source:NY Daily News
by: Lloyd Grove
One of the stars of the upcoming New Line Cinema comedy "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" is a committed vegetarian.
Not only that, Kal Penn - who plays Kumar in the buddy movie, about a quest to satisfy an unreasoning craving for dead cow - refused to eat White Castle beef for the camera, and instead insisted on veggie burgers.
Not only that, Penn - who has agreed, for the sake of Hollywood hype, to go to Columbus, Ohio, tomorrow to be inducted into something called the White Castle Hall of Fame - has a brother who works full-time for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Yesterday, the 26-year-old, New Jersey-born Penn, whose real name is Kaplen Modi, befitting the son of Hindus from Bombay, told me he plans to present White Castle execs in Ohio with a PETA-produced position paper urging the inclusion of veggie burgers on the menu.
"I became a vegetarian for a bunch of reasons," Penn said. "I take issue with the way that meat is massproduced and factory-farmed, especially of late, when it has been responsible for environmental degradation. The treatment of animals was also a big issue for me. And part of it was cultural and religious."
Penn said the filmmakers were more than happy to accommodate his dietary concerns.
"There's a big scene where we do finally make it to White Castle and eat some burgers. And the producers had the food technicians make some really good veggie burgers that looked like meat. I probably ate about 30 of them."
A couple of weeks ago, when New Line's PR wizards caused thousands of frozen White Castle cheeseburgers to be shipped to newsrooms across America, including this one, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk attempted to make journalists lose their appetites.
"They can't say that no animals were harmed to make this movie," Newkirk groused. "It sounds like it could be disconcerting and rather sad and bloody."