If you’ve ever wondered where writer-director Jared Hess came up with idea for his debut feature film, 2004’s deadpan cult comedy “Napoleon Dynamite,” Hess’s 2002 short film “Peluca” holds the answer. Hess shot the nearly nine-minute short for an assignment at Brigham Young University and premiered it the following year at the Slamdance Film Festival.
Shot on black and white 16mm film, the short stars Jon Heder as “Seth,” who is Napoleon Dynamite to a T, just with a different name. Hess shot the short in his hometown of Preston, Idaho over the course of just two days, shooting at many of the same locations seen in the feature film, like the local high school and thrift store. The title “Peluca,” the spanish word for wig, refers to a wig Seth and his friends Giel and Pedro purchase in the short. For “Napoleon Dynamite,” Giel and Pedro’s characters were combined to form the character Pedro Sánchez, played by actor Efren Ramirez.
Hess’s latest project is the comedy “Masterminds,” starring Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis. In the film, which is due out later this year, Galifianakis plays a night guard at an armored car company who organizes one of the biggest bank heists in American history.
To watch the 8-minute 45-second blueprint for “Napoleon Dynamite,” check out “Peluca” below.