Harold and Kumar talk to The Villanovan

Maggie Mallon

Impulsively jumping on a plane en route to Amsterdam to surprise the girl you may be in love with sounds like a romantic plan found only in movies.

Well, it is indeed straight out of film.

“Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” ended with Kumar encouraging Harold to find his love interest while she was traveling abroad. Of course, to Kumar, her vacationing in Amsterdam was an added perk.

“Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” picks up as the dynamic duo prepare for their trip. On board the flight, Kumar enters the bathroom to use his smokeless bong.

He ends up being caught with the device, which is presumed to be a bomb. He and Harold are taken into custody and held at Guantanamo Bay. What follows are events that New Line Cinema describes as being “as ‘un-PC’ as it gets.”

A press day was held in New York City on April 20, appropriately enough. Writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, as well as Kal Penn (Kumar), Christopher Meloni (Grand Wizard) and Neil Patrick Harris (Neil Patrick Harris) took time to speak with The Villanovan. There wasn’t an advanced screening, but the cast and writers took the time to discuss the plot and different aspects of the film.

As Penn entered the press room 15 minutes late, he apologized.

“I was with the Pope,” he said. “He likes the movie.”

Although the first film was a box office disappointment, it surged in DVD sales.

Both Penn and John Cho (Harold) maintained ties with the writers and were continuously updated on plans for a sequel.

The working title for the sequel was “Harold and Kumar Go to Amsterdam.” That title was eventually scrapped, and the writers wanted to put a fresh and original twist on the European vacation story.

The film touches on a current issue: torture and U.S. internment camps. However, the audience shouldn’t expect a prolonged stay for the title characters in Guantanamo. For Harold and Kumar, clearing their names of a terrorism accusation becomes the focus of the movie.

“We didn’t want to be too preachy on Guantanamo Bay,” Schlossberg said. “If you’re expecting something political, you’ll be disappointed,” Penn said.

Making light of the Guantanamo Bay prison has raised some concern among the public, but Hurwitz and Schlossberg consider these films to be extremely patriotic.

“You don’t have to believe in your government to be a good American,” Hurwitz said. “You have to believe in your country. That’s the heart and soul of the movie.”

Aside from being held prisoners, the title characters are provided with more back story and more details about their past.

Viewers will learn that Kumar is still in love with his ex-girlfriend from college.

Adding more depth to the character was something that appealed to Penn. At one point in the film, a college photo of Harold shows the younger, more Gothic version of himself.

Cho and Penn were involved in establishing their characters’ past, and it was Cho’s decision that Harold took on the Gothic persona.

During their writing process, Hurwitz and Schlossberg concentrated on multiculturalism. The two have known each other since high school and have many friends of different ethnicities. They incorporated their own experiences into the film.

“It became like a multicultural roast,” Schlossberg said. “No matter what culture you are, there’s a joke – even mythological creatures.”

It’s Harris who facilitates the use of mythological creatures. He once again appears at opportune moments to help Harold and Kumar during their journey, this time with the assistance of a unicorn.

“I really truly respect this weird world they have created,” Harris said. In this world, Harris plays a parody of himself.

“It’s a little surreal,” Harris said. “I feel like I’m an authority on myself. I didn’t need to do much research. It is uniquely weird to be recognized for playing yourself.”

Harris believes that the NPH created in the “Harold and Kumar” films is somewhat representative of his real life but knows that it isn’t completely accurate.

Depending on the success of the sequel, there is likely to be a third installment in the “Harold and Kumar” franchise.

The franchise has been compared to the “Cheech and Chong” series, but both Schlossberg and Hurwitz agree that the only similarities between the series are that they feature two friends, who are both stoners.

“I’ve never seen ‘Cheech and Chong,'” Penn said. “And neither has John Cho. It’s very flattering; they’re very iconic.”

All the actors featured at the press conference, as well as the two writers, are greatly appreciative of all the fans. It was their support of the first film and the DVD sales that made the sequel possible.

“Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” opens tomorrow.