Jon Heder: Mormonism Prevented Taking Raunchy Roles


While Napoleon and Deb share a sweet (and bizarre) romance, the indie flick "Napoleon Dynamite" for the most part showed more exposed gum line than hemline. The film, by and large, was devoid of any sort of sex appeal, defying teen comedy standards to launch Jon Heder to stardom.

Heder starred in a flurry of films after that, including Will Ferrell's "Blades of Glory," but turned down far more roles than he accepted. Having proved he could make it without the carnal story lines, he made sure to avoid them going forward.

"I did get a lot of offers, especially back then, of stuff that I’m not comfortable with," he told Vulture on Tuesday. "A lot of the projects just seemed too raunchy. Quite honestly, a lot of it was that: the raunch factor. I’ve never been interested in doing those kinds of projects."

One of the guiding lights that Heder followed while navigating his suddenly booming career was his Mormon religion, he said.

"Absolutely it comes from how I was raised. It’s just kind of who I am," he said. "These are the standards I live by and whatever comes my way in the future, whether filmmaking or animation or whatever, I’m going to do my best to live by those standards."

In fact, Heder has long made his stance on the issue public; back in 2005, at the height of his powers, he put out the word that he would be avoiding all the sorts of indecent proposals he was receiving.

"It's simply about knowing who you are and sticking to what you believe in," he told Time Magazine. "Sometimes there's language issues. I'm not interested in sexual content."

In 2007, he told the newspaper of his alma mater, BYU, that he once got into a fight over a raunchy scene with a director.

"I finally came to the decision and told them, 'Look, it's either me or this scene. If you're going to keep the scene in, then I am going to have to say no,'" Heder remembered; the scene was cut and Heder stayed employed.

For more from Heder, including discussion about the new animated version of "Napoleon Dynamite," click over to Vulture.

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