Napoleon Dynamite, Pedro, and Uncle Rico are coming to the Patchogue Theatre

Efren Ramirez talks with the Long Island Advance


Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts is hosting a live discussion with Jon Heder, Napoleon; Efren Ramirez, Pedro; and Jon Gries, Uncle Ricco; on Friday, April 14. Tickets are on sale now, though are selling out quickly.

The unique evening includes a full screening of “Napoleon Dynamite” followed by a lively, freewheeling, moderated discussion with the fan-favorite cast members. People are also eligible to add on a meet-and-greet with the cast members for $75.

The beloved indie classic “Napoleon Dynamite” was made nearly 20 years ago. Since then, much has changed; but the characters, as enduring as they are endearing, stay in our hearts. According to the theatre, the movie appeals to the inner teenager in each of us. The story, and more importantly, the dialogue, makes “Napoleon Dynamite’’ one of the most quoted movies of our time. “Napoleon Dynamite” makes us laugh—and laugh hard—over and over again.

Tickets are on sale from $59 to $79. The show starts at 8 p.m. For more information visit

Q&A with Ramirez

Efren suggested those who attend the show dress up as their favorite character. He said people have showed up with piñatas and footballs.  “I am happy after 20 years, it’s still going strong,” he said.

Long Island Advance: What was one of your favorite roles?

Ramirez: I think they are all great, different experiences. I don’t know, it’s so difficult. Some actors are always playing the same thing and that’s who they are, like Kevin Hart, he’s funny and you always know it’s going to be Kevin Hart. Then there’s actors like Denzel Washington and Daniel Day-Lewis, who really lose themselves into the characters that they play. From Light Year to Dynamite to Crank, you’re living in different worlds through these different lives, and it’s amazing. Sometimes [my characters] have this amazing life and sometimes I am like, “Holy bananas, I do not want that life.”

Long Island Advance:  What was it like to work on “Napoleon Dynamite”?

Ramirez: I booked “Napoleon” because it was lead role and it was a character in an independent film, and I was like, this is why I am doing acting. I had no idea when I showed up to this small town, I was excited to do the role, but when I got on set I was like, “Holy moly, do I know what I am doing?” One of cool things [was] that because as the director and his wife wrote the film and most of the cast and crew knew each other, it was just college students. When I got casted for the film, I got along with everyone and we became a family. We all really liked the film and the scenes were really funny, because we believed it to be true. I really thought the really sweet jump trick on the bike [I did] was like 5 feet up off the ground, but it was only about 6 inches.

Long Island Advance:  Do fans still call you Pedro on the street?

Ramirez: Yeah, it’s nuts. I can go anywhere around the world and people recognize me, which is kind of cool. I get free hot dogs and free popcorn. I think one of the fortunes of playing the character was that he was so loved and welcomed by everybody.

Long Island Advance:  What was it like getting into character for that role?

Ramirez: You have to find something that is relatable. It was the first day of school and you have to get acclimated, see who you know and see how you get along with new students. Pedro ended up making friends with a guy with a big ‘fro and big glasses, and they get along and find things that are relatable for each other. The one thing we love about Pedro, it is his hope and his optimism that really lead him to find something greater beyond himself.

Long Island Advance: What are your goals for the future? Next project?

Ramirez: I have three films coming out: “Pale Face,” a drama; “Seven Cemeteries,” which is so uniquely different; and “Satanic Hispanic,” which is really eerie.

Long Island Advance: Are you proud to represent your culture? Do you still have family back in El Salvador?

Ramirez: I have family in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Mexico… and Texas. I see a lot of Latinos and they look at me, and they’re like, “Dude—hey, we’re family!” One of the wonderful things about “Napoleon Dynamite” is it brings family together, of all types. It’s something the whole family can sit and enjoy watching together; all races and all ethnicities can relate. It’s pretty sweet being a part of that, and being able to be embraced by everyone in both English and Spanish.

Long Island Advance: Are you excited to come to Patchogue? Have you been on Long Island before?

Ramirez: I have been to Long Island, but never to Patchogue. I like theatre and the classic stages and the history about it.  I am looking forward to exploring the town. I want to tell everybody to do good and be good, and you better show up with your sweet skills.


Efren Ramirez has been working as a professional actor for the entirety of his adult life.  Initially, his career consisted of guest appearances on television, as he appeared in diverse character roles on “E.R.” “American Dad,” “Judging Amy,” “The District,” “Boston Public” And “Scrubs.”

However, it was his memorable portrayal of Pedro in the feature film “Napoleon Dynamite” that dramatically launched what has become a hugely prolific acting career with an unusually diverse series of performances in film, television, drama, comedy… every imaginable medium and genre.

In the years since that film was released, Efren Ramirez has appeared in scores of films and network television shows including leading roles in the HBO film “Walkout,” with Edward James Olmos, “Employee of the Month” opposite Dane Cook and Dax Shepard, “Crank” and “Crank High Voltage” opposite Jason Statham (playing his own twin brother in the sequel), “Gamer” with Gerard Butler, “When In Rome” with Kristen Bell, “House Of My Father” opposite Will Farrell, HBO’s “Eastbound and Down” with Danny McBride, “Middle School” with Lauren Graham and Andy Daly, “Ice” with Jeremy Sisto, “Perpetual Grace Ltd” with Sir Ben Kingsley, and “Monsters Of God” with Garret Dillahunt, and “FBI Most Wanted” with Dillon Mcdermott.  Efren’s range of voiceover work consists of countless characters in such animated series as “Bordertown,” “The Casagrande’s,” “Robot Chicken,” “American Dad” and the animated series of “Napoleon Dynamite.”

Most recently Efren has appeared in the HBO MAX series “Made For Love” and stars in the upcoming films “7 Cemeteries,” “Paleface,” and “The Traveler.”  You can presently find him in Disney/Pixar’s highly anticipated animated film, “Lightyear” playing Airman Diaz opposite Chris Evans.

Efren Ramirez currently resides in Los Angeles and New York. When he isn’t filming, he is spinning records as a guest D.J. across the country. He has published his first book “Direct Your Own Life.” He has participated in a USO tour visiting our troops around the world.  He frequently speaks to students at high schools and universities.


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