The hometown of “Napoleon Dynamite”, Preston, is also the hometown of its creator, Jared Hess, who grew up in a family of six boys, and graduated from Preston High School in 1997. He based the movie on a compilation of the silly, awkward things he and his brothers did growing up. The film features local people and sites: Preston High School with its lockers of many colors, houses
of the main characters, the elementary playground, Tina the Llama’s pasture, Deseret Industries store and Ritewood Egg’s chicken barns.
Maps featuring those sites and well as other “Napoleon Dynamite” memorabilia, are available at Yellow Brick Road/Adventure Video located on State Street in Preston. Although the movie was received with mixed emotions by residents of Preston, the community has been visited by fans from each state in the country and others from around the world, as the film gained popularity.
Since its original success in 2004, spin-offs have enjoyed marginal success as well. An animated series was created in 2010, which lasted six episodes, and was written by the couple. 7 Studios created a video game based on the movie in 2007.
With the surprising success of their first film, the Hesses have gone on to write and direct three additional movies: “Nacho Libre,” “Gentlemen Broncos” and “Don Verdean” – each filled with similar humor to Napoleon Dynamite. Jerusha has also written and directed “Austenland,” and Jared has directed “Masterminds” and episodes of “The Last Man on Earth.”
The couple’s recent project is an adaptation of Aaron Blabey’s acclaimed children’s novel, “Thelma the Unicorn,” for Netflix.