Don't refer to 'A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas' as a stoner movie. At least, don't refer to it as a stoner movie in the presence of Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, the two men who have now written three 'Harold & Kumar' movies (and have recently added an 'American Pie' movie to their resume, too). They find the term offensive. Moviefone spoke to the duo (who made a few references to the fact that they were smoking pot during the interview -- which may or may not have been a joke) about this third 'Harold & Kumar' movie, the backstory on how they convinced Neil Patrick Harris to play a role in which his entire personal life is trivialized as just a way to meet girls through "misdirection," and if they had any problems convincing the entire original cast of 'American Pie' to return for 'American Reunion.' Oh, yeah: also why every Christmas movie should include an exploding bag of cocaine.
There's a whole subplot surrounding Neil Patrick Harris and his partner, David Burtka, only pretending to be gay publicly so Neil can use that as a way to meet women. Whose idea was that?
Hayden Schlossberg: That was our idea and we presented it to him before we wrote it. We got together for dinner with him and he got into it and added his thoughts -- and then we wrote it.
What were his thoughts?
Jon Hurwitz: He just thought it was really funny. Dating back to that very first 'Harold & Kumar,' we've been playing with his public persona. And, at the time that we wrote that movie, we were unaware that he was gay. So, we were just playing off of his persona as Doogie Howser, because that's what he was most known for. We thought it would be funny if the guy who played Doogie Howser was this sort of tail-chasing, drug-abusing, insane man. When we did the second movie, he was out to the world, but the second movie took place the day after the first movie. This time around, we're starting from the present day. Neil is no longer just known as the Neil from 'Doogie Howser.' He's the guy on 'How I Met Your Mother' and he's hosting awards shows -- and happens to be known for being a gay man. It really came from a place of explaining it from the 'Harold & Kumar' universe. We know him, we've seen him in these movies, and we know he's straight, so why the gay thing? And that's where we came up with the idea of him utilizing the gay image to lure women into a false sense of security so he can basically try to rape them.
Schlossberg: The ideas that Neil contributed, a lot of them involved David Burtka in the movie. So we also know that he's gay, but that he's with David now and has twins.
Hurwitz: Once we did that first pass with David in the film, Neil had some fun ideas on how we could expand upon it and play with their relationship in a way that would be fun and surprising.
Like you've mentioned, he's in a committed relationship and has kids now. I imagine this is a topic he takes quite seriously. Was there any hesitation that he might not find this quite as funny as you guys did?
Schlossberg: After that first movie, we just all have a natural kinship. Neil is a really smart guy and a really normal guy... and he's really funny. We knew that we would have to ask him about it, but we would have been really shocked if Neil didn't find it funny.
Hurwitz: Not only does he get it, he wants it to be as outrageous as possible. We're really not afraid him having him do anything. In this movie, he kinda tries to rape somebody. And that's usually a very dark, twisted, not-funny thing. It's really only funny because it's Neil Patrick Harris doing it. You see he has a fearlessness, just like we do.
Just like how you had to approach Neil with that idea, did you have to make sure Kal Penn was OK with jokes about his weight gain?
Hurwitz: That was actually his idea!
Schlossberg: I don't know how it exactly happened, but we liked the idea that Harold and Kumar hadn't seen each other in a while and you see them going through the fake pleasantries. And I think that was just a natural improv out of them doing that. And Kal seems like he gained more weight from the fact that in the first movie he's really thin.
Hurwitz: Yeah. Now he's just a normal guy in his early-to-mid 30s. He's not a heavy person, be he's no longer that early 20s thin dude.
Do you like the term "stoner movie"?
Schlossberg: Yes and no. I like it in the sense that we're able to get away with things that other comedies don't. But the comedy is not drawn from marijuana. Look at each Harold and Kumar movie; the majority of the set pieces have nothing to do with marijuana, getting high, or anything like that. What we don't like about it is that it seems like you have to be high to enjoy the movie.
Hurwitz: At the core, we think of Harold and Kumar as an 'odd couple.' And that's a little more relatable to the world. At the same time, we embrace the stoner element from a tonal standpoint. We are able to go to more surreal places.
Schlossberg: I don't like the word "stoner." To me it's a word from non-stoners. It's what people call people who get high. It's one of these "stoner" movies.
Hurwitz: When people think of stoners, they think of Cheech and Chong. And they think of people that are high all of the time and are not intelligent. There's a stigma to the word stoner... it's kind of offensive, to be honest.
Schlossberg: I'm offended.
[Click here to see Moviefone's gallery of other great movie odd couples]
A genre that this movie is definitely a part of is the Christmas movie genre. What are the five keys to a Christmas movie?
Hurwitz: Santa Claus is a key. Whether it's a mall Santa or the actual Santa Claus. We have both in this movie. Also, some sort of warm and fuzzy message. The music is a huge key to a Christmas movie because it really sets the tone. Those are three...
Schlossberg: I think it needs to feel like kids would love the movie -- in a weird way. You watch 'Home Alone' and 'It's a Wonderful Life,' they're sort of family friendly movies. So I think we needed to make 'Harold & Kumar' family friendly while also being absolutely wrong for the family.
Hurwitz: I think the fifth thing is having snow. We didn't have a lot of money, so we loved the idea of an exploding bag of cocaine for our White Christmas movie. I think they all need to have snow or metaphorical snow.
When I watch your 'American Pie' sequel, 'American Reunion,' do I have to consider all of those 'American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile' and 'Beta House' canon?
Hurwitz: Bottom line, 'American Reunion' is just about all of Stifler's strange cousins. That's really all it's about. Actually, we've only seen one of those movies.
It looks like you got everyone back, right?
Hurwitz: There are a few not, like Albert in the choir, that only a few disturbed nerds like ourselves would even know by name.
Did anyone resist the idea of coming back when you first approached them?
Hurwitz: All of these actors really embraced the idea from the beginning. Personally, in their private moments, some of them may have had more reservations than others.
Adam Herz wrote the previous films, have you guys spoken with him? Did he not want to be involved?
Hurwitz: We're friends with Adam. For a variety of reasons, he was not involved in writing this. But he gave us his blessing to do it. He knew we were huge fans of the franchise and he knew we cared about these characters in a real way. And it was his opinion that if anyone was going to tackle it other than him, we were the guys to do it. So it was really nice for us to have his blessing. I think the thing that made it easy is that Adam knew that we are hardcore, legitimate fans of 'American Pie.' We were that target audience in 1999 that helped make that movie huge. Not only do we love the movie, we are in the business of R-rated comedies. It's just like fan fiction to us.
[Photo: New Line]
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