Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q. Is it true your regard the role of Napoleon as the
role of a lifetime?
A: Well, yeah. I guess in a lot of different ways. It’s
the first feature film I’ve done and it may be the role
of my lifetime, as I have to accept the fact that I may be known
as the guy who plays Napoleon - if it becomes bigger than just
a novelty. It’s the role of a lifetime because I don’t
know if I’ll ever be able to top that kind of character
or if another writer or director will come to me with another
character that is just as memorable as Napoleon.
Q. How did you go about creating him – did you
study how teenage kids react etc?
A. It was just memory observations. When I was in High
School I wasn’t taking notes. I drew a lot of inspiration
from my younger brothers - especially how he talks. How he moves
I just thought about what a kids going to look like who physically
has no sense of balance, who would be horrible at sports, even
though he thinks he’s an amazing numbchucker and bowstaffer.
He’s very awkward he in the way is socially and physically
he’s just stiff and runs like an idiot.
Q. You had a perm for the part of Napoleon but who decide
that the permanent wave would not be permanent?
A. Well, it was permanent when I got it. Those curls
stay in till you either cut them off or let them grow out. When
we shot the short film Peluca back in 2001 I kept the perm for
a couple of months and I really like playing with the hair, you
know it’s easy to maintain. But after we shot Napoleon,
it was enough. It was like the third perm I’d got so my
hair was fried. But to get it straight I had to perm it again
which fried it eve more so I looked like a lion. |So in the end
we just cut it off.
Q. What was it like when you went out with your hair
like that – almost in costume as it were -did you find people
didn’t recognise you or reacted differently too you/
A. Well, I never really went out like that. Even with
the hair we had to be careful with it. I wasn’t able to
wash it, I washed it about three times during the whole shoot
and couldn’t’ get it wet that often because it tended
to get messed up. We styled it up and parted it. When it was washed
it was much cleaner looking and flatter. And I hardly ever walked
around in his outfit. I wouldn’t wear Moon Boots in real
life and I didn’t wear glasses and open my eyes so…
Q. What was your High School experience like were you
a sports jock or more inclined to be a geek?
A. I was probably more inclined toward the geek part.
I was definitely not a sports jock. I wasn’t as clueless
as Napoleon. He has no idea how dorky he is whereas I knew how
dorky I was. I was in between I had a twin brother so we were
our own click and then we had other friends. We were friends with
a lot of the popular kids but we were friends with the nerdy kids
Q. Were you identical twins and if so did you play tricks
on your teachers?
A. We were identical and we did that more when we were
in elementary school not so much when we were grown up because
teachers were smarter and we looked a little different.
Q. Was there any hope of a franchise for Napoleon and
is he a character you’d like to play again?
A. There’s easily potential for a sequel or TV
shows or all kinds of stuff. We always hear from fans we want
to see Napoleon in more adventures. When we made it thought we
were simply making a film we hoped would be bought some day and
for large masses of people to see and so far that dream has come
true. But speaking in franchise terms we’ll see what happens.
I won’t place bets on there being a sequel but I guess I
wouldn’t mind playing Napoleon again especially if Jared
Hess, who wrote and directed, was involved.
Q. If there was to be a sequel you’d need to do
it soon so it still be done in that world he inhabits?
A. Well that world in Preston Idaho is going to stay
that way for another good number of years. So you don’t
need to worry about that.
Q. Is it beyond redemption?
A. Well, in it’s own form it’s its own redemption.
I’ve got to do it before I get fat and old.
Q. The director claims that the scene where the cow gets
shot actually happened do you know anything about that?
A. Not really. Just that someone said it happened.
Q. Why do you think America is so enamoured with the
geek and the nerd?
A. I think maybe so many people are just sick off seeing
so much emphasis put on how you look and how popular you are.
Personally, some times I get sick of High School movies, even
though the messages they give is like it’s okay if you’re
not popular you’ve got to be cool in your own way but I
think Napoleon did it the right way. We see so much emphasis put
on -young people especially –looking pretty. Celebrating
the nerd liberates so many young people. Liberates us to be who
we really are and I think Napoleon is very honest with who he
is and what he wants to do. It was very liberating for me to do.
Q. Did you ever bake a cake to win the heart of a young
lady when you were at High School?
A. I did some nerdy stuff but I never baked a cake. I
think I sent a girl a pinecone with some lame pun attached. I
was definitely awkward with the females. Again as wasn’t
as awkward as Napoleon, but I wasn’t always a success trying
to hook up with the ladies.
Q. One of the great scenes is the one at the school dance
where there are lots of “nerds” sitting around watching
while others dance…
A. That was me. It was like you wanted to but at the
same time I thought it would be nerdy to get up there dancing.
It was hard.
Q. Will you have to play a serial killer or something
next to get away from Napoleon?
A. There is that desire to get away but I don’t
know if I’d go as extreme as a serial killer but we’ll
see. I’d like to do some more comedy but I would like to
do something a little more dramatic. I’ve had a few offers
but not all great scripts - some of them are okay and some of
them need a lot of work. I’ve had some that are similar
to Napoleon and most of that stuff I’m trying to stay away
from – if it’s really similar. Obviously there’s
a certain dorkiness in some of the roles that I might be interested
in but I’m trying to stay away from anything really, really
Q. Who are your comedy influences?
A. I love Jim Carrey. Will Ferrell, Jack Black a lot
of those comedians are really great. Dana Carvey. Growing up in
High School those are like my inspirations. I love the Simpsons
too – that was comedy to me growing up in High School.
Q. Would you be up for a part in a real life version
of the Simpsons and if so whom would you play?
A. Yeah, sure. I’d like to play the dorky kid who
flips the burgers and has all that acne.
Q. How has the local town of Preston reacted to all this?
A. We went to a premiere in Preston and it was kind of
ok. It went both ways a lot of the youngsters really loved it
and some of the regular people didn’t quite get it –
you know “Is this making fun of us?” It was a kind
of mixed reaction. It was hard because it was such an old theatre
the sound was bad. I hear now that they’re gearing up for
the school year they’re holding steak-throwing competitions
so they’re this whole Napoleon fair at the High School and
sort of embracing it.
Q. Talking of steaks you did actually get hit in the
face by the steak Rico throws at you in the film?
A. It hurt... a lot. We did about four takes. The first
two takes completely missed, He was a good distance away and it
was actually Jon Gries who plays Uncle Rico who throw the steak.
The third one hit on the arm and left this nasty meat juice stain.
The fourth one he said I’m going to throw this hard cause
I can aim better so he really throw it hard. He smacked me in
the face and ripped my glasses off and I had this big bruise that
we had to cover up with make-up but luckily I stayed in character.
I was like I don’t know what I’m going to do if I
crack up because I don’t know if we’re going to do
Q. Was it easy to keep in character?
A. Yeah, most of the time it was really easy. There were
two scenes where I had difficulty staying in character. One was
the Rex Kwan Do scene where Rex is smacking Kip. On set I couldn’t
keep a straight face and I had to tell the editors to keep away
from me. And the other one was where I was throwing food at the
Llama. I was laughing so much. I was throwing food at the Llama
but we had to cut those and use ones where I was throwing food
over him. I felt so sorry for the animal but it was fun.
Q. The big dance solo was that choreographed or improvised?
A. It was all ad-libbed, improv. I like to dance and
Jared knew that so he wrote that into the script. We just said
let’s just play some Jamoriquai, because we both loved that.
He said: “You just dance and we’ll take three takes
and we’ll take the best.”
Q. And did you do much research for your Loch Ness monster
A. Well research was done when I was young. In elementary
school I used to do reports on the Loch Ness monster. But for
that Jared had written some things but he just told me to make
up my own stuff and keep ad-libbing.
Q. The film was a huge hit at the Sundance Festival did
you go along and what was that like?
A. It was insane. It was really cool but it was basically
where everything happened for the film. That was our ultimate
goal - to get into Sundance and get it seen by some serious studios
and get it bought and for me to may be meet some agents. At the
first screening people went nuts for the film then we had all
sorts of offers for the film and tons of interviews, tons of press
for Jared and I. It was really crazy. It was overwhelming and
very cool. The potential opportunities for what I could be doing
in the future. I didn’t start to realise that until this
Q. Tina Majorino, who played Deb in the movie, is quite
big star really having been acting since she was 10 in things
like Waterworld. What was that like?
A. We became really good friends and I asked all the
questions about what her experiences were like. It was cool, really
cool to work with her. It was the first film she had done in four
years as she took a break and went to school. So for her it was
like revisiting things so it was sort of a new experience for
all of us. But she had worked on some serious productions back
in the day so it was cool that some one like that would do such
a tiny little film like this. So I got some Waterworld stories!
It’s the same with Jon Gries – he’s never been
in the limelight but he’s been in the film business for
so long he was god to work with.
Q. How bad was the scene you had to film with the chickens
in the battery farm?
A. I really like that scene because it was nasty. I couldn’t
eat chicken for a while because the chickens smell like chicken
and I was like: “Shouldn’t I be smelling something
else?” It was gross and fun at the same time.
Q. You were an animation student so how did you end up
in front of the camera?
A. I always wanted to get into the film industry and
I was studying film at the time we made the short film. When we
made the feature I had switched over to animation but the whole
time I would audition on the side for short student films. So
I was always interested in it but I wasn’t going to really
try unless something big happened. But I want to continue working
on animation and have aspirations to direct animation one day.
Q. Who do you think the film will really appeal to?
A. When we made the film we thought it would appeal mostly
to like the 18-30 range.
Most of the people who made the film are in their twenties but
there’s a lot of 1980s references and early 1990s stuff
and that each group really gets that kind of world and those old
references. If teenagers like it that would be coo but this is
not your normal kind of teenage movie it’s more for an older
Surprisingly, the movie has really exploded with the 12 and 13
year olds. I mean 12-year-olds are like insane and they’re
crazy about the movie. We’ve reached a whole different audience
that we never expected. When we first screened it to High School
students after Sundance it was like crickets chirping –
nobody got it. And we were like “ah well” but then
I think they started to realise this is cool and they opened up
their minds and realised it is funny.
Q. With the body language you use for Napoleon is there
a danger of people seeing Napoleon of suffering from a mental
A. Well, he’s definitely mentally impaired. Or
maybe socially impaired. He’s a social misfit and he’s
bordering that line, both him and Kip, Kip even more in some ways.
He’s grown up in a different environment but he’s
a good kid. Technically I don’t think he has any learning
difficulties but he’s socially so awkward that it almost
seeps into some of his other functions.
Q. I believe there’s now a new scene added to the
film after the end credits is this true?
A. Yes, we wrote another five-minute scene that involves
a wedding between two of the characters but we’re not saying
who. Basically it’s just a chance to see all the characters
again for just a short amount. In the UK you’ll see the
non-wedding version first, then I’m not sure when the wedding
version will be shown.