Today Melissa gets to sit down and have a chat with the one and only Jon Heder, star of the new Tremors: Shrieker Island and international known as the cult classic Napoleon Dynamite!
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Jon Heder Interview
Melissa: [00:00:00] This is spiral country and I’m Melissa searcher today on the show.
I’m excited to welcome and I chronic actor, you all know from films, such as Napoleon dynamite school for scoundrels blades of glory. Just to name a few John heater, welcome to
Jon Heder: the show. Thank you so much. I got real close to the mic there. Thank you so much for having me. This is a pretty cool,
Thanks for being here. Appreciate it. How are you
Jon Heder: doing? I’m doing great. I I love doing podcasts and I love talking to you and it’s been kind of cool. It fits nicely with quarantining and and the pandemic where, you know, we all have, we have to do this anyway, everywhere we go, but it gives me hope for the future that we can reach out and touch those around us.
Touch those who are not around us. Right
Melissa: virtually. Yeah. I mean, I’m sure you’re excited though, to get back to like doing cons then, you know, interviews in person again.
Jon Heder: Yeah, I mean, just getting out there and doing, just working [00:01:00] and getting on sets and and seeing people I, I do, I really do miss being with, in reach of physical beings.
I mean, I I’m definitely, I’ve always been a little bit more of a home body type, so certainly I’ve embraced that part, but I realized I miss, you know, being around people.
Melissa: Yeah, me too. Yeah. I’m kind of a homebody as well, but I think when it’s like, you’re told that you can’t leave the house, then you’re like, well, maybe I want to now.
Jon Heder: Yeah. Great.
Melissa: Well, yeah, I mean, I think we’re headed towards you know, getting back to normal here,
Jon Heder: maybe with that. No, I can smell the horizon and it’s great. I’m excited.
Melissa: Yeah, me too. Me too. Well, before we get into your latest so much, I do want to talk about I’d love to ask you about smear earlier work.
So Napoleon dynamite was such a huge movie, you know, it still is 17 years later. Super [00:02:00] iconic. And I think it’s fair to say actually, you know, it made you a household name and you know, how do you feel about that now? I mean, were you surprised that it, it blew up as, as big as it did?
Jon Heder: I mean, not, you know, it’s weird looking.
Answering that question, you know, 15, 17 years later. And it’s like still, I mean, at the time, yeah, it was kind of surprising kind of not, I was when we made it, we loved it. I guess I was surprised really at the, the, the span of the kind of audience we were hitting, we didn’t, we really didn’t think we were going to be like household kind of.
Low level, just more like the underground indie circuit level with cool, 20 to 30 somethings who dig like art house cinema or indie cinema, even saying art house cinema feels a bit pretentious. Like I already know if we were that level, it was more like, okay. [00:03:00] But people who are kind of like in the college circuit and a little above.
Yeah. So when we started seeing kids dressing up and as characters for Halloween or grandparents, right. Introducing it to their grandkids and their kids, it’s like, Whoa, this is like that, that was a bit surprised. And to that scale,
Melissa: yeah. Yeah. And he brought back tater tots, you know, you made out a thing again
Jon Heder: and, and I’d like to think now everybody’s like Fanny packs are really cool.
Everybody loves Fanny packs now. And I want to think we had a part in that, even though it was kind of 15 years ago, but I was like holding on strong. Like, no, no, no, no. These are cool. You guys want to just wait
Melissa: for coming back? Yeah. Well, and how much was your character in that film scripted and how much was like completely improvised?
Jon Heder: No, he was, he was very scripted. Like he was [00:04:00] very much like when we, when Jared wrote it, Jared Hess who wrote and directed the film, when he wrote the feature, we had already kind of established the character in a short film like a year and a half prior to that. So we did this little, it was almost like.
Like so many director writer, directors do, especially students do a little proof of concept. And I don’t know, that’s actually not really how he approached it. He made the short film first, just kind of like for fun. I mean, it was, it was it was actually an assignment for a film production class film, directing class that we were both in.
And he always knew, you know, everything he made, at least in the college, in the university level, he was like I really, he was very interested in telling stories and portraying characters and really kind of portraying. Like the world that he grew up in there in Preston, Idaho. And he [00:05:00] there was a short film.
He had done like a year or so previous, or I think it was a year previous to that, which was kind of the same ideas, but it was about a little kid and there was no dialogue. And I remember seeing that and thinking this guy has an eye, like a visual eye and kind of a, like, he’s going for that really raw, honest kind of portrayal of this small town Americana vibe, but also just.
This character and the world that revolves around this type, this kind of kid or these kinds of people. And again, while there’s the original first short that he did was a little kid. Then he came to me about doing the short film and he had this character in mind, just like, all right, this is crusty, like weirdo, geek kid, but he wanted to throw in dialogue this time.
And, and he just thought I kinda matched that sensibility. And as soon as we started talking just about him and he, you know, the little seven page script that he [00:06:00] had, I was like, Oh yeah, yeah, I know who this is. I, I got this, like, this is totally me and my brothers growing up and my younger brothers would always get, they’d get pissed at everything.
And it doesn’t matter if their life is going well. It’s just like, Oh, why, why does everything have to smell like crap? Oh, this is gross. And it was just that kind of vibe. And I was like, and again, what the world seemed through those kinds of eyes. And so I was really excited to be part of that, you know, Jared team and be a part of kind of bringing that world to light.
And so after any, when we started looking at like the costumes, what this kind of what kind of clothes this character would wear. That’s when we really start to flush them out. It’s like, Oh yeah, he should wear some moon boots. Yeah. And then it was Jared’s wife actually said, John, what do you think about a perm?
So it kind of all started piling up in like, and flushing [00:07:00] this out. So when Jared set out to make Napoleon dynamite, he, he knew even like a couple years earlier, he was like, all right, I want to make my first feature. I want to make it, want to call it Napoleon dynamite. And he wanted to make it about, you know, so weird kid in Preston, Idaho, but he actually was like, Thinking of a different kind of character that he wanted me to play, but then after the like, you know, like, okay, I want you to be the lead, but it’s going to be a different kind of crusty kid.
He’s going to have braces. He’s probably going to be like shaved head and really, really weird. And I mean, just different, different vibe, but still kind of the same world. But after. The short film and everybody loving it. And I think just for him, you saw how well it worked, right? It’s like, let’s just do a feature, like let’s use that character, but flush Mount even more and bring in all these other characters that he was thinking of.
[00:08:00] Melissa: Yeah, no, I mean, you definitely seem like you were made for the role, you know, I mean, it was literally like you just burst this character and then that’s, you know, I guess that’s the right, but
Jon Heder: just happened to be there in the, in the operation room at the same time when you first but really felt that way.
And I, and I, and I certainly helped when he started writing the feature film. He, you had all these little story ideas and things in mind, but by the time you started, like, even, even before the short from, I think he had these scenes or working on a chicken farm and doing the school, like the skit for the for the election and having a Pedro and having this nap.
But. When we did the short from now, he had a voice and he was like, okay, I can write, it’s like a writers’ room writing for a second. I was like, I got this guy I can write for him easily. So really Napoleon was like the easiest character. He just kind of just came out. And then all the other characters where we were, he was trying to focus on like flushing out with [00:09:00] Pedro and Kip and cause this was their debut.
Melissa: Right. And it was, it felt like it wasn’t set in the eighties, but it felt like it was in the eighties. Was that intentional?
Jon Heder: It was intentional to really just capture kind of the vibe of not just Preston, Idaho, which is kind of stuck in its own little time period about, I think it was just that, that idea of really small town life.
And these small towns, not even cities, just really small towns out in the middle of nowhere and how they’re not really fully up to date. On, you know, not just technology, but culture and style and fashion and pop culture. And, and I think because of that, you know, for anybody who’s spent time in like, you know, these places out in the middle of nowhere that’s kind of the vibe, you know, you don’t have a lot of up dating and interior decoration that gets updated.
Maybe I did that. They live with their grandma. She never would have touched, you know, the [00:10:00] interior had interest in redoing her house. And that was kind of like the vibe everywhere. So yeah, I think he wasn’t, he was kind of going further. Yeah. Let’s get a little sixties and seventies and eighties and nineties in there kinda mix it all together, you know, and I think it helped that we made that movie right before.
Social media really took off, you know? Yeah, that’s true. Internet wasn’t around. And so, and, and I love that we have the internet in there, you know, talking about chatting online and, and, and that really helps to kind of tell people, Oh yeah, this is, this is now, this is something now, but it’s still a little bit like back.
It’s still a little dated, right?
Melissa: Yeah. And I know it kind of makes me feel a little old when I think back to like, when it, you know, cause I was like 25 when it came out and I remember thinking like, Oh, this is so genius. That’s kind of a new style of like comedic timing and in a way, right? Like, I mean, [00:11:00] there was a lot of stuff going on at the time, but like that was the first, I think that’s why it became psychotic as well, because it was the first style of that particular type of comedy.
Jon Heder: I, you know, I mean, I, we were certainly influenced by many comedies before that. And you know, like every film director they’re going to have their influences, a lot of a lot of the Cohen brothers. You can certainly like cone brothers in West Anderson. There’s some similar vibes there, but I think, you know, with that movie in particular, Jared was really not, I don’t even know how much he was trying to set up a style as it was just kind of an honesty.
And it was more of a style of world. And just this thing, let’s take a West Anderson, but go for crusty or level of portrayal of American life that we don’t always get to see, but we know is there, and we’ve all, you know, experienced some way or another, whether we sat next to [00:12:00] that kid in art class, or we were that kid in our class,
Melissa: Yeah, absolutely.
It also had kind of like a sit-com vibe to it as well. Like old styles that calm, like three’s company vibe,
Jon Heder: you know? Yeah. I think but without the energetic laugh track of the audience where you’re not quite sure are we supposed to be laughing now? I mean, it’s so quiet and there’s so much dead space.
One of the few movies, I really think the dead space is, you know, part of the comedy it’s like just. Someone says a line, then there’s like five seconds of silence. And then someone says the next line and then another few seconds of silence, but it really works because I think every line, every line in the film is just part of the character and that’s why it becomes so quotable.
It’s not so much about telling the story through dialogue. It’s really just painting a picture.
Melissa: He gets one of the most quoted movies actually. Do [00:13:00] you still have people coming up to you and trying to quote your own lines at you? Yeah.
Jon Heder: You know, if, if they’re lucky enough to get close to me, that’s where I got my my bodyguards, which by bodyguards, I mean, my kids who are actually worthless instead, they’ll invite people over.
Hey, Actually, he might, I think when they were younger, they’d be like, Hey, did you don’t my dad? Or like, Hey he’s or if someone asks they would, they would not help me out. And they would say, yeah, that’s him.
Melissa: They’re pointing. Yeah. That’s great. Have they seen your films?
Jon Heder: A few? I mean, you know, I think they’re like, they’ve seen the Polian, but it’s not like they’ve gone back and are like, Oh, this is our favorite thing.
No. Yeah. I mean, I think I’m like, well, wait a lot of kids your age, like this, like anything, I think they’re just like, well, it’s dad, you know? Like, does it make sense [00:14:00] to like, it’s just weird. I think they don’t have the same kind of connect because it’s like, well, okay. It’s it’s dad. And, but it helps because they’re also like.
Like, like, I guess there’s a show I did pick on peanut for Disney channel, an animated show and they love it. They love that show and that, so I do have kind of both worlds going on, you know, there’s the, okay. I don’t need to watch this cause it’s dad and I’m like, fine, but then there’s other things I’ve done in there.
They really get into it and they love it to death and they know it’s me, but I think it’s like, they’re not looking at me. It’s a little bit more. Yeah. You
Melissa: know what I mean? Cause it’s animated. So it’s like, they know what your voice, but they’re like, Oh wait, this is, they can separate it. Yeah. Yeah. It’s great.
Do you think you guys will ever do anything more with Napoleon dynamite as far as SQL or reunion something or other
[00:15:00] Jon Heder: can’t divulge that information? No, I really, I really don’t know. I I’m not part of that. Decision-making unless, you know, they asked me I would totally be up to do more. I honestly don’t think the world of Napoleon is dead.
Like, I think there’s still avenues. And I think, I feel like they could not just the, there should, it could be more, but I think, I feel like something could happen in the future, whether it’s a TV show or movie or sequel or another animated series, or
Melissa: that’d be fun, you can even do like a Napoleon bore at crossover.
I think those two characters would be hilarious
Jon Heder: pulling bore at crossover. That would be interesting, right. Yeah,
Melissa: that just popped in my head.
Jon Heder: Have them walk around, like it’s either. Bora in Napoleon’s world where you have, it’s more cinematic and they’re not looking at the camera or it’s [00:16:00] Napoleon and Bora it’s world and they’re walking around and they’re just talking to people.
Melissa: I think that could be good. It could be interesting to see those two characters play off each other. Actually,
Jon Heder: it would be fun. Well, they would probably be like, no way you got like, just like he be so excited, like, wait you’re from this country. And they’d start talking about the similarities and the cool underground fight clubs that they have.
And Catholic stand by the second. I forgot for a second where you so
Melissa: hot and yeah,
Jon Heder: come try this time. It’s loaded. You’ll love it.
Melissa: Oh, that’s awesome. Well, so another hilarious movie you’re in is blades of glory. I can’t imagine how many times I’ve seen this movie now. It’s been a while, but it’s such a great, such like silly, funny movie with will Ferrell and a great cast of people.
Like what was that experience like for you just being around such a [00:17:00] funny cast and such, you know, you’re wearing spandex and
Jon Heder: I mean, it was a whole nother experience, you know, it was completely opposite for Napoleon where. Big studio giant, you know, giant crew, half the people like so much of the crew, I didn’t know, or ever even saw.
Cause there’s just so many technical things or special facts and, and stunts You know what I mean? It was, it was just a completely different approach. But it was a dream come true. Obviously. I mean, the, you know, the two big things was working with will Ferrell, which was a dream and, and not only was I pinching myself like the first day meeting him, but also like, it turned out to be a great experience working with them.
Like my expectations were surpassed because he was such a cool guy and so nice and really funny. And so like, you couldn’t have asked for a better like, okay, this, this guy’s really funny. I’m in a movie with will. And he’s great. I couldn’t ask for more, [00:18:00] but on, and then on top of that, it’s like, I got to learn some ice skating, which I really loved.
I thought it was so much fun. I mean, they’re like so challenging, you know what I mean? Like, okay, I’m doing, I’m like, this is work. I’m trying to keep up with will comedy wise, but. Or why ice skating? I guess he was trying to keep up with me. He was not as gifted. How does the agile not as agile, but no, that’s okay.
Cause it, so did it matter? Like he, it was, but physically, yeah, it was, it was strenuous and, and we had to work out and we had to, you know, learn the routines and learn, just learn how to kind of look natural on their eyes. And then wearing the costumes and kind, and really being part of that process of like coming up with the costumes and like the, that was such a big part of, it was the costume designer coming to us and saying, Hey, what do you think about this?
Do you have any ideas? And I love that. It was like really cool to be part of that creative [00:19:00] process and,
Melissa: yeah. That’s cool. Did you watch any like ice skating competitions on television to prepare?
Jon Heder: Yeah, the, I believe the Olympics let’s see, we shot. Shot it in 2006. So yeah, the Olympics were just had just happened earlier that year.
We had a lot of fresh footage that the directors would send me and you know, I’d be watching Johnny Weir do his thing. And I pulled a lot of inspiration from him amongst some other, you know, Michelle Kwan and a lot of those kinds of skaters for not just costumes, but just flare and the kind of attitude.
And And a lot of that. So yeah. I mean, I remember watching a lot and just really getting into, you know, just jumping into that world and it was, it was awesome. That’s
Melissa: so cool. Yeah. I mean, it’s such a funny film and I think that one is quoted a lot too, actually. And then you also have like Amy Poehler in there, you know, I think, I don’t know if she was on SNL at the time or [00:20:00] not.
She was still on it. Was she okay? Yeah. I bet she was super fun to work with as well. I mean, she’s hilarious. Did you guys do a lot of, you know, like, was there like a blooper reel, you know, cause it must be hard to keep a straight face when you’re filming some of these scenes
Jon Heder: there’s yeah, there’s for sure.
A blooper reel and it was it was a different kind of, it wasn’t a laid back comedy, you know, when you really think of like so many other comedies where like, like an anchorman or stepbrothers where it, they just mess around and it’s. And those kinds of movies are really just kind of almost sketch based where it’s, here’s a situation and this just lightly write a scene, but then let the, you know, the comedians and these comic actors really just kind of play it out and mess around and do different takes.
Whereas this one was a little bit more like there’s a story we have to follow. This is really a story, you know, it’s, it’s not so much sketch based as it is concept based the concept being of two [00:21:00] men who have to sketch, but it’s really just, it’s, it’s cutting edge, you know, it’s a romantic comedy to people who hate each other, come from opposite worlds, have to learn to work together, skate together.
And then, you know, in the end they essentially fall in love in, you know, in this case it’s a bromance, but like they accept each other and they really dig each other and they have fun. And And it’s. And so because of that, you know, you’re really kind of falling in stores. There’s definitely some, you know, there’s room to like throw in some different lines here, a few things just to try it, like, okay, here’s a different version of the same line, but but whether it was on the ice or, I mean, it’s not loosey goosey, you know, where you’re either doing a lot of physical stuff and and you’re just like, okay, I gotta get this right.
I’ve got to worry about my costume. I got my hair. And but at the same time, it was still. Like really, there was a laid backness to it because they can afford that being a studio film so tight and and again, working with will made it really cool.
[00:22:00] Melissa: That’s awesome. I mean, you’ve worked with a lot of amazing people.
Like you did bench warmers with David spade and then at school for scoundrels with Billy Bob Thornton, who is just. I love him. He’s hilarious. What was it like working with him? Cause he’s so, just on all the time, you know, and you guys had great chemistry in that movie and that was not a bromance.
What was that experience like?
Jon Heder: Oh, it was great. I loved working. I mean, if you go back and look at the cast, it’s incredible. You see all the students of the class are all these great comedians who at the time were like up and coming or barely had any screen time on anything. And now you’re like, Whoa, there’s so-and-so, there’s so-and-so, there’s like, it really is cool to see that most of them far surpassed me by now, but Billy Bob who’s like, you know, I probably saw the least amount cause you know, he was, he would just come in and do his stuff.
That said he was really cool. It was cool because it’s kind of has this Southern gentleman kind of vibe. Like he. I mean, his, [00:23:00] his character wears all these suits, but like, after, you know, in between sets, he would have me come into his trailer. We’d hang out a little bit. We talk and he’d, he gave me a stack of all his DVDs of the movies he’d been in.
It was a gift. I was like, Oh, thanks a lot, man. Let me out my stack of two movies at the time when we shot it, maybe one movie, I was like, well, here’s the pulley cited for you? But yeah, it was really great. Cause you know, he was, he was very, very polite and very nice to everyone. And yet then he’d opened his mouth until I could joke.
And it was like the dirtiest joke ever. And it was like, okay, I’m starting to get this get a feel for who this guy is. And he was, he was awesome. That’s
Melissa: awesome. Yeah. Years ago we were at a, a thing, you know, in LA and my boyfriend’s a big fan of his and he saw him and he walked up to him and he said, my favorite movie of all time of yours is bad Santa.
And he goes, I don’t think anyone has ever said that to me [00:24:00] before.
Jon Heder: That’s gotta be a lie. I love bad Santa. Right? Yeah.
Melissa: How’s that not? Yeah. I thought everybody liked that movie. Right?
Jon Heder: I think a lot of people do, he probably just making your boyfriend feel special
Melissa: or steel bad. Like he’s all. Why are you talking to me now?
Jon Heder: Nobody’s ever said that nobody would be that stupid. Come on, get out of my face.
Melissa: Exactly. So we got to talk about your new movie, cause it’s. Freaking awesome. I just watched it tremors streaker Island. I’m a big tremors fan scene, all of them. So this is such an iconic franchise and it’s got a cult following as you know.
How did you get involved in this, in this film? Like how do they lure you into
Jon Heder: it? Learn me into a dude. Thailand is how they learned me into it. Yeah, we shot it. I, you know, I, I think after I told everybody and still want to tell people like, Oh yeah, I’m in this, in the tremors tremors. Oh yeah. I [00:25:00] saw that.
I saw the first movie and I can 90, 91, you know, I know the same thing. Like there is, I didn’t realize that this was like the seventh one. I was like, Holy cow. I knew they made some. But so it was really great knowing you’re coming into this site franchise that it’s got a fan base and, and, and then kind of slowly having that world unfolded and seeing like, Oh wow, Bert comer is a legend, Mike.
He really we’re talking about him in the movie. Like, he’s a legend, which is weird. Cause you’re also talking about him like in real life, like yeah, the fans are like, dude, this is Burt Gummer he’s been in every single one. He knows his stuff. So it was, I’ve never done something like that. You’re kind of coming in, but it was also the first, you know, action film.
I really got to be in.
Melissa: Yeah. I was going to ask you, was it your first action slash horror film?
Jon Heder: Yeah. And it was, I’m kind of bummed that it’s my first one. I’m like, where has this been? All my life. I like [00:26:00] loved it. It was so much fun making an action film and doing stunts and just that kind of. Playing with the flame thrower and running around with machetes and, and chainsaws and getting to fight monsters that aren’t really there.
And then just like, and also you’re doing it all in the jungle, the real jungle, not like going up to Santa Barbara and some back, you know, state park or something, a state park here, like we flew to Thailand and we shot everything there in in real jungles and real caves and on the ocean. That was really, I mean, it was such an incredible experience.
I, I loved every second of it. And I, I loved Thailand was amazing. And, and I love doing, you know, the beauty of it is as I’m sure everybody knows, like this is the branch of universals, like, okay, we’re going to, we have all these franchises and we’re going to keep making these movies and they’re on a limited [00:27:00] budget.
And because of that, you know, you’re not shooting in at some gigantic studio LA with nothing but green screens, you know, you’re really, everything was there as real. And so like almost, I think the very end of the shoot, we had like two days where we shot on a studio where it was like, okay, inside a bunker, that was a studio.
And then part of the cave in order to be able to use a flame thrower, they built like just a little part of the cave because they wouldn’t allow you to use. The local government did send, like you can’t use a flame throwing a real cave. So just show you that it’s like, yeah, it’s like pretty much just for the, except for those few little shots.
Everything else is like real.
Melissa: Yeah. It looks real. I mean, the scenery was gorgeous, you know, sometimes we watch movies and you’re like, Oh, that’s Florida. You know, but, but this looked really like a tropical Island and it wasn’t, you know, just like a green screen in the [00:28:00] background and was the weather wasn’t nice either as far as like, did you get any storms while you were there?
Jon Heder: Oh yeah, there was a, I mean, for the most part, it was incredible. It was, you know, it was exactly kind of what you picture is very tropical and I loved it. But with that tropical weather, you, you have a few thunderstorms every now and then, or some down pouring of rain. And, and there was a scene we shot where Burt Gummer and I, Michael Gross and I are boating back from.
A battle. We just had with the shriekers on a boat and I’m piloting the boat is just this long tail boat where it’s just, it’s smaller, but we’re like in the ocean, the camera boat is 30 feet, 50 feet away from us. And they’re like, all right, just aim for that spot, John. Don’t get too close to the sandbar.
You might crash or whatever. And I was like, Oh, okay. And it’s just monsoon is just, it’s like a white squall just pouring on us so hard. [00:29:00] We were drenched in seconds and I’m kind of laughing thinking I can laugh out loud. There’s no way they’re going to use this footage. Like you can’t see anything, but he was also so exhilarating because.
I was like, just kind of like I’m in the middle of Thailand in the ocean on a little boat with me and Michael, and we’re just, they’re never going to use this footage, but we’re just like, we’re, we’re busting through these choppy waves with lightning, you know, coming down. It was like, this is incredible.
Melissa: That’s awesome. I hope you’re wearing a life vest. Sure.
Jon Heder: Debatable safety boat, you know, like 30 feet away just in case of there. Right.
Melissa: Hollywood, scuba divers, like sure. Swimming along with
Jon Heder: the local, the local Thai Hollywood. Right,
Melissa: right. Was that your first time in Thailand? Yeah. Yeah. Oh, cool. Awesome.
Well, you’re a character. Jimmy brings, you know, obviously the comedic [00:30:00] relief. I mean, there’s some funny lines of all the characters, but your lines are. Well, you know, the, the funniest and I feel like that was it’s necessary. Like when you have a, you know, a suspenseful horror slash you know action film, you got to have that comedic relief.
So how, tell us, how does your character get mixed up in monster hunting?
Jon Heder: Well, so is this a story question now? Oh, I would love that. Well, it’s great. Cause you know, he is, if you watch some of, I, you know, I’ve seen bits of a couple of the past films and it’s almost like, all right, Burt Gummer is going to be at front and center and we have to have the monsters and he somehow he’s roped in, but they actually do it in a pretty good way in this one.
But you know, I’m a scientist on an eye, on an Island. Who’s doing biological research with animals bio preservation, or I think that’s. Eco biologists, whatever you call it.
Melissa: Right. So Diane, elephants, there’s a lot of elephants.
Jon Heder: Yeah. Yeah. [00:31:00] And we’re, we’re basically we, yeah, we are biological preservationists for these animals.
so, you know, we’re peaceful, we’re not gun toting crazy people. And, but, you know, the monsters have been let loose on our neighbor Island, by the guy who kind of funds our, our shindig. And he’s this, you know, crazy Hunter who lets all these rich people come and hunt wild game. And you thought the next newest sport is by is by Not, I guess, cloning, but using and playing with there, the DNA of these creatures and, and creating them on this Island, breeding them just so that they can be hunted.
Right. And obviously, you know, things don’t always go,
Melissa: we’ve all watched
Jon Heder: harassing teachers. Yes. It’s very much like in the drastic park, a world where, you know, we don’t, they, they don’t re, they act out of turn and, and nature doesn’t nature cannot life [00:32:00] cannot be. Stifled. So things get out of hand and we kind of get mixed into it because we’re there on the Island.
And we’re the only ones who can really stop it from hurting the local pop population. So we kind of team up with Bert. We go find him, bring him in. It’s like, Hey, you’re the local guy, you know what you’re doing? And by local, she just happens to be on an Island. That’s, you know, 30 clicks away or something like that, whatever they said conveniently, you know, kind of marooned on an Island.
And so we grab him and bring him in there, like, all right. So what do we do? And I was like, we gotta, we got a gun up. And it’s kind of fun, cause there’s like, well, where’s the scientists. We don’t have any guns. It’s like the first one where Bert doesn’t have a gun. And he kind of is like, what, what do I do?
Melissa: Yeah, that was, that was really interesting. Cause all of them, the films, the previous films, he’s just, he’s got an arsenal of stuff. Like just every grenades, you name it, he has it. So I’m like, wait, he doesn’t have a gun. What’s going to help you get a deal.
Jon Heder: So, you know, we had to get, [00:33:00] he has to, our team gets a little creative on how to fight these things.
And so, you know, my, my, I was really, you know, attracted to the character when reading the script because here’s this guy who’s like, you can tell you as a sense of adventure. He’s, he’s living on this Island temporarily while he’s heading the team, this science team in this really cool kind of, camp that they’ve created.
And. He’s probably like, all right, he loves his job, but a little venture kind of suits him and he was kind of into it. And while. He’s looking, you know, kind of past, not just pass, but looking into himself and finding that inner strength because he has a little bit like, well, look, you know, this was fun for a little bit, but this is like life or death.
And I was never cut off. Come on. I mean, it’s getting a little bit mess. Yeah. So, you know, he has his moments of fun, but he has his moments of Southtown and makes the character a little bit [00:34:00] more rounded and really fun to try to, you know, have his moments of winning. Yeah.
Melissa: He kind of goes back and forth.
Cause like you’re at one point he’s like spouting leadership guide book. You know, got a rules, you know, he’s like leadership, you know, entry number, whatever. And then, and then he’s like, wait, I’m the weakest one. That means I’m next. You know, it’s just, you know, he’s like, let’s blow them up. Wait, why did I sign up for this?
That’s kind of a fun thing to watch him just like yo-yo all over.
Jon Heder: Yeah. I hope it. I hope it worked out that way. Yeah,
Melissa: no, it was really funny. And Michael Gross is so intense. I mean, you know, he’s, he’s such a, he’s become this character. I mean, obviously some of us remember him from family ties. Right. But but he, he is like Burt now and you know, that must’ve been cool.
Like, had you met him before he ever worked with them before? No,
Jon Heder: I hadn’t. And I well, no, actually, no that’s as a lie. And I think he did not remember, but [00:35:00] he was actually one of the very first celebrities I ever met. Cause it was at Sundance. I think it was at Sundance when Napoleon premiered and we went to some screening or something, but I told him, I was like, dude, you were actually one of the very first celebrities I met.
It was very quick. It was in passing so much that I’m not surprised that he didn’t remember. Cause I was, you know, nobody knew who I was or what the movie was. But we met on the plane, flying to Thailand. I was looking for him. He’s like, if you remember the beginning of the film, you know, he’s got like a big old, long beard and long hair.
And so he grew it out. And so I didn’t recognize it for first that he had like white khaki, like. Shirt off. I mean, he looked like he was from drastic. Like he was John Hammond and dress barn. He had this white, like very loose kind of almost a khaki suit with this hat, straw hat. And I was like, who is this?
Michael Gross. But [00:36:00] like the family ties character. I mean, he’s so laid back and so gentle and so nice. So w you know, when he jumps into Burt mode, it’s fun. Cause you can tell he’s having fun and he’s totally just acting cause he’s not at all like that.
Melissa: Oh, that’s so fun. Did you guys have a lot of fun with like working with a stunt team?
I mean, did you do any of your own stunts or was that like a mixture.
Jon Heder: Yeah, no, I got to the, it was really cool because again, doing a few stunts here and there in past films, but really this time working with closer with the stunt team got getting to do. I mean, it was a crazy where we were doing Marvel level stuff.
I, but I got to do a little bit of wire work and just the little bit, I was like, Oh man, I’d love to do more of this. This is so fun. And they were really cool. It was just this local tie. I mean, you know, base there in Bangkok, but they really, really, they knew their stuff. They made sure we were really safe.
And and so yeah, I got to do most of my stunts. There was a couple of things there [00:37:00] that I had a really great double who gave the flame thrower too. Cause they’re like, no, you’re not allowed to do this. But even the double was like, Ooh, this is intense. Oh yeah. Flame throwers are crazy. They are crazy, scary and cool, but like really, really intense.
And like, you have to know what you’re doing.
Melissa: I can’t even imagine holding one is it have like beat kickback, like Lego, regular gun,
Jon Heder: just, just there’s so much sheet and so much that could go wrong. I mean, they have to cover these guys in jelly, like this inflammable jelly, you know, or flame-retardant jelly that is like to keep you not just from not burning, but also from getting too hot, like it cools you a little bit.
And so it was really, it was very bizarre, you know, see these guys put the flame throwers down and they’re just covering this weird. Like Collyer gelatinous goop, slimed, and then the next second you’re getting covered in gravel goop. So lots of goop.
Melissa: Yeah. I noticed [00:38:00] that there’s like, everyone’s just covered in slimy stuff all the time.
Is that all,
Jon Heder: There was like a Rite of passage. They always like, and I knew it was coming. They’re like, Oh yeah, you always get covered by that orange grab Boyd, gut blood. It’s like goop. And so I was waiting for that moment. I never, well, I know, I guess I, I do get gooped when I finally am fighting them with the chainsaw.
But leading up to that moment in the, when shooting, there was a couple of other moments where they’re like, We’re running away and then we blow up a grab white it’s supposed to rain down. And I kept telling, I was like, dude, I think I’m going to outrun this. I don’t want to get grouped by it. I was also kind of secretly like, Oh, that’d be great.
And they kept saying, no, no, no, no, no, it’s great. It’s going to fly everywhere. It’s going to get everyone. And we did it like three takes and every time I would outrun it, not on purpose, I was like, look, you gotta time it. Right. And it kept, it kept missing me and getting all my co-stars behind me. He seems
Melissa: pretty clean.
And most of the [00:39:00] scenes actually
Jon Heder: secretly, I was kind of like, all right, sweet. But you know, that didn’t last long. I had to get covered by
Melissa: it. Yeah, no, there, you did have that one scene where you were like literally drenched in it and he couldn’t even see was there anything in the film like stunt wise that you’re like, Oh no, I I’m.
I’m not gonna do that. That’s too crazy.
Jon Heder: Well, they, like I said, the the flame thrower would have been, I mean, I would have been gained for if they had, let me, but maybe if I did it for a second, like, but they never even gave me that opportunity. They were just like, no, no, this is, I don’t know. I mean, maybe some, maybe there’s different versions.
Maybe it’s different teams that have different equipment. You know, you just don’t know, but no, pretty much everything else. They had, Oh man, I wonder they really should have like more special features on it, but I wish they had that. I had, you know, the director, he says I’ve done [00:40:00] so many films and this is by far the worst stunt double I have ever had for an actor.
We in the film there’s. You know, the long tail boats is what they call them, that, that, you know, very Southeast Asian style of these boats that are kind of long, but they have the really long, not a rudder, I guess it’s run by like a car engine, but it’s this really long pole. So you have to like, it’s really, it’s not easy to maneuver because it’s really heavy and it’s not like you can do quick maneuvering.
And it’s really meant to just kind of, it’s like a taxi boat that you use on the ocean, but there’s, you know, the scene where we’re going into the cave to fight these. Shriekers, there’s all these stalactites hanging still leg. I always forget whatever’s hanging from the ceiling, the lag tights, I think.
Yeah, I think so. And they are. They’re hanging down and it’s [00:41:00] like, this would have taken some really expert maneuvering and I just didn’t have enough time to train. And So they’re like, well, we got to get a local Thai guy who knows the only, the only people who really knew what they were doing were just tight people there and got this guy.
If I mean, if you saw the picture, he was like half my height. He was like, Like three, nine, three, like how many shades darker? He wasn’t, I mean, completely, he was kind of squat short, not even close, but luckily it was all long, long shots. You couldn’t see, but going through the caves, they, I mean, he did it, he nailed it.
He was, he was moving his way through these Slack tights and was like, Whoa, I couldn’t believe it. It’s amazing. Got the boat in there. So, yeah, that was one, you know, I guess like I was like, okay, yeah, probably better left in some other hands, but there was, you know, I reading the script, you know, You’re seeing [00:42:00] like, Oh, here’s a moment where I have to cover myself in mud.
Just cover, like start grouping it all over myself. And you’re like, we’re in the, we’re in a real cave. And is this real, like, I guess there’s real mud and you just start doing it. Right. But like anything, you know, especially if it helps me as an actor, you’re like, all right, I’m just going to do it. I’ll look for it.
There’s moments where you’re like, there’s no room for complaining or like, you know, like, Oh, this is, yeah. I don’t even have time to think about it. You just do it
Melissa: a method now.
Jon Heder: Yup. Yup. Just like, all right, just go for it.
Melissa: Yeah. It was the slime, like whatever the the goo or whatever you want to call it, that something that you were completely just like sick of smelling and tasting by the end of it.
Jon Heder: think w really I got gooped when I was like, you know, killing that. There’s a couple of those creatures I’m killing it’s those really one day. And it was, [00:43:00] it was one scene. It was like one, or I think there was just the one that really spray me right in the face. And it was kind of one moment. All right.
Cause you know, they don’t have time or the money or the, you know, the means to do tons of stuff. So they’re like, all right, let’s get this. And it was totally fine. It was totally fine. I mean, I guess if I kept getting grouped over and over. And over all day, then there might have been an issue, but luckily it wasn’t too bad.
Melissa: It’s on the other actors are like, wow, it must be, it must be nice.
Jon Heder: They really hated me.
Melissa: So I think you mentioned this earlier, but just to clarify, were the monsters, would those computer generated or were any of them animatronics?
Jon Heder: Yeah, they were computer generated. That was one thing, you know, getting on set.
There was a couple like PR I mean, you know, like anything that director really wanted more practical and, you know, physical, practical effects. But you know, it, it sounds weird to say no, but they cost more because they take more time [00:44:00] and they take more work and it would have been awesome. And he was like, Oh, we just don’t have the time.
Or we didn’t have the budget to get some of these creatures. So we have to do everything. You know, CG, which is a bummer buddy, you know, it turned out way better looking than I thought it would. Where are you
Melissa: at at the time? We’re like, Oh God, this is going to be,
Jon Heder: I, you know, just like, you know, CG one done really well.
Like I’ve always been a fan of practical effects. I love, I mean, so funny about the original film, all these really it’s there and you know, it’s fake, but there’s just something about like, when you know, you can touch it. It’s really cool. And it’s fun. But I was, I was very, I was pleasantly surprised. I thought the effects turned out pretty good and yeah, not bad and believable.
You’re like, okay, there’s some, my wife, you know, she watches me and she got, she got, she was tense. She was like, Whoa. Oh, there’s some moments like, Oh my goodness.
Melissa: Yeah, you get jumpy. Yeah. Yeah, well, I guess that’s [00:45:00] a Testament to the acting then, because you know, the audience we can’t, you know, we see the computer generation and we see you reacting to it.
So, you know, we, we don’t it didn’t, it looked authentic. So good
Jon Heder: job. Yes. Yes. It was excellent acting on our part on my part, especially now.
Melissa: Exactly. I’ll be award-winning I promise. Yeah.
Jon Heder: Yeah. For the screamer awards, do they have, I mean, they probably, I don’t know. That sounds like a real award. Yeah.
Totally said. I don’t know. We’ll have to look it up. I got three streamers last year and I’m going to break my record.
Melissa: Right? The streaker awards. There you go.
Jon Heder: Trigger awards. There you go. Yeah.
Melissa: Yeah, yeah. Do you think there’ll be more tremors movies in your future?
Jon Heder: I do not know. I really do. I think. I mean, that’s just guessing.
I mean, I’ve not been told anything, so I don’t, I don’t know, but you know what I think if they called I’d probably say yes.
Melissa: Yeah. I [00:46:00] felt like I was kind of, you know, not without giving too much away for anyone listening that hasn’t watched it. I mean, it’s
Jon Heder: called spoiler podcasts.
Melissa: It really is. Yeah. So I, yeah, so I
Jon Heder: feel like, you know, country like, hello, I can ask this, is that why you’re called spoil the country?
Cause you’re always spoiling things. I think
Melissa: so. Yeah. I’m not really sure on the name. I think so. I think we just spoil everybody’s endings. Yeah, but I mean, this, this film came out in 2020, right? Yeah. Yeah. So if you haven’t watched it right now or did it
Jon Heder: just come up? No, you’re right. You’re right. 2020.
Melissa: Yeah. Or it was filmed in 20. No,
Jon Heder: we filmed it in 2019 end of 2019, and then it came out.
Melissa: Okay, great. And then maybe the next one you can have Reba McEntire back. That would be amazing, right? Oh my
Jon Heder: gosh. If we can write that back in. Yeah. Yeah. Although that would be like, be like, okay, there’s some weird, like [00:47:00] was, cause you know, you have Jamie Kenny who played his son.
I’m not assigned, but he was not the son of Burton ribeye. Who’s the son of Bert and his new and Jasmine who kind of spoiling. But if you haven’t seen the movie, you’ll learn the truth to that. I don’t think he’s real spoiling cause it’s revealed early on. That’s true. But, but yeah, I don’t know. It’s Yeah.
Melissa: I mean, I, I mean, cause you know, she lived in the first film and and Karen bacon was in that too. Yeah. I mean, let’s get him back as well. Right?
Jon Heder: Why not?
Melissa: I mean, that would be great. Like a reunion, a reunion, a movie. It could be you as the new protege.
Jon Heder: Yeah. I’ll reach out to him.
Melissa: Okay. I hope so. I noticed on your IMDV you have a few upcoming projects coming up as well.
Is there anything on there, but you can talk about, are they all super secret or,
Jon Heder: Oh, they’re [00:48:00] probably all super old. Sometimes things get put up there and I don’t know how to edit it and then they just get left up there. So probably out of date, you never know. I mean, a lot of wishful thinking. But right now, not that, I mean, there’s, you know, I’ve got a couple of films that are slated to shoot this summer.
But I can’t really say too much about them right now. I mean, one’s a comedy and one’s a, a drama and Yeah, it’s just excited to get back to work.
Melissa: Yeah. I think our, our, the, the filming is starting to open up more now.
Jon Heder: I think so. I mean, I think, I think it’s been, you know, they’re both independent films and in, in the indie world, there is you know, well, actually there’s another movie I just shot actually in January romantic comedy that will probably be released later this year, I think around Thanksgiving time.
And that one. And yeah, we, I mean, you know, they follow all the COVID regulations, as much as I am aware that they exist. I mean, it felt like they were doing their [00:49:00] job. So I think that, but certainly like the movie that I’m supposed to be shooting this summer, they originally were going to shoot in January and they’re like, look, we got to push it because it’s just so hard to get some of these locations and so hard to book so-and-so because of COVID.
So yeah, it has been affected, but I think, yeah, for sure, more and more now, I mean, I’m amazed how much television and stuff. Oh my gosh. Yeah. COVID I’m like seeing all this stuff coming out with a really wearing mess. I’m like, Oh, I thought they really halted a lot of stuff, but apparently not.
Melissa: Yeah. There’s new shows popping up on Netflix, literally like every 20 minutes.
Yeah. I’m like, where are they
Jon Heder: finding your strike hits harder than a pandemic or epidemic? Oh, we’ll just sail right through that. No problem. Writers’ strike. What are we gonna do? No
Melissa: content for years. Yeah. That’s hilarious. Do you find it weird sometimes? Like when you’re watching a [00:50:00] show now on Netflix and I’m like, Oh, they’re, they’re standing too close together.
You know what I mean? Like, forget that, you know what I mean?
Jon Heder: Yeah. Kind of it is. I, I haven’t been watching a lot of stuff. But yeah, you are thinking, especially if you’re watching something that is. You know, you knew, you know, was shot during the pandemic, right. It’s like, how do they pull that off? Oh, well I guess they were like, yeah, so many questions.
You’re like, I guess, I mean, I wasn’t there, I didn’t shoot that. So I didn’t know what the protocol was. Did they quarantine together for like a while? What exactly was all, yeah. What was all, everything they had to do? Yeah. Very bizarre. It’s such a
Melissa: strange thing. I wonder how many, like apocalypse movies surrounded around the hand-eye are going to start popping up, you know, in the next five years.
Jon Heder: You know, it’s, it’ll be interesting, but it is a bummer seeing I’m sick of the mask. Not just not so much wear, I [00:51:00] mean, sure. Wearing is one thing, but just seeing, not being able to see people’s faces. I miss that. Yeah.
Melissa: No me too. I’m doing a double mask now because I heard that that was like effective.
Like you put like the paper one and then the cloth one over it. Oh yeah. Yeah. I don’t know. I don’t go out much, but when I do, I’m like, all right, I got the double mask. I should be good.
Jon Heder: That’s great. No, I mean, it’s like, it’s, it’s great to like, to mask up and to feel like, you know, you’re doing your part and and just trying to like help, not just, just keep everybody safe, but it’s part of that mentality of like, helping just, this is what we should be doing.
But yeah, but it is, it is a bummer. I can’t, I can’t wait for it to be done. I can’t wait to, you know, for things to go back to normal and A
Melissa: hundred percent. Yeah. Yeah. Well, hopefully we’ll get to see you in some more action. You know, horror films since not pike your
Jon Heder: thing now. [00:52:00] Yeah. Like I I’ve always held off a little bit on horror films.
I mean, not that I’ve had a lot of come my way, but I’ve, you know, I watch a lot of horror films. I have friends who are into horror, like work in the horror industry and every now and then a script or they’ll say, Oh, what about this? And they’ll push it my way. I’m like, ah, but I think that’s just like, anything else.
It’s more like, they’re either bad scripts or they’re just not that great. I mean, a good horror can be, I guess I’m not against whore. Like. It just has to be like anything, a smart film, if it’s really good. And well-done, and tremors doesn’t really feel like your typical horror. It’s not like all these people being off one by one.
Well, I guess actually that did happen a lot with trigger Island. All the, all the hunters are just getting picked off. But you know, it’s, it’s a different kind of horror film. It’s more of an action comedy with, you know, some tense moments.
Melissa: Yeah. And I felt like it was true. It stayed true to the tremors franchise, [00:53:00] you know, like it had that same, you know, just like with predator, when you watch a predator movie, people, it feels like a predator movie.
Like this felt like a tremors movie, which is, you know, a good thing.
Jon Heder: Yeah. Good, good. And that’s and I would, yeah, I’m so I’m down for that, for sure. I would love to do more action films and if they, and maybe it’s like monster films, maybe that’s the kind of like, Oh, that was fun. You put me in a dress bark.
I’ll nail it. Yeah. Yeah,
Melissa: no, you’re totally ready for that now. I mean, you got the training.
Jon Heder: Yeah. I know how to run away from something that’s not there.
Melissa: You got to chainsaw, you know,
Jon Heder: practice. I know how to focus my eyes every 30 meters. Yeah. I
Melissa: got it running where there’s like stuff spraying down on you, but it’s not really exactly, but you’re brushing it off.
Yeah. Yup. Yeah, genius. I love it. Well, thanks so much for coming on today. This has been, yeah, it’s been a lot of fun. I loved, loved the [00:54:00] film for, you know, everyone listening tremors streaker Island is streaming on Netflix, but you can also rent it or buy it on Amazon prime as well. If you don’t have
Jon Heder: Netflix and iTunes as well, I believe, I believe it’s on all, most of the digital platforms where you can buy
Melissa: to buy and rent.
Nice. Yeah. Yeah,
Jon Heder: it is for sure. It’s a, I shouldn’t say, I think that’s a bad salesman available to rent and buy on iTunes on Amazon and probably a couple of other platforms. I’m just not aware of do-do.
Melissa: Yes. Voodoo is a buy rent, probably X-Box too. I’m guessing they have like their. X-Box has their movie rent thing.
Yeah. Yeah. But you definitely watch it for free if he, if you want to watch it for free on Netflix. Right.
Jon Heder: But as we all know, it’s not for free because Netflix is just sucking us dry. They’re bringing it. [00:55:00] Yeah. Raising
Melissa: the prices every month. Yeah.
Jon Heder: No, it’s a great movie. Just kidding. I would be more than happy to do a Netflix original series, a limited series, a extended series, whatever.
Melissa: It’s cool. Right. That’s like, if you’re listening, we love you. We do. Yeah. Well, yeah, everybody watched the movie cause it’s really good. It’s got action. Things are blowing up and it’s got the comedic relief. So, I really enjoyed it. I think everyone will too. So yeah. Thanks for stopping by.
This has been fun. Thank you,
Jon Heder: Melissa. It was it was awesome. It was my pleasure and this kind of stuff. Awesome.
Melissa: You too. And if you want to come back in the future to talk about the secret projects that you can talk about, we’d love to have you back. All
Jon Heder: right. Will do.
Melissa: All right, hold on one sec.