On Sunday at New York Comic Con, writer/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg joined stars Kal Penn and Neil Patrick Harris to give fans a sneak peak at the second film in the “Harold & Kumar” franchise.
Fresh off their visit to White Castle, stoner heroes Harold and Kumar are soon to be reunited in New Line Cinema’s “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay,” in which the titular characters are accused of being terrorists and set out on an epic journey to prove their innocence. On Sunday afternoon at this year’s New York Comic-Con, actor Brad Blank moderated a panel with Kumar himself, Kal Penn, Neil Patrick Harris, and writer/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. Since Sunday was Kids Day at NYCC, the preview footage kicked off with a disclaimer warning the audience about adult content. This was met by tumultuous applause. The irony of the “Harold & Kumar” panel taking place on 4/20 wasn’t lost on anyone.
Both writers were fans of '80s sequels that picked up right where the previous filmed left off, and that was their impetus to begin “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” mere hours after the titular heroes ate their burgers and the end of the previous installment. We rejoin the duo on a passenger plane on their way to Amsterdam. In the aircraft lavatory, Kumar unveils a high-tech, smokeless bong. In short order, his fellow passengers mistake the bong for another four-letter b-word, and it’s all downhill from there for Harold and Kumar.
After the panelists took the stage, Hurwitz told the audience the first film in the franchise, “Harold & Kumar go to White Castle,” was not a hit in theaters, but performed tremendously well on DVD, and Hurwitz thanked the fans for their support.
Though both Cho and Penn gave excellent individual auditions, Hurwitz said he was sold when the pair first acted together. “Seeing them together, you knew it was them,” Hurwitz said. Interestingly enough, Hurwitz said, in real life Penn is more like Harold and Cho is more like Kumar.
Blank asked Hurwitz and Schlossberg what possessed the studio to allow the writers to direct the sequel to their infamous stoner comedy. “The studio must have been smoking something,” Schlossberg said.
Schlossberg said that when dealing with a theme like terrorism, it is impossible to avoid some degree of political and social commentary, but that at heart, “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” is just a “wacky, crazy adventure” like its predecessor.
Harris, who plays himself in the franchise, actually learned that he’d been written into the original script second-hand. “A friend called me and said, 'You’re in the movie, and you got to get your attorney on the phone, because it’s not good,’” Harris recounted, admitting that going into the first “Harold & Kumar,” he thought there was the distinct possibility that it would be a career destroying decision. But in the end, it turned out to be anything but. “I probably wouldn’t have been cast in 'How I met your Mother” if not for that,” Harris said. The actor went on to say that the script for the second film is “disturbing… in the great way.”
Blank prompted the panel to discuss a scene from the upcoming film that’s set in a brothel and features a woman with gravity-defying breasts. “Her name is Echo Valley,” Hurtwitz said. At 34NN, the actress has the largest breasts in America. “And she has a larger set in the fridge incase someone tops her.” Harris’ on-screen alter-ego has something of a mammary fetish, so expect to see him ogling Echo Valley’s Tits Hemmingway in the upcoming film.
In the sequel, fans will get glimpses of Harold and Kumar in their college days. Though the Harold flashback is fleeting, Hurwitz said it was one of the funniest moments in the film.
In the first film, Kumar made “sweet, sweet love to a bag of weed,” and Penn confirmed that that relationship would continue in the sequel.
Hurwitz called Rob Corddry’s turn as second in command of Homeland Security the most racist character on film since “Mississippi Burning." “But in a funny way,” the writer/director qualified.
“I think he insults every single culture,” Schlossberg confirmed.
Harris recounted a scene in which his character is almost busted by Corddry, but that the Homeland Security officer has a soft spot for “Starship Troopers.” “I dodged a bullet thanks to Verhoeven,” Harris said.
Harris said he won’t be dry humping any cars like he did in the first film, but that he will be wielding a brand with his initials, NPH.
And how did the panel feel about the possibility of doing a third “Harold & Kumar” film? “If the fans want to see a third, we’ll do it,” Schlossberg said. “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” hits theaters on Friday, April 25.
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