Heder Inks Dynamite Deal at Universal

Napoleon Dynamite star and computer animator Jon Heder and his two brothers have signed a first-look development deal with Universal Pictures. The siblings have set up their own shingle, Greasy Ent., at the studio and will hatch animated and live-action productions.

Heder and his identical twin, Dan, each received degrees in computer animation from Bringham Young University and had been dreaming of launching their own production company for some time. While Jon has been busy starring in a string of comedies, Dan has been working at Sony Pictures Imageworks as a character animator on Disney’s and Wadlen Media’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Sony’s upcoming animated Monster House. Doug, the eldest of the three, has been producing skateboarding videogames under Activision’s Tony Hawk franchise.

In addition to making live-action knee slappers such as his upcoming Will Ferrell collaboration, Blades of Glory, Jon Heder will be a featured voice in Sony Animation’s Surf’s Up, a CG-animated comedy that goes behind the scenes of the competitive world of professional penguin surfing. His character, Chicken Joe, has mastered the 12-inch swells of Lake Michigan and feels he’s ready for some monster waves in the movie, which is slated to hit theaters in the summer of 2007.