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GENTLEMEN BRONCOS

About The Production
Writing and producing team Jared and Jerusha Hess return to the screen with GENTLEMEN BRONCOS three years after their foray into the world of Mexican wrestling, NACHO LIBRE, and five years after their high school slacker magnum opus, NAPOLEON DYNAMITE. The Hesses are a Hollywood anomaly, creating their iconoclastic visions of misunderstood underdogs while living and working in Salt Lake City.

"Every film we've done, we've written together,” says Jared. "The process gets better as we go along. We spend a lot of time incubating our ideas. Usually we talk through it while driving around or doing everyday things. By the time we finally sit down and write it, we have a pretty good idea of where it's going. Then we go to the office and write for four or five hours a day.”

"The process is very organic,” he adds. "I don't think either of us could say who is responsible for what, because it's such a collaboration.”

According to Jerusha, "It's all advantageous. When we finally nail a scene, we make out. That in itself is enough fire to keep Jared working. Though our writing process is quite different, we share a common sense of humor.”

As in NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, the Hesses have mined their own youth for an offbeat look at an endearing underdog. "I was a kid who was really into science fiction and writing stories,” says Jared. "And Benjamin's mother, Judith, is patterned after my own mom, with a little bit of Jerusha's mother thrown in. My mom had an entrepreneurial spirit, making popcorn balls and selling them, like Judith, and she worked for a company that specialized in modest nightgowns.”

"My poor mom is mortified that we used anything from her,” says Jerusha. "But she is a funny lady, so it's impossible not to. Just like Judith, she has a keen sense of propriety and modesty. Growing up, we were not allowed to say ‘nipple' in the home. Instead we had to says ‘chest ends,' like Judith does in the movie. Between my seven brothers and Jared, that poor woman has had to put up with more body humor than one woman deserves.”

People on set commented that Jemaine Clement and Hess bore a striking resemblance, which Clement explains by saying, "I've found directors often hire people who look like them. I think Jared and Jerusha identify with the character of Benjamin.” The idea for GENTLEMEN BRONCOS had been percolating for a while, Jared says, even before the pair sat down at the computer. But once they submitted the spec script to Fox Searchlight, things moved quickly. "From the time we finished the second draft to when we started shooting was six or eight months,” he recalls.

The initial inspiration for the story came from another relative, says Jerusha. "I have a cousin that lives in Alaska who is quite the little writer. A few years back he went to a writers camp during the summer and apparently his stories were pretty gruesome. Jared and I thought it would be funny to put a character in a film who writes explicit stories while his mother is designing modest lingerie in the other room.”

Jared was also able to draw on his own high school experiences. "I never went to a writers camp like Benjamin does,” he says. "But I did go to a student thespian retreat when I lived in Kansas as a freshman in high school. I think a lot of those programs for high school students are similar.”

As one of the film's executive producers, Jerusha was on set every day, an experience she describes in her characteristic self-effacing manner. "I was there to give my supposed blessing on various elements of the film,” she says. "Jared claims that people were nervous around me because they know I call the shots in this relationship. That's doubtful though—I'm sure I just got in the way.”

For GENTLEMEN BRONCOS, the Hesses have teamed up once again with Mike White, who also produced th

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