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article imageJohn Cho & Kal Penn celebrate 'A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas' Special

By Earl Dittman     Feb 7, 2012 in Entertainment
In the hilarious comedy duo's third film together, filmed in 3D, the pair give new meaning to the holidays. Cho & Penn talk about their favorite Christmas flicks, strange 3D effects and if there will be another Harold & Kumar holiday film.
In case you were busy shopping this past Christmas, John Cho and Kal Penn were spending their time reprising and promoting their title roles in A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (now on Blu-ray/DVD), the sequel to 2008's Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay and the cinematic grandchild of the film that launched the Harold & Kumar franchise -- Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle in 2004. This time around, though, to really celebrate Christmas, H&K motion picture Number Three is the first to highlight Harold and Kumar's outrageous escapades in 3D. As we all know, it would not be a Harold & Kumar movie without John Cho as Harold Lee and Kal Penn as his best bud Kumar Patel. Of course, the Harold & Kumar movie wouldn't be as outrageous and shocking without the talents of How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris, who returns along with Paula Garces (Defying Gravity) as Maria; Danneel Harris (The Roommate) as Vanessa; Bobby Lee (Pineapple Express) as Kenneth Park; and Tom Lennon (I Love You Man) as Harold's new best friend, Todd.
Cho and Penn celebrate Christmas
Cho and Penn celebrate Christmas
Warner Bros
In the latest H&K sequel, following years of growing apart, Harold Lee (Cho) and Kumar Patel (Penn) have replaced each other with new friends and are preparing for their respective Yuletide celebrations. But when a mysterious package mistakenly arrives at Kumar’s door on Christmas Eve, his attempt to redirect it to Harold’s house ends with the "high grade" contents – and Harold’s father-in-law’s prize Christmas tree – going up in smoke. With his in-laws out of the house for the day, Harold decides to cover his tracks, rather than come clean. Reluctantly embarking on another ill-advised journey with Kumar through New York City, their search for the perfect replacement tree takes them through party heaven – and almost blows Christmas Eve sky high.
In reality, between filming the latest Harold & Kumar movie, the duo have been busy working on their own solo projects. South Korean-born John Cho has recently finished filming a major role in the Total Recall remake and is currently filming the sequel to the second Star Trek motion picture, reprising his role as Hikaru Sulu. The first Star Trek big screen redux was such a major hit, it helped to turn Cho and the entire cast of newcomers into instant, highly-visible stars in Tinsel Town. On the other end of the spectrum, the New Jersey-born Kal Penn wasn't doing too shabby for himself either. Between indie roles, Penn became a primetime household name thanks to his role on House (opposite Hugh Laurie), in which he portrayed Dr. Laurence Kutner.
Since the Harold & Kumar trilogy has proven to be quite a lucrative film franchise, are there plans for Cho and Penn to team up for a fourth comrdy flick? "I don't know if we used up all of the holidays to spoof already," Penn admits. "Maybe we can do Columbus Day." Since John Cho has been on the Starship Enterprise recently and has been spending a lot of time in various galaxies lately, he suggests a film title like Harold & Kumar Go To Outer Space. "I think it would be kind of cool, we would have fun in space." Penn rolls his eyes. "He just wants to let everybody know he is in the new Star Trek movie, he's not fooling anyone," Penn says. "I mean, why not have Harold & Kumar in a clinic helping out a doctor like House?" So, what is the tentative Verdict? "It all depends on well the new movie does before they decide on a fourth one," Cho says. "But I know we would both like to do another one."
John Cho  Neil Patrick Harris and Kal Penn in A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
John Cho, Neil Patrick Harris and Kal Penn in A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
Warner Bros
Okay, guys, what are some of your own favorite Christmas movies?
Kal Penn: "My two favorites are A Christmas Story and a lot of the claymation stuff we would watch as kids. That psyched me up the most."
John Cho: "Die Hard. Walking across glass in your bare feet could have been cool. I’m going to throw The Godfather in as a good Christmas movie. ’Cause there’s shopping."
KP: "Home Alone."
JC: "Never saw that one."
KP: "What?"
JC: "I never saw Home Alone."
KP: "Yeah, you did."
JC: "I never saw Home Alone!"
KP: "Dude, let’s watch Home Alone tonight!"
JC: "What else is a good Christmas movie?"
KP: "A Muppet Christmas Carol."
JC: "Yeah. Good, good."
KP: "We have very different tastes."
JC: "Tree Of Life."
KP: "No."
JC: "Hmm. Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down?"
John Cho and Kal Penn in A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
John Cho and Kal Penn in A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
Warner Bros
Was there a feeling of reunion on the set of A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas?
JC: "Absolutely. I think it’d been a few years. How many years?"
KP: "Four-ish?"
JC: "I think the feeling was enhanced by the things that had happened in our personal lives. He left the business to go work at the White House. I had a baby. Jon Hurwitz, one of the writers, had a child. Neil had come out. There was all this stuff happening in Neil’s career. It felt like we had gone to another chapter and had to address the passage of time in the movie."
KP: "We had a three picture deal, at the studio’s discretion, obviously, when I signed on. When I was taking a sabbatical, I said, 'I’m taking a two year sabbatical.' And after the first year they said, 'We’re doing this movie.' And I obviously had an obligation, so I went off, and luckily had the chance to finish my two years after that. Which was of course a blast. I loved being able to play a ridiculous character like this."
JC: "I became a cobbler."
KP: "That would have been so tight."
JC: "And then I got a degree studying James Franco."
KP: "Wow, that’s crazy what you just said. Because James Franco is getting a degree."
JC: "What, he is?"
KP: "Yes, a Ph.D."
JC: "Amazing."
John Cho and Kal Penn in A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
John Cho and Kal Penn in A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
Warner Bros
So what felt different this time around?
KP: "Well, a couple of things. What I thought was really cool, and I think all of us did, was that the first two movies take place about a minute apart from each other, and this one is six years later in the lives of the characters. The characters’ lives, just like ours, have changed a little bit. And that was really fun to play, because this is probably the character I know best from having to play him over seven years. And he’s changed quite a bit. That was just a cool experience."
JC: "It was different in the sense that, content-wise, we were doing a very traditional story. I know it doesn’t seem traditional. (laughs) But we were making a satire, like we did in the second one. The first one was about a really small goal, and this one felt bigger and therefore more cinematically traditional. It felt like we were more closely adhering to cinematic convention, oddly enough."
KP: "I loved shooting this thing in Detroit and having the chance to live in Detroit for three months. There’s so much art and culture, and people were super-nice. A lot of our crewmembers were guys who used to be autoworkers and were able to get hired due to tax breaks for the film industry. It was just a really nice, friendly, fun vibe. The first two movies were fun to shoot also, but there’s a certain camaraderie on our set that I felt was a lot of fun to have."
JC: "It was a lot of fun to witness from my gold trailer."
KP: "That’s so weird that you had a gold trailer."
JC: "I witnessed camaraderie."
KP: "I’ve been meaning to ask you why it was gold."
Did you like the fact that it had 3D effects in it?
JC: "Yeah, it’s pretty cool. Did you see it in 3D? Did you enjoy the 3D semen?"
Neil Patrick Harris  Christmas song and dance number
Neil Patrick Harris' Christmas song and dance number
Warner Bros
There was 3D semen?
KP: "Yeah!"
JC: "That was tough for even me."
KP: "This is obviously not a big-budget action movie, so the stuff you see in 3D is not stuff you’ll see in 3D anywhere else. I also felt like it heightened the audience’s connection to the characters. So, hopefully it heightens the experience for the audience."
JC: "The 3D is cool because the first two movies were real DVD favorites, and I hope that people, as a result, enjoy this movie in the theater. Drink what you want, smoke what you want, and go to the movie and enjoy it with other people, in the dark, as it’s meant to be seen. Money had to be invested in generating the semen, because that’s not real semen."
KP: "What do you mean?"
JC: "He didn’t really masturbate on set."
KP: "But it’s in the movie."
JC: "But it’s not real. Just because it’s in a movie doesn’t mean it’s real."
KP: "What?"
JC: "I said, just because it’s in the movie doesn’t mean it’s real."
KP: "But what do you mean?"
JC: "Some things are fiction."
KP: "But I thought. Harold, come on!"
John Cho and Kal Penn in A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
John Cho and Kal Penn in A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
Warner Bros
Why do you think other comedies haven’t invested in over the top 3D effects since the revival of 3D?
JC: "Because it doesn’t make sense! It’s expensive. It costs extra money. I would actually think it’s probably hard to, it’s a bit of trick to keep people laughing and aware of the effects. You never lose complete sight of the fact that you’re watching a movie with another dimension."
KP: "I think it’s also the type of -- these guys, they get into crazy situations, there’s a lot of insanity in there, but the humor is rarely cynical. There’s always a heart or a good-naturedness to it. I think having that in 3D as opposed to gags where people are sort of being put down is a very different experience to feel connected to. Wouldn’t you say?"
JC: "Yeah, I agree. I think to maximize the 3D effect you have to have boobies."
KP: "Well, yeah. We do."
JC: "And we do. They always have boobs. We don’t have breasts, we have boobies. Do you know what I mean? There’s a difference."
KP: "Yeah. This is a flick, it’s not a film."
JC: "Yeah, right. And you’re an actor."
John Cho and Kal Penn in A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
John Cho and Kal Penn in A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
Warner Bros
About your costar Danny Trejo, how do you feel his character, Harold’s father-in-law, measures up to the franchise’s previous antagonists in terms of intimidation?
KP: "Kumar, in this movie, doesn’t interact with Danny Trejo as much, and that’s actually a cause of tension between the characters, because I don’t have the ability to understand Harold’s relationship with Maria and Maria’s dad, because Kumar’s not married. The way that Harold is intimidated by Danny Trejo, who is an intimating man, Kumar doesn’t experience that."
JC: "Well, there was Big Bob in the second one."
KP: "Yeah, nothing compares to Big Bob."
JC: "Big Bob is pretty big."
KP: "Pretty big?!"
JC: "Well, he was about to stuff our faces with his genitalia. Trejo’s pretty threatening. I feel like anyone who’s able to endure that much needle on his skin just has a pain threshold that’s way higher than yours, so that’s scary. He has gorgeous hair, though. Let it be known."
JC: "Let it be clear, if you want to see a beautiful mane in all three glorious dimensions, go see our movie."
In the movie, Harris suggests that there’s going to be a fourth Harold & Kumar, what other holiday do you think is worthy?
KP: "A holiday? Thanksgiving would be awesome, but they probably wouldn’t do it because it’s too close to Christmas."
JC: "Labor Day."
KP: "Diwali would be huge, but that’s too fringe. Ramadan would just mean that Harold and Kumar would hate each other again, because they’d be cranky because they haven’t eaten. No fasting holidays, is my point. I’ve always wanted to play an astronaut, so I hope they make Harold & Kumar Go To Outer Space, which I think people who are reading this would hate. Some of us have already been to outer space."
Untitled
Warner Bros
JC: "You almost went English."
KP: "Some of us have already been to outer space. I was in Star Trek, the movie, and I'm doing another one now. I don’t even need the astronaut costume."
KP: "Don’t know, don’t care."
A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD with an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the standard definition theatrical version of the film - Bonus Features: Extended Cut; "Extra Dope Edition – Extended Cut Feature (Presented in 2D)"; "Through the Haze with Tom Lennon"; "Bringing Harold & Kumar Claymation to Life" and Deleted Scenes. For more on A Harold & Kumar Christmas visit the Official Website at http://haroldandkumar.warnerbros.com/index.html - To view the trailer, click to http://youtu.be/1rFatzGdbdU or or watch Neil Patrick Harris read minds n the scene "NPH Comes Back" at http://youtu.be/CNu9J5V3Sgg
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