Reasons why I am finding myself a little obsessed with Kal Penn:
It was Penn, though, who had first approached Nair. He’s a big reader (and Lahiri fan) who guest-lectures at colleges on “media, race, and representation.” The University of Pennsylvania has even asked him to teach two classes next fall, one on Asian-Americans in pop culture and the other on the history of teen movies (“It’s more academic than you’d think”). He was trying to buy the rights to produce The Namesake with his Kumar co-star John Cho when he found out Nair was already directing it. So he sent her a letter—“a lovely letter,” Nair recalls, “full of very seductive things to a director. He said he was an actor because of me, because when he was in eighth grade he saw Mississippi Masala in a New Jersey mall and thought that people onscreen could look like him.” Nair had cast the role, but Penn flew out on his own dime to audition anyway.
Yeah, that basically sums it up. I think Becca and I are going to see the Namesake this weekend. Yippee!