Jared Lawrence Hess (born July 18, 1979) is an American filmmaker known for his work Napoleon Dynamite (2004) and Nacho Libre (2006), which he co-wrote and directed with his wife, Jerusha Hess. (Nacho Libre was co-written with Mike White). He also produced the video for The Postal Service’s third single, “We Will Become Silhouettes” and The Killers’ Christmas single, “Boots”.
Jared met his wife-to-be Jerusha while attending Brigham Young University’s film school. She co-wrote Napoleon Dynamite with Jared, and the film was produced and edited by classmate Jeremy Coon. The sleeper hit begin drawing Hess attention after the film screened well at the 2004 Sundance Festival. Of Napoleon, Hess said “Napoleon is a composite of myself and my younger brothers. I’ve lived with this character my whole life.”
Jared also wrote and directed a short film entitled Peluca. A prototype for Napoleon Dynamite, Peluca featured much of the same cast and plotline, including Jon Heder as Seth, “super nerd extraordinaire.”
Besides his efforts on Napoleon Dynamite and Peluca, Jared has worked as a camera assistant in a number of films and has played minor roles in a few LDS comedies. These include The Singles Ward, The R.M. and Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-day Comedy. His second movie Nacho Libre, starring Jack Black, was released on June 16, 2006.
Jared and Jerusha Hess have finished filming their newest film entitled Gentlemen Broncos. It is about a teenager who aspires to be a writer, but after attending a fantasy-writer’s convention, he finds that his idea has been stolen by an established novelist. The film stars Michael Angarano as the teenager, Jemaine Clement as the established novelist, and Sam Rockwell as the story’s fictional title character who appears in book-come-to-life sequences.
A film adaptation of Austenland is set for release in 2012.
First Published: Feb 6, 2012 – Last Updated: Jan 27, 2013