March 15, 2007
Written by C.N.
Remember Indian American actor Kal Penn, who played Kumar in the iconic movie Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle? Apparently, he’s been pretty busy and it’s been paying off — as ABC News reports, he is starring in a new movie adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel The Namesake and is emerging as one of the most prominent Asian American actors these days:
In “The Namesake,” the new movie based on Pulitzer Prize-winner Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel, Penn plays Gogol Ganguli, an Indian-American who struggles with his funny-sounding name and relationship with his immigrant parents.
As one of a handful of Indian actors working regularly in American TV and film, Penn’s face is becoming increasingly familiar. Squaring off with Sutherland’s Jack Bauer on “24″ exposed him to a new audience and style of acting. . . . A brown-skinned actor picked to play a terrorist can’t help but raise questions about typecasting. But Penn was quick to dismiss suggestions that his ethnicity influenced his feelings about the role.
He said he’s been training for this moment since middle school — the opportunity to work with the best of the best in front of, and behind, the camera. . . . But Penn’s not about to stop making his fan base laugh. He’s currently in Shreveport, La,. filming the sequel to “Harold and Kumar,” in which the duo attempts to take their misadventures to the promised land of pot — Amsterdam.
I think I may be the only member of the 40-and-under male demographic group that does not watch “24.” At any rate, Kal Penn seems to be forging a nice career for himself and for Asian American actors in general — playing non-stereotypical roles and complex characters. I’ll certainly be on the lookout for both The Namesake and the Harold and Kumar sequel when they come out, as I’m sure many other Asian Americans will too.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Kal Penn’s New Movie" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2007/03/kal-penn-new-movie/> ().
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