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Danny Leiner, Kal Penn and John Cho Interview

From "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle"


Were you happy to not have to put on the thick accent for this role?
KAL PENN: No, I love that stereotypical, racist, degrading accent that I have to put on. No, absolutely. It was very refreshing. I don’t believe that an accent always necessarily signifies something racist but inevitably in most Hollywood movies having an accent means that the character tends to be one-dimensional. A lot of times the accent is used to mask bad writing or to go with an easy joke. It’s obviously, not having to do an accent especially to play a young Indian person who grew up in this country, that’s most of us. When you have an accent that features younger people, it tends to perpetuate this concept of otherness. You know, “You’re not like us. You are totally foreign.” There’s a negativity that’s associated with that. So to not have to do the accent was positive for those reasons, and also just as an actor to play a character that’s three-dimensional like this, that’s fun, that’s more me who goes through this journey with his best friend in what’s, to me, the All-American road trip movie is very refreshing.

Will there be another “Van Wilder?”
KAL PENN: We’ll see. I got an email recently from somebody that said they’re thinking about doing one. It was interesting. I wonder…

What are you working on next?
DANNY LEINER: I’m in post-production on a movie called “The Great New Wonderful,” which is a $500,000 high-def movie I shot in New York. It takes place a year after 9/11. It’s five separate stories, [and features an] ensemble cast with Maggie Gyllenhaal, Edie Falco, Tony Shalhoub, Olympia Dukakis, Stephen Colbert, and Judy Greer.


DANNY LEINER: That’s right, baby.

JOHN CHO: It’s a disaster. A casting disaster.

KAL PENN: Why would you cast so many newcomers in a movie?

DANNY LEINER: Well, I wanted to give them a shot. It’s a great cast and I’m really excited. It has some comedic elements in it. It’s hard to describe. It’s both comedic and dark and serious, and it’s kind of an interesting movie.

And you two?
KAL PENN: (Speaking for John) Ah, he’s got a show coming out on NBC called “The Men’s Room” - it’s a sitcom - this fall. He also did a movie called “See This Movie” and another movie called “Synergy,” both with the Weitz Brothers who also produced it.

JOHN CHO: (Speaking for Kal) Kal is in “The Son of the Mask,” which is not really a sequel, it’s more of a franchise film. Then we’ve got “A Lot Like Love” starring Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet – who’s hot. Then he’s got a darker in tone movie called “Dancing in Twilight.” That’s an independent drama so look for it at your next festival.

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