In anticipation of “Harold and Kumar: Escape From Guantanamo Bay,” we had the sat down with part of the film’s cast for an interview. The following is a part what took place.
Torch: How did the sequel come about?
Kal Penn: It was put on hold for a while. Even after it was green-lit, we didn’t know for a long time whether we were going to make a second one or not. It wasn’t a total surprise, but when I finally got the script it was definitely a very pleasant surprise.
Hayden Schlossberg: It was two years after the first movie came out. The studio was aware about the DVD success and they told us to do the sequel. And it was funny because at the time, for some sort of contractual reason they needed the production company to get this script in at a certain time or else they wouldn’t get the rights to it. So we had three weeks to write the script and we handed it in at exactly two years ago today, 4/20.
Jon Hurwitz: When we wrote the first “Harold & Kumar” we always wanted to make more of them.
Torch: Any plans to show a screening at Guantanamo?
KP: Not that I know of, but on that same note, I love what Amnesty International is doing. They’re doing this campaign where they’re encouraging folks to print out these fliers and when they go see “Harold & Kumar” with their friends, make sure everyone gets this link to their website to get educated on the Geneva Conventions and what the real Guantanamo really is.
Torch: Would you like to do more projects like “The Namesake?” That’s a big draw.
KP: I would really like to. There’s this great book I read called “Gang Leader for a Day.” I heard they’re turning it into a film and I would love to play the lead. I like doing comedy and drama. “The Namesake” remains my most favorite, most challenging role that I’ve had to play. And I would love to continue doing that.
Torch: What did you think of the backstory?
KP: It is a hell of a backstory, and Josh and Hayden are incredible at that sort of stuff. I think the only thing we knew shooting the first one is that Harold & Kumar went to Columbia University and that they’re smart guys and you really didn’t know much else. I love that you find out about Kumar’s ex-girlfriend.
Torch: Were you nervous at all going into the sequel?
NPH: Well they just went so extreme with the first and I just didn’t ever know just how far they would end up taking it. I was worried that the first film was going to get even crazier and bizarre, and I would have regretted signing on, so I made sure, legally, that anything that had to do with me in the first film went through me if there were any changes made.
Torch: Are there any limits to this fictional NPH? Or limits to what you would do?
NPH: The only thing I wouldn’t want to do is be disrespectful to anything I’ve done in the past. I appreciate the reverence that the guys have, but I would never want to be in a position in these movies where I think I’m so impressive that I would belittle “Doogie Howser” or any of the work that I’ve done.
Torch: With your theater background, would you want to return for more?
NPH: I would love to. Unfortunately, “How I Met Your Mother” is like 7.5 months a year and so that just doesn’t leave enough months left to commit to any new shows. I suppose I could hop into a show that’s already running, which I’ve done a few times. But the last one was Cabaret and that was such a great role shift, and I sort of feel like I don’t really want to necessarily hop into a role that someone else has played.