Jerusha Hess - News Poster


TV Updates: Stephenie Meyer Adaptation, Pilots from Ilene Chaiken & Liz Meriwether in the Works


Another day, another batch of women-centric and created series announced. Projects from “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer and showrunners Ilene Chaiken (“The L Word”) and Liz Meriwether (“New Girl”) may be heading our way, according to reports from Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter.

Deadline confirms that Tomorrow Studios is developing a TV adaptation of Meyer’s “The Chemist.” The 2016 thriller novel is about a woman working for “a U.S. government agency so clandestine it didn’t even have a name.” “When they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning. When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back but it means taking one last job for her ex-employers.”

Meyer and Meghan Hibbett are producing via Fickle Fish Films. Tomorrow StudiosMarty Adelstein and Becky Clements will also produce.

See full article at Women and Hollywood »

‘Ren and Stimpy’ Will Not Be Part of Any Nicktoons Reboot or Movie

‘Ren and Stimpy’ Will Not Be Part of Any Nicktoons Reboot or Movie
Back in the fall of 2015, news surfaced that Paramount Pictures was working on a live-action animated hybrid movie that would bring back some of the staple Nicktoons from the ’90s era of Nickelodeon. Since then, Napoleon Dynamite director Jerusha Hess was brought on as director, but it’s been over a year and we haven’t heard any significant […]

The post ‘Ren and Stimpy’ Will Not Be Part of Any Nicktoons Reboot or Movie appeared first on /Film.
See full article at Slash Film »

Watch Napoleon Dynamite and Pedro Reunite Over Burger King Tots

Watch Napoleon Dynamite and Pedro Reunite Over Burger King Tots
More than 12 years after their Napoleon Dynamite took the box office by storm, the stars of the hit indie comedy are reuniting in an unconventional way. The fast food chain Burger King brought back Jon Heder (Napoleon) and Efren Ramirez (Pedro) for a new commercial, promoting the return of their Cheesy Tots. The ad puts a new twist on the now-infamous tots scene from the original comedy.

Burger King's Cheesy Tots were once a staple of the fast food chain's menu, before they were discontinued in 2009, just five years after director Jared Hess' Napoleon Dynamite hit theaters. The fast food recently resurrected another previously-discontinued menu item, the Chicken Fries, and now fans can enjoy the Cheesy Tots along with the Chicken Fries. Here's what Alex Macedo, president of Burger King North America, had to say in a statement.

"Fans have been craving the return of cheesy tots for some time now.
See full article at MovieWeb »

'Don Verdean' Preview Goes Digging with Sam Rockwell | Exclusive

'Don Verdean' Preview Goes Digging with Sam Rockwell | Exclusive
Stars Sam Rockwell, Amy Ryan and Jemaine Clement take fans behind-the-scenes of their new comedy Don Verdean, which debuts on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD formats on March 1. This bizarre comedy comes from writer-director Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite), and hit theaters back in December, after debuting at last year's Sundance Film Festival. As you can see from the preview below, this certainly isn't your typical comedy, but Jared Hess has definitely assembled an all-star cast.

Sam Rockwell, Amy Ryan and Jemaine Clement put a comedic spin on evangelical fraud in the wildly funny adventure, Don Verdean, arriving on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD), DVD (plus Digital) and Digital HD March 1 from Lionsgate. The "absurdly funny" (Wnyn-tv) Sundance Film Festival favorite is currently available On Demand and features laugh-out-loud performances by Leslie Bibb, Primetime Emmy&#174 nominee Will Forte and Danny McBride.

From the writers of Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre comes a comedy of biblical proportions.
See full article at MovieWeb »

Napoleon Dynamite Director Is Making a NickToons Movie, Thus Completing the Cycle of Millennial Nostalgia

  • Vulture
Napoleon Dynamite Director Is Making a NickToons Movie, Thus Completing the Cycle of Millennial Nostalgia
Nickelodeon has confirmed that it’s making a NickToons movie, because no one ever went broke betting on millennials' nostalgia for their own childhood. Paramount and Nickelodeon have tapped Napoleon Dynamite's Jared Hess to direct, with a script by Hess and his wife and writing partner Jerusha Hess. There aren’t many details yet, but Deadline reports that the film will combine characters from across the Nickelodeon universe, as well as incorporate live-action segments in the manner of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? We don’t know which NickToons will be featured in the film yet, but Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy, Rocko’s Modern Life, Aaahh! Real Monsters, The Angry Beavers, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Wild Thornberrys, Rocket Power, and CatDog are all on the table. (What this means for the planned Hey Arnold! TV movie is unknown.) Now we are just left to wonder who the live-action actors will be, and
See full article at Vulture »

'Doug,' 'Rugrats,' 'Ren & Stimpy' And 'Ahh! Real Monsters' Coming Together In 'NickToons' Movie Directed By Jared Hess

Depending on your age, the '90s programming at Nickelodeon was either a childhood staple or was part of late nights of your high school/college years. Either way, the run of shows was very strong, and in this era of maximizing IP value, it's a bit of a surprise the network hasn't done anything with them...until now... Variety reports that Nickelodeon is going to ambitiously put characters from all their '90s shows into a single movie, "NickToons," with "Napoleon Dynamite" director Jared Hess to helm the project. That's right, the worlds of "Doug," "Rugrats," "Ren & Stimpy" and "Ahh! Real Monsters" will collide (and, hopefully, "Hey Arnold!") for what's being described as a "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"-esque film. Hess is also writing the project with regular collaborator Jerusha Hess, and it's certainly an ambitious undertaking. Read More: Review: 'Don Verdean' Starring Sam Rockwell, Amy Ryan,
See full article at The Playlist »

Nicktoons movie: Jared Hess to direct, Rugrats to star




Napoleon Dynamite’s Jared Hess will helm Nickelodeon’s cinematic nostalgia trip, Nicktoons, starring the Rugrats and more…

Not content with creating a channel dedicated to 1990s reruns and commissioning a new Hey Arnold! TV movie, Nickelodeon has gone one step further with the nostalgia – it's announced a cinematic feature film.

This movie – going by the title Nicktoons – will include characters from Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy, Rocko’s Modern Life, Aaahh! Real Monster, and The Angry Beavers. They’ll all interact together in one big story, as opposed to a series of sketches.

Jared Hess of Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre and Gentlemen Broncos has signed up to direct. He’ll work on the script, as well, with his wife and regular collaborator Jerusha Hess (she worked on all three of those films, too).

The idea for the film originated with Disruption Entertainment's Ali Mendes, “who grew up
See full article at Den of Geek »

'Nicktoons' Movie Unites Rugrats, Ren and Stimpy, Rocko and More

'Nicktoons' Movie Unites Rugrats, Ren and Stimpy, Rocko and More
Crossovers and shared universes are certainly hot properties on both the big screen and small screen alike, as evidenced by The CW's Arrow and The Flash, along with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Universal's upcoming shared monster universe, and much more. Today we have word through Deadline that Paramount is developing a new movie based on the iconic Nicktoons cartoons, that will feature a slew of beloved characters. The feature will reportedly include characters from hit shows such as Rugrats, The Ren and Stimpy Show, Rocko's Modern Life, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters and The Angry Beavers.

The studio has set Jared Hess (Don Verdean) to direct and co-write the script with his wife and frequent collaborator, Jerusha Hess, based on an idea by Ali Mendes. No specific plot details were given, nor was it revealed how these various animated TV worlds will cross over, but the project was said to be in
See full article at MovieWeb »

The Nickelodeon Cartoon Mashup Movie Just Took A Huge Step Forward, Get The Details

If you fall into a certain age bracket, shows from Nickelodeon.s stable of animated properties. Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy, Rocko.s Modern Life, and a slew of others.hold a significant and nostalgic place in your heart. Aside from SpongeBob, the network has never done all that much with them in terms of movies, but that is about to change. working on a mash up film called NickToons, and the project just took a big step forward by hiring director Jared Hess. Jared Hess, who is best known for directing movies like indie comedy Napoleon Dynamite and the Jack Black-starring wrestling flick Nacho Libre, will, according to Deadline, take the helm for NickToons. He.ll also write the script, once again teaming up with his wife, Jerusha Hess, who has collaborated with her husband on all of his directorial efforts up to this point, including their latest,
See full article at Cinema Blend »

Don Verdean | Review

Going Clear: Hess’ Uncomfortable Religious Comedy Defuses Subversive Potential

Religion and comedy don’t make for comfortable bedfellows, at least not for films attempting to play it safe by simultaneously poking fun at blind belief while expecting us to empathize with an inability to question basic tenets of any particular religious belief system. This is exactly the tone director Jared Hess strikes with his new comedy Don Verdean, a film about a well-meaning religious charlatan preying on the superstitious beliefs of Christians devoted to finding archaeological relics supposedly proving various mythological instances from the Bible. Rather than castigate his characters, we’re meant to laugh at their desperate antics in a sort of moral fable whose agenda is made palatable by its notable cast members allowing for a work around from falling into a religious niche market.

A decade ago, biblical archaeologist Don Verdean (Sam Rockwell) discovered an artifact in
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Don Verdean Review

Religious themes will always spark controversy, but it’s never Jared or Jerusha Hess’ intention to lace Don Verdean with stinging societal commentary. Satire certainly exists, but in a more goofy, overexposed kind of way that makes light of men who build congregations around insane epiphanies and phony beliefs. The Hess’ don’t seek controversy, as Don Verdean exists in their silly realm of quirky character pieces like Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre, and Gentleman Broncos - but this is certainly their most grounded effort to-date. This isn’t a case of Team Hess jumping ship, just an attempt at more straight-laced comedy and almighty exploitation. No flying spaghetti monsters, I promise!

Sam Rockwell plays a biblical artifact hunter named Don Verdean, who spreads the Lord’s word by proving scripture passages with evidence. Aided by his research assistant Carol Jensen (Amy Ryan), Don spends his days trying to prevent already
See full article at We Got This Covered »

'Don Verdean' Trailer: Get a Look at the New Comedy From the Creators of 'Napoleon Dynamite'

If Indiana Jones were living today -- and living at all, to begin with -- would he be battling evangelical ministers in pursuit of religious artifacts? Or maybe he would be working for one, like Don Verdean, an archeologist specializing in the Bible in the new comedy from the husband/wife team of Jared Hess and Jerusha Hess (Napoleon Dynamite). Sam Rockwell stars as the title character in the movie, somewhat unrecognizable (supposedly people on the set didn't know it was him) underneath a dirty blonde wig and beard. Joining Rockwell is a terrific ensemble of comedic actors. There's Oscar-nominated actress Amy Ryan as Verdean's assistant, Jemaine Clement as his Israeli friend and guide, Danny McBride as the pastor he works for, Leslie Bibb as the pastor's...

Read More
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Don Verdean Trailer Has Sam Rockwell And Danny McBride Search For The Greater Good

Sam Rockwell and Danny McBride are on a mission from God in the riotous first trailer for Don Verdean, the all-new comedy coming by way of Napoleon Dynamite duo Jared and Jerusha Hess.

Toplining the flick as Biblical archaeologist Don, Rockwell is channeling a comedic energy not unlike his turn in Seven Psychopaths as the naive and dim-witted explorer, who is tasked with unearthing the fabled and forgotten skull of Goliath from the sun-kissed hills of Israel. All of this is in an effort to reap the benefits of stumbling upon such a discovery, but when Don fails to locate the asset, he finds himself spinning an old yarn in order to cover both himself and his bumbling number two Boaz (Jermaine Clement) from the wrath of McBride’s character.

As Rockwell’s character so gleefully puts: “untruths are necessary for the greater good,” and that ought to give you
See full article at We Got This Covered »

Jared Hess’ new feature ‘Don Verdean’ gets its first trailer

Despite making a big splash with his 2004 feature debut Napoleon Dynamite, filmmaker Jared Hess has not been seen on the big screen since 2009’s Gentlemen Broncos, with his only other work in the meantime being the animated Napoleon Dynamite animated series. Hess is set to return to theatres later this year, however, with a new film, his first in six years.

Titled Don Verdean, the film is directed by Hess and co-written by Jared and Jerusha Hess, both of whom have worked together on the screenplay for all the films Jared Hess has directed. Sam Rockwell leads the cast this time around, joined by Jermaine Clement, Will Forte, Danny McBride, and Amy Ryan. The film’s synopsis is as follows.

Hired by an ambitious small-town pastor to find sacred relics in the Holy Land, a self-proclaimed Biblical archaeologist comes up short and his attempt to cover up his failure fuels
See full article at SoundOnSight »

'Don Verdean' Trailer from the Director of 'Napoleon Dynamite'

'Don Verdean' Trailer from the Director of 'Napoleon Dynamite'
Bear witness to a hoax of biblical proportions with the new trailer and poster from Lionsgate Premiere's Don Verdean, arriving in theaters and on demand December 11! Join Sam Rockwell, Amy Ryan, Jemaine Clement, Leslie Bibb, Will Forte and Danny McBride as they uncover the world's most sacred relics in this hilarious satire. The trailer, courtesy of Fandango, introduces us to the latest colorful characters created by Jared Hess, the director of Napoleon Dynamite & Nacho Libre.

Hired by an ambitious small-town pastor to find sacred relics in the Holy Land, a self-proclaimed Biblical archaeologist comes up short and his attempt to cover up his failure fuels a comic conspiracy. The supporting cast includes Steve Park and Sky Elobar. Jared Hess also produces alongside Brandt Andersen and Dave Hunter. Grindstone Entertainment's Barry Brooker and Stan Wertlieb brought the project to Lionsgate.

Lionsgate acquired Don Verdean just before its debut at the Sundance Film Festival back in January.
See full article at MovieWeb »

Sam Rockwell is a Biblical Archaeologist in Trailer For Comedy Don Verdean

Don Verdean is a film that comes to us from Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess, and it looks like it will deliver some hilarious comedy. We have a trailer and clip for the film for you to watch today. The story centers on Sam Rockwell, who plays a Biblical archaeologist. When he sets out on his latest adventure, he finds himself caught in a feud between two rival congregations led by Danny McBride and Will Forte.

The movie has a fun cast that also includes Jemaine Clement as Rockwell's Holy Land associate, Amy Ryan as his assistant Carol, and Leslie Bibb as McBride’s wife. The film screened at Sundance earlier this year, and you can read our review for it here. In that review, Eli says:

"Hess dials back the zaniness in Don Verdean without losing his signature touches and provides a better stage for Rockwell and Clement, who
See full article at GeekTyrant »

‘Don Verdean’ Trailer: The ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ Duo Sends Sam Rockwell in Search of Religious Artifacts

‘Don Verdean’ Trailer: The ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ Duo Sends Sam Rockwell in Search of Religious Artifacts
While we wait to see what Disney does with its never-gonna-get-recast icon Indiana Jones, Napoleon Dynamite duo Jared and Jerusha Hess have mounted their own search for the Holy Grail. Don Verdean stars Sam Rockwell as a Biblical archaeologist who gets caught in the rivalry between two congregations led by Danny McBride and Will Forte. Needless to say, this is a much sillier quest than the one […]

The post ‘Don Verdean’ Trailer: The ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ Duo Sends Sam Rockwell in Search of Religious Artifacts appeared first on /Film.
See full article at Slash Film »

New Poster From Sam Rockwell’s Don Verdean

Join Sam Rockwell on his journey of holy discovery with the new poster from Lionsgate Premiere’s Don Verdean.

Hired by an ambitious small-town pastor to find sacred relics in the Holy Land, a self-proclaimed Biblical archaeologist comes up short and his attempt to cover up his failure fuels a comic conspiracy from the filmmaking team (Jared Hess & Jerusha Hess) behind Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre.

Rockwell along with Amy Ryan, Jemaine Clement, Leslie Bibb, Stephen Park, Will Forte and Danny McBride star in this hilarious satire of biblical proportions, arriving in theaters and on demand December 11.

Catch the official trailer debut next week on October 27 at 10am Pt // 1pm Et on Fandango.

Check out the film on Facebook:

Twitter: #DonVerdean

The post New Poster From Sam Rockwell’s Don Verdean appeared first on We Are Movie Geeks.
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Phoenix Film Festival: Dir. Kenny Riches on “The Strongest Man”

The Strongest Man” is a record of determination; not just in plot, but in production as well. Riches’ stick-to-itiveness work method is on full display - par for the course for someone who, as a kid, lived, breathed, and ate skateboarding (and lots of concrete pavement).


Originally from Salt Lake City, Riches gained early experience making short films with childhood friends Patrick Fugit, Paul Chamberlain, and David Fetzer. Branching out from an interest in skate videos and visuals, Riches studied art in university, but his success as an artist was not enough to deter his silver screen goals.

“I realized I wasn’t making films and doing what I cared about, so that’s when I started writing again.”

Utilizing the fanbases of Patrick Fugit, and Ashly Burch of the popular web series “Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’?,” Riches partially funded his first feature film, “Must Come Down,” by spearheading a strong Kickstarter campaign - a “good tool for young filmmakers” says Riches.


“When we lived together, every day, me and [David Fetzer] would wake up and watch a movie. We’d assign each other screenwriting homework. We had our own form of school. [Patrick Fugit] and David are so invested in performance. They were my film school. They were the ones that showed me how to appreciate story and character and writing. That’s the language they spoke. Patrick - going to visit him on set. He’s so supportive and he’s the reason why I’d ever been on a film set in the first place.”

Riches brought along the majority of the same cast and crew from “Must Come Down” to “The Strongest Man” likening it to a family reunion and a reason to get his friends all together.

“I’m learning as I go. I don’t like when people bring ego to set. I like the collaborative spirit. I’m very happy I can bring my friends along and they all found where they fit. It’s a family that I try to keep together as long as I can.”


“For the most part my films are regional, reactionary, and circumstantial. Just towards what is happening. Presently or in the past.”

On the strength of “The Strongest Man”’s Sundance premiere, Riches has signed with UTA, and now faces a difficult decision about the direction of his career. For now, Riches has only directed features of his own creation.

“I think I’m hitting that step of my career where filmmakers have to find answers to that question. Right now I’m not sure what I want. I want to do what I do, but I haven’t closed that door of taking a look at other projects. I wouldn’t trust someone to direct something I’ve written because it’s so specific and visual… things might be lost in translation.”

With his career taking off to new heights, finding balance in business and creation is about finding the right compromises to make.

“It’s really hard to stay focused on writing if you have a day job. And I just try to live as thin as possible. My cost of living is so low and it’s more important to me to focus on film rather than upgrade my car. That’s the struggle all filmmakers have: you don’t want to lose your voice, you want to make the stuff you want to make so you have to sacrifice a little.


“Having a relationship with this place gives it another texture that you just don’t get. It’s just a weird place.”

Trading salt lakes for saltier oceans, Riches moved to Miami after a period of restlessness and took inspiration from the city’s unique way of life. Set on the streets of Miami, “The Strongest Man” portrays a rare slice in an already legendary locale, incorporating ostentatious cultural norms with an introverted twist.

“My film is very Miami-centric, references that you’ll only know if you’ve ever been or lived [there]. Miami’s image of money and the complexities it brings with poverty and luxury bumped up right next to each other is interesting. All of that stuff is a part of the culture so I just thought it was appropriate for [Beef, the protagonist] to have a gold bike, but live in a tiny apartment across the street from a luxury condo development. Beef’s anxiety monster in the film is made of palm fronds and palm leaves that fall off the trees; they start decomposing and turn black. So everything was influenced by being there. My bike was stolen, just like Beef’s was.”

Contrasting, relative to the typical depictions of the city which have been immortalized in films like “Scarface” and series like “Miami Vice.” A city of stereotypical excess has never been so humbled, down to earth, and yet so rightly touted and honored at the same time.

“There’s something very exciting happening in the indie film scene in Miami. It’s the one place I’ve been where indie theaters are opening instead of closing.”


Though the protagonist “Beef,” portrayed by Robert “Meatball” Lorie, has the Miami affinity for the material, his monastic nature is equally level throughout the film. Lorie’s performance is akin to surface tension - constantly on the edge of rupturing; and his relatively transparent tone and goal is tempered by humorous deadpan along with mindful contemplation, perhaps giving more insight into Kenny Riches’ being rather than Beef’s.

“I had crazy bad anxiety. Beef is kind of a mash-up of me and [Rob Lorie.] I’m more introverted and he’s much more charming. I like the conflict it brings. Having this physically strong character who’s telling this story that’s engrained in masculine Latin culture, but on the inside… a small, insecure person – that juxtaposition set up something different.”

The Strongest Man

There’s an understandable amount of ambivalence when it comes to Riches’ sophomore effort - a dark comedy that carries indie’s knack for quirk and offbeat mindsets; featuring a storybook aesthetic like Wes Anderson, and sharing the esoteric humor of other Slc natives Jared and Jerusha Hess, the film finds terra firma on universal themes in spite of its individual attitude.

“As long as your characters are relatable. That’s the most important part. I’m interested in flawed human characters that anyone will get it. With “Must Come Down” I thought I was making a film that was more marketable or relatable, but this time I wrote something that I wanted, without considering how it would be received, and it’s interesting to me that this is the film that I went to Sundance with. Do what you want to do, oftentimes that voice is more honest.”

The Strongest Man ” premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2015. FilmBuff has acquired North American distribution rights. Isa: Xyz Films .

Kenny Riches is the Vice President of the David Ross Fetzer Foundation which is a grant giving organization for filmmakers and playwrights dedicated in memory to the late David Fetzer. Riches is currently represented by UTA .

The Phoenix Film Festival is an annual international festival that takes place in Phoenix, Arizona.

Special thanks to Erik O’Malley.
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »

Sundance 2015: ‘Don Verdean’ a well-intentioned comedy that plays it too safe

Sam Rockwell and Jermaine Clement in Don Verdean

Don Verdean

Directed by Jared Hess

Written by Jared Hess and Jerusha Hess

USA, 2015

The wife and husband duo behind Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre, and Gentlemen Broncos gives us Don Verdean, a relatively tame exploration into the antics of biblical archaeology. The subject matter is rife with comedic possibilities but the film doesn’t go big enough with its shenanigans to see us through to being truly entertained. There are sporadic moments of inspiration, but they are too few and far in between to save it from itself. Not much is skewered about religion, instead broadly-drawn zealots populate the plot who desperately want to believe that discoveries abound which could validate biblical stories. The religious extremism doesn’t go far enough, as if it’s afraid of offending its audience. It seems satisfied to keep it mild and barely tongue-in-cheek. A rocking
See full article at SoundOnSight »
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