The star of the cult hit "Napoleon Dynamite" said making the film gave him the chance to "celebrate the nerd within me."
Jon Heder, who plays the film's curly haired, awkward namesake, appeared with Aaron Ruell, who plays Napoleon's older brother Kip, at Ohio Wesleyan University in nearby Columbus Sunday.
They said they could relate to the movie, which follows Idaho outcasts trying to find their place in the world.
"We created Kip and Napoleon from ourselves and from people we knew and experiences we had," said Heder, 27. "It was fun to celebrate the nerd within me."
The movie's low budget — it was made for $400,000 over 22 days — forced the cast and crew to improvise.
"All of our clothing came from thrift stores or Wal-Mart, and we did our own stunts," said Ruell, 29.
"Napoleon Dynamite" grossed more than $45 million at the box office and has made more than $104 million in DVD sales.
The movie also has opened new opportunities for Heder and Ruell, both Mormons who met at Brigham Young University's film school.
Heder stars alongside Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo in "Just Like Heaven," which is to be released Sept. 16. Ruell is working on an untitled feature film that he wrote and will direct.