Looking to exploit the skills of “Napoleon Dynamite” star Jon Heder and his family, Universal Pictures has signed Heder, identical twin Dan and older brother Doug to a first-look deal.
The trio have formed Greasy Entertainment and begun developing projects that will include star vehicles for Heder and animation properties. While the deal may seem unexpected, it is the realization of a long-held goal for the brothers, each of whom has an established Hollywood track record in diverse areas. All three studied film at Brigham Young U.
Since “Napoleon Dynamite,” Heder has worked steadily in comedies, currently starring with Billy Bob Thornton in the Todd Phillips-directed “School for Scoundrels,” and following up opposite Will Ferrell in “Blades of Glory” and then “Mama’s Boy” with Diane Keaton. Before “Napoleon,” Heder got a degree in computer animation, as did his twin.
Dan Heder has been working at Sony Imageworks as a character animator, working on “Monster House” and “The Chronicles of Narnia.”
Eldest sibling Doug has spent six years in Hollywood, most recently working at vidgame maker Activision as a producer on branded videogames devoted to skateboarder Tony Hawk.
Deal came after U production prexy Donna Langley requested a general meeting with the actor because she was obsessed with “Napoleon Dynamite.”
“I was surprised by how well-rounded he was and how promising the ideas he had for characters and films were,” she said. “When I asked if he’d ever thought about having a company, his face just lit up and he said that’s exactly what he and his brothers always wanted.”
“The whole ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ was for me a dream come true because it opened every door possible and gave us this opportunity,” Jon Heder told Daily Variety.
Doug Heder said he and Dan will run the daily operations of the company, which will have the wherewithal to option material and hire writers to draft ideas already hatched by the brothers. Though Universal doesn’t have animation facilities, Doug Heder said Greasy will launch a couple of CG films meant to exploits the talents of his siblings.