The world was Jared Hess‘ oyster after Napoleon Dynamite became a surprise hit and minor pop culture phenomenon in 2004. Unfortunately he used his points to make Nacho Libre and followed that up with the lackluster Gentleman Broncos, before circling back to a Napoleon Dynamite animated series on Fox. The shine has surely worn off, but the oyster shell has not snapped shut just yet. Producer Scott Rudin (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close) hired Hess to direct The Pet, a family comedy that Disney has been developing since 2007. Based on an original idea from Matt Lieberman—who recently signed on to the Short Circuit reboot—The Pet follows “a man who’s abducted by aliens, taken to their planet and turned into a family pet.”
The latest draft is by Tim Dowling (This Means War), but Variety makes it sound like Hess will take over the script from here on out. If so, Hess will likely turn to wife and longtime collaborator Jerusha Hess for help on the script. To my knowledge, this will be Hess’ first time directing material from an outside source. I don’t know that this fact will freshen up his idiosyncratic style, but it can’t hurt to try.