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Published on June 22nd, 2008 | by simeon

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Kal Penn Talks The Namesake and Harold and Kumar 2

Recently I had the chance to interview Kal Penn about his film “The Namesake” as well as his pending projects such as the new Harold and Kumar film.

GVK: What attracted you to the part and what did you do to prepare for the role?

K: I had read the book a few years before the film was made, and that was actually the impetus behind pursuing the film project so aggressively. Jhumpa has created such awesome and intimate details about Gogol’s life and who he is, it was a treat to have that manuscript to refer to every day as we shot the film. It reminded me of “Catcher in the Rye” in a lot of ways. In terms of research, I studied up on architecture, visited Yale and Columbia (where Gogol went to school), and learned and experienced as much as I could from his life.

GVK: . Where there moments in the film you could relate to and if so, what where they?

K: I think there are moments in the film that everyone can relate to: spending time with your parents, going away to college, having your first love-interest, being alone.

GVK: What were some of your more memorable experiences making the film?

K: The entire process is memorable to me. “The Namesake” is the most challenging and my favorite project I’ve had the chance to work on so far.

GVK: You have blended comedy and drama in your recent work, do you have a preference for one and if so, which one?

K: I enjoy both, because they each have something special to offer.

GVK: As a follow up, which one do you find harder and why?

K: That depends on the specific project, not the genre.

GVK: What did you learn from working with Director Mira Nair and how was your experience working with her?

K: Mira was a role model of mine, and has been ever since I saw “Mississippi Masala”. Her eye for storytelling and conveying the human spirit is so unique and positive. I hope we get t work together again.

GVK: In what ways are you and Gogol alike and different?

K Gogol and I are both from the east coast, both Americans born to Indian-American parents, and both bilingual; in that sense, we share a certain experience and history. But personality-wise, we couldn’t have been further apart – Gogol is quiet and subdued, whereas I tend to be a little more gregarious.

GVK: What do you hope people who watch this film take away from it?

K: To me the film is a very American story that’s ultimately about family. I hope it reconnects people with the folks they love.

GVK: What can you tell the readers about the return of Kumar and will we see you in the next Superman film? Also, I was asked to see if there was any chance we could see Taj again in the future?

K: As far as I know, both Taj and Stanford are not planning on making any returns. The new “Harold and Kumar” film opens April 25th!

Thank you,


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