondered what became of all the actors in the movie since it came out? Let’s see!
We can’t talk about the movie Napoleon Dynamite without talking about its iconic titular character.
This quirky llama-feeding high schooler who enjoys eating tots, drawing “ligers” and perfecting his “skills” (with nunchucks, computer-hacking, and whatever else it takes to get a girlfriend) seems weird at first glance.
That’s because… he is weird. But that kind of weird that grows on you over time. And after 15 years, he’s grown on all of us and in our hearts. Gosh… that’s pretty sweet.
Napoleon Dynamite himself was played by actor Jon Heder. It’s a bit strange seeing him in the real world and not as the nerdy (but awesome) dork that made him a star.
He’s actually pretty darn handsome in real life. So what’s he been up to for the past decade and a half?
Heder went on to star in Benchwarmers and Blades of Glory. More recently, he lent his voice to Pickle in the animated series Pickle and Peanut. He’s been married since 2002 to Kristen Heder, and they have four children.
Remember the mid-2000s when you couldn’t go anywhere in public without seeing a “Vote For Pedro” shirt?
As popular as Napoleon was, this may have been the part of this cult film that came the closest to breaking through to mainstream society.
That of course is thanks to Napoleon’s best friend who ran for (and won) student body president, Pedro. He started off as incredibly shy and awkward, but wound up incredibly ambitious… and still awkward. So who’s the actor behind the role?
Pedro was played by actor Efren Ramírez. As you can see, like Jon Heder, he’s way hotter in real life than the nerdy high schooler he played.
It’s almost like these actors are great at acting or something. Crazy, right?
Ramírez went on to land the role of Catuey in the TV series Eastbound & Down and to act alongside Will Ferrell in 2012’s Casa de mi Padre. More recently, he played Felipe Guillermo Usted in the 2019 series Perpetual Grace, LTD. His film Brothers of Justice is currently in pre-production.
This wasn’t just a movie about dorks acting like dorks and saying instantly hilarious and quotable one-liners.
This film had heart and was a coming of age tale. And what coming of age tale would be complete without an awkward, bumbling but ultimately sweet romance?
Ah, Deb. She was the cutest, wasn’t she? She wasn’t into Napoleon for his sweet “skills” (because, honestly, who could be?), she was just the entrepreneurial girl next door, who was there all along.
Deb was played by Tina Majorino, and can we just say… whoa. She can totally drink whole milk if she wants to.
Majorino was acting long before she got cast in Napoleon Dynamite. She was a child star who got her big break with 1994’s Andre.
She then shifted to the small screen after her role in the N.D., most notably as Cindy ‘Mac’ Mackenzie in Veronica Mars and Heather Tuttle in Big Love. She also played Dr. Heather Brooks in Grey’s Anatomy and starred in Pink’s “F— Perfect” music video in 2011.
A person like Napoleon Dynamite doesn’t happen if you come from a well-adjusted family with a normal family life.
Napoleon’s weird family was part of his charm. He wasn’t on his own, and was looked after by his morally-ambiguous Uncle Rico.
He took over the lives of Napoleon and his brother Kip with his footballs and time-machine dreams after their grandma was injured in an ATV accident. Imagine reading that sentence if you’ve never seen the movie before. This was so ridiculous but made so much sense at the same time while watching it.
Uncle Rico was expertly portrayed by Jon Gries. Of all the actors we’ve seen so far, he looks the most like his character.
Well… except for the hair. Was that a hairpiece or did he just have more? It has been a long time since the film came out after all.
Gries had previosly starred in a number of films, including Men in Black, and went on to play Roger Linus in Lost and more recently Dr. Roberts in Dream Corp LLC. He currently has two movies in pre-production.
You know how sometimes geeky younger brothers get bullied by their much cooler, more athletic older brothers?
Well, Napoleon’s older brother Kip definitely wasn’t cooler, and Uncle Rico was the only person that could be considered athletic among this bunch.
But he did bully and torment his younger sibling in his own ways. He always went out of his way to try and make his lil’ bro jealous of his skills when it came to chatting up “babes” online. Obviously… just look at that face. Screams chick magnet, right?
Okay, this is undoubtedly the biggest glow up yet. That actually is a face that could score a bunch of babes, online or IRL.
After his scene-stealing role as Kip, Ruell focused on behind-the-camera work. He was a great actor, but became a writer and director.
He actually wrote and directed 2005’s Everything’s Gone Green. He then went into the world of voice acting. He lent his voice to 2012’s Napoleon Dynamite series and returned to acting in the 2017 mini-series Fathers Support Group.
As inexplicably confident (and let’s be honest, delusional) Kip was despite looking like that instead of how his hot actor looked, he did find a babe online.
Lafawnduh was the one “babe” Kip met online who decided to meet with him in real life.
And then they promptly tied the knot. Even in a movie as strange as this, it shows love can be stranger still. As an added plus, their interaction launched a thousand gifs before gifs were even a thing!
Wow! After 180 months (that’s 12 months times 15 years… yup, we did the math), the actress behind Lafawnduh looks exactly the same.
And the actress behind Lafawnduh is Shrondrella Avery. Avery continued to act, taking up the role of Candy Taylor in the TV series One on One.
She went on to reprise this role for Cuts a few years later. She’s since appeared in 2016’s Boy Bye and several TV movies. She’s busy to this day, as she will be in the movie Abigail that is currently in pre-production.
We saved our favorite character for last. Grandma Dynamite was the best, wasn’t she?
How could you not fall in love with this sassy, fun-loving matriarch of the family? She even had a pet llama. This is the reason we all love llamas to this day.
And beside being cool, she also knew how to parent when she needed to, telling Napoleon to fix his own dang quesadillas. Teaching your boy self-reliance? Dang, yeah that’s how you do the grandma thing right.
Actress Sandy Martin forever imprinted herself into our hearts all those years ago in Napoleon Dynamite.
She could have retired then and we would have loved her forever, but she’s kept active. Since then, Martin has reunited with her costar Majorino for the TV series Big Love.
She also made a notable appearance as Mac’s mom in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. She also acts in films, including Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and contributed voice work to Dumbo. What do we want to be when we grow up? Sandy Martin.