MILWAUKEE — How long ago do you think Napoleon Dynamite came out? If you asked me, I’d have said about seven or eight years ago. Would you believe the film is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and the party is coming to Milwaukee?
Beloved Actor and DJ Efren Ramirez, who starred as Pedro in the cult classic, joined us on Wisconsin’s Morning News to reflect on the film’s success, his character’s prominence and the upcoming anniversary tour.
“We do a whole musical number,” Efren Ramirez told Wisconsin’s Morning News. “There’s a time machine. Lasers. We reenact some of the scenes.”
Of all the iconic characters from the 2004 film, Pedro is among the most memorable for his comedic, monotone delivery and excellent line delivery. But why do so many people resonate with his portrayal?
“Pedro is a character that a lot of people on this planet love and embrace because he kind of leads with hope,” he explained.
Actors Jon Heder [Napoleon] and Jon Greis [Uncle Rico] are also part of the roadshow, which is touring the country and landing at Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater on January 20th. The film’s massive popularity was not something Ramirez foresaw when auditioning for the part more than two decades ago.
“I read pages of the script, and I was like, ‘I don’t get this. What is this?'” Ramirez told us.
He credited his fellow actors for bringing the other characters to life. Once he saw how they played off each other and used expert comedic timing to land these jokes on-screen, Ramirez knew they were onto something.
“Every day when we’d work on the set we would be laughing at some of these scenes,” the actor said.
I’ve interviewed plenty of actors who’ve played iconic characters. Some seem to resent the fame they’ve gained for that one role. They’d rather talk about other work and put a character from decades ago behind them.
Not Ramirez. He loves Pedro and loves that people love Pedro.
“I embrace it with a lot of love. It’s great. I’m grateful.”
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