Kal Penn rose to fame with the successful "Harold & Kumar" franchise, but the actor is still skeptical about the third installment's promise.
"I don't think any of us take any of this for granted. The first 'Harold and Kumar' movie totally tanked at the box office. A lot of people forget this. It was only the fans who found it on DVD that gave us a chance to do a second one and now a third one. So we've got to wait and see [how it does]."
In the third installment of the stoner comedy, Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Penn) have grown apart and started their own families. But when Kumar shows up on Harold's doorstep and inadvertently burns down his father-in-law's Christmas tree, the two set out on an another ill-advised adventure to find the perfect replacement.
Neil Patrick Harris also returns to the franchise to reprise his character Neil Patrick Harris, a drug-addicted, womanizing version of himself.
Since the franchise launched, Penn has become one of the most popular Indian-American actors in Hollywood and acknowledges that he continues to be surprised by the film's fans.
"I've had the blessing of working on things like 'The Namesake' and 'Superman Returns' and 'How I Met Your Mother' and I love those types of things and I'm always amazed to know who has seen the 'Harold and Kumar' movies and why," Penn continued. "John and I were talking and we heard that Quentin Tarantino was a fan of the franchise. We had a chance to meet him a couple years ago and we were just floored that that was the case. You never really know."
Aside from the "Harold & Kumar" franchise, Penn portrayed Dr. Lawrence Kutner on "House M.D." and had a recurring role on "How I Met Your Mother." The actor has also appeared in films like "Van Wilder," "The Namesake," "Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj" and "Epic Movie."
Penn has also worked off-and-on at the White House as an Associate Director at the Office of Public Engagement.
Penn, whose real name is Kalpen Modi, left his recurring role on "House" in 2009 to begin his first job at the White House. He resigned in June 2010, citing "previous obligations" and filmed "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas," but has since returned to his role.
Prior to taking the job in Washington, the 34-year-old actor often appeared on the campaign trail with Barack Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign.
While Harold and Kumar celebrated Christmas with shotguns, weed and Neil Patrick Harris, Penn insisted that it's a much calmer occasion at his house.
"Obviously, it's a lot more laid back than that," Penn said of his holiday festivities. "It's more of a family thing. We were raised with Christmas as a festive holiday - more the Hallmark side than the faith-based side. But what I love about it is that the faith-based element of family and being around those you love always comes around, which is nice."
"A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas" hit theaters on November 4, watch a trailer below.
Reporting by Chez Starbuck of 'Live Big With Ali Vincent,' which is produced by KABC Television, parent company of OnTheRedCarpet.com that also produces the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet"(check for local TV listings).