Jared and Jerusha Hess don’t want to be stereotyped.
They acknowledge the fact that their first movie, “Napoleon Dynamite,” has given Hollywood studios a good idea of what to expect from them: offbeat comedies about misfits. And though their latest film — “Gentlemen Broncos,” which they co-wrote — comes from a similar perspective, there’s a reason for that.
“We both moved around a lot as kids, and we both came from huge families,” says Jared, 30. “We’ve always identified with the outsider, the kind of person who’s never comfortable in their environment and finds it difficult to adapt.”
In “Broncos,” Benjamin (Michael Angarano of “The Forbidden Kingdom”), homeschooled by his mother, is an endearing loner whose passion for writing leads him on a wild journey as his story first gets ripped off by the legendary fantasy novelist, Ronald Chevalier (Jemaine Clement of “Flight of the Conchords”) and then is adapted into a disastrous movie by the small town’s most prolific filmmaker.
Neither Jared nor Jerusha, 29, were familiar with Clement prior to his starring role in “Conchords,” but they both became fans after watching the comedy series, which is about two New Zealanders attempting to succeed as folk rockers in New York.
But Jared wasn’t sure he’d have time for “Broncos.”
“We were such big fans of the show, but a lot of the time you have to rule out TV people because they’re so busy with filming,” Jared says. “But we sent him the script and he was incredibly enthusiastic. ‘I’ll do it, man, whatever you want, man.’ He bent over backwards to accommodate us.”
When writing the movie, Jared and Jerusha didn’t have Clement in mind for the role. But watching “Conchords” convinced them that he was right for the part.
“It’s nice to have a voice for a character,” Jerusha says. “Whenever we write, I envision an actor to inhabit that person. We weren’t familiar with Jemaine prior to ‘Flight of the Conchords,’ but as soon as we saw him, we knew he was right for Chevalier. And it turned out perfectly.”