24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Jon Hurwitz

'Harold & Kumar' writers on the art of offensive comedy

November 4, 2011 |  5:32 pm

John Cho, Neil Patrick Harris and Kal Penn in 'A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas'

In Hollywood, the holiday season often means releasing animated movies about Santa, rom-coms about the search for that New Year’s Eve kiss and even the occasional film about the first Christmas. This year stoner pals Harold and Kumar are joining in on the seasonal cheer.

The characters, whose story started with 2004’s “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle,” are back on the big screen this week in “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas,” written by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. After helming the second film, “Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay,” the duo handed the director’s chair over to Todd Strauss-Schulson to give themselves more time to work on “American Reunion,” the next installment in the “American Pie” franchise, which they’re writing and directing.

At the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Hurwitz and Schlossberg talked to 24 Frames' Emily Rome about revisiting high school memories to write “American Reunion,” getting paid to write fan fiction and why a holiday movie is the perfect place for Harold and Kumar to have their next adventure.

E.R.: When you were writing “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle,” did you have any idea this would become a franchise and gain the fandom it has?

J.H: It's funny because it was always our hope. The very first script for “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” ended with “to be continued.” We just enjoyed writing these characters so much, and we're guys who grew up as fans of franchises. There are so many franchises that we grew up watching that when we think of writing our movies, oftentimes we think about what the next movie would be.

E.R.: Todd Strauss-Schulson was a big fan of the first two “Harold & Kumar” movies before taking on directing this installment, right?

H.S.: Sort of like the way we were with “American Pie.” He watched the “Harold & Kumar” movies, really liked them, and you could see that he was enthusiastic about it. It felt good, and we think that he did a great job, and it worked out perfectly.

J.H.: It’s fun when there’s somebody who’s a fan of the work that you're doing, and they get to play around in the sandbox. Like Hayden was saying, that's what “American Reunion” was for us. We got to go in there, and all these characters that we were in love with we now got to write and direct.

E.R.: Almost like writing fan fic but getting paid for it.

H.S.: Exactly.

J.H.: That's what we always say -– that it's like the highest-end fan fiction of all time.

E.R.: It’s not that often you see a Korean American and an Indian American leading a mainstream movie. When you wrote the script for the first movie, was there a fear that the studio would want to change the race of the characters?

 

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