‘Dynamite’ star does more than comedy

David Bolger

New comedy has movie star expanding his film roles

Efren Ramirez is Jorge in Employee of the Month. PHOTO COURTESY OF LIONS GATE FILMS

Credit: Steve Schirra

Efren Ramirez is known mainly for his breakout role in Napoleon Dynamite and, though he is starring in another comedy, out this week, he wants to prove he’s a multifaceted actor who can do more than just make people laugh.

In his latest role, Ramirez co-stars with comedian Dane Cook, Dax Shepard (Without A Paddle) and Jessica Simpson (Dukes of Hazzard) in Employee of the Month, which will be in theaters Friday. In the movie, Ramirez’s character assists Vince, played by Dax Shepard, in his quest to get the girl.

“My character’s name is ‘Jorge,’ ” Ramirez explained, “and he (is) sort of like the sidekick, the little guy who gets picked on … but I loved playing the character, I get to do a lot more … physical comedy – which is great, you just don’t see it enough. Anyone can laugh at a person getting hit in the head with a baseball bat.”

In addition to the big names, the movie also co-stars a lot of lesser known but talented comedians such as Andy Dick and Half Baked co-star Harland Williams.

“It was great working with all these different comedic actors. I really learned a lot and had a great time doing it,” Ramirez said. “All these different personalities made it very, very interesting to come to work everyday, and we laughed constantly. When you’re working to get a movie done, especially toward the end, you show up in the morning and work for maybe 12 or 14 hours a day, which can sometimes get tedious, so it’s really great when you work with a good crew like I did.”

Ramirez is also working as a producer on a documentary called After School, which focuses on the causes and effects of the growing trend of sexual relationships between teachers and students in America.

Ramirez wasn’t afraid that the documentary would not be taken seriously because his most famous role is Pedro, and many would not expect him to be involved in something so heavy.

“I think the issues speak for themselves,” Ramirez quickly replied, as if he had been asked this question before. “If you believe strongly in what you are doing, if you are proud of it, people will see that. It’s reflected in the quality of the product you’re backing. I want to be involved in every aspect of film: writing, producing, and acting. And I believe very strongly that issues addressed in After School need to be addressed.”

Ramirez added, “I’m best known for making people laugh. That’s what I do best, but that isn’t all I do. I’m an actor.”

Contact ALL correspondent David Bolger at [email protected].