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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"Kumar" goes from White House back to Hollywood


Slideshow: Sean Penn

Reuters Photo: Cast member Kal Penn attends the premiere of 'Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay'...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nine months after leaving Hollywood for the White House, the actor Kal Penn is returning to Tinseltown to reprise his most famous role, as the marijuana-loving "Kumar" in the raucous "Harold and Kumar" feature film comedies.

As Kalpen Modi -- Kal Penn is his stage name -- the 32-year-old actor has been working in the Obama White House since July as an associate director of public engagement.

The magazine "Entertainment Weekly" reported on its website on Friday that Penn was leaving to make a new Harold and Kumar movie, this one with a Christmas theme, which might be shot in 3-D.

Penn, who had campaigned for President Barack Obama, took a big pay cut to work in his administration after starring in "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" and "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay" and playing a leading role on the medical-mystery television drama "House."

The writers of "House" cleared Penn's schedule to take his new job in Washington by having his character abruptly commit suicide last year.

One of the few Indian-American actors to make it big in Hollywood, Penn has said he was inspired to get involved in politics partly by his grandparents, who marched with Mahatma Gandhi in the Indian independence movement.

The Washington Post reported on Saturday that the White Housee was declining comment, saying Modi "has no announcements to make about his tenure here at this point."

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, editing by Vicki Allen)