Kal Penn is perhaps best known as Kumar Patel, the marijuana-smoking doctor and one half of the hilarious Harold and Kumar duo. But Penn proved to fans and critics last year that he was capable of much more when President Obama appointed him as the associate director of public engagement at the White House. His position involved serving as a liaison between the White House and Asian American communities and arts professionals.
But fans can heave a big sigh of relief now that Penn’s reps have confirmed his official return to acting. The actor will be leaving his post at the White House to reprise the old (but lovable) role of Kumar in “A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas,” set for release in 2011. Penn has also finished filming one other movie scheduled to premiere this year in the U.S., “Bhopal: Prayer for Rain.”

Though some people may question Penn’s decision to leave his cushy White House post, it makes sense for the politically driven actor to go back to Hollywood. After all, Penn would not be the successful public speaker he is today without the big screen exposure he gained from the “Harold and Kumar” franchise. We’re just glad that studios are responding to demands for realistic Asian American leads who can hold their own against the best of comedians.

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