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Kal Penn's long, strange trip back to the 'Harold & Kumar' franchise is well-documented -- Penn took two years off from acting to work with Barack Obama and his administration -- but despite the time away, it seems not much has changed since his sabbatical began. In an interview with Movieline's Jen Yamato, Penn discussed the "color bar" in Hollywood that prevents non-Caucasian actors and actresses from getting certain roles. While saying he's been "blessed" with the roles he's gotten -- in 'Harold & Kumar,' 'Superman Returns' and TV's '24' and 'How I Met Your Mother' among others -- Penn revealed that he still misses out on parts because of his race (Penn's parents are natives of India).
"It's gotten infinitely better in the last eight years, especially in television. But you still audition for things all the time and they tell you, 'We want to keep it a little more vanilla' [...] Last week there was a movie that I was up for with a very prominent African-American actor and I was told one of the reasons I didn't get the job was because they were not comfortable with more than one person of color in the cast. So, it still happens. It happens albeit less now than it did eight years ago, and hopefully it happens less eight years from now than it does today, but there are unfortunately some backwards-thinking producers left in Hollywood."For more on Penn's time in the White House, head over to Movieline to read the complete interview. 'A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas' hits theaters on Friday.
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