10 Facts About Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle On Its 15th Anniversary

Kal Penn, John Cho, and Malin Akerman in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004).
Kal Penn, John Cho, and Malin Akerman in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004).
Warner Bros.

If you’ve never seen it, director Danny Leiner’s Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is exactly what it sounds like: a road trip movie about a couple of dudes (John Cho and Kal Penn) just trying to get to White Castle. Of course, it’s not that easy and shenanigans ensue.

Said shenanigans include (but are not limited to) a run-in with a ferocious cheetah, cameos by Neil Patrick Harris and Ryan Reynolds, and a bizarre rescue by a boil-faced tow truck driver named Freakshow. You can clearly see why it's become a bit of a cult hit. Not to mention, since the original film’s debut on July 30, 2004, the franchise has spawned two sequels and amassed millions of additional fans.

1. Krispy Kreme turned down a part in the movie.

Krispy Kreme could have been Harold and Kumar's ultimate fast food destination, but the famous doughnut company was wary of being associated with a movie that featured drugs.

2. The movie's producers had to make veggie burgers for Kal Penn.

Because Kal Penn is vegetarian, "The producers actually went out of their way to ... make little soy burgers that looked like White Castle burgers," Penn told Spliced Wire. "So I could just focus on the moment and not have to worry about all that. I probably ate about 30 of them."

3. Kal Penn had an allergic reaction while filming one scene.

In an interview with IGN, Penn recalled an uncomfortable scene in which ground walnuts were used to create dust coming out of a ventilator shaft. The problem? The actor is deathly allergic to nuts.

"They were so finely ground that I inhaled them," Penn said. "Now the only thing worse than eating nuts, where it gets processed, is inhaling them directly or injecting them. So why somebody decided to do that, I don't know. But I had to go outside for about two hours, I had to take a bunch of Benadryl, I was drowsy the rest of the day. And luckily I caught it [early]. Within 10 seconds of being in that room I was like 'There's something in here' and I left."

4. Christopher Meloni was always the first choice to play Freakshow.

And Meloni still has no idea why. “[The writers] said, ‘You know we thought of you from the beginning when we were writing this role for Freakshow,’" Meloni told Movie Web. "I didn’t know how to take that, I was like ‘You did, huh?’ I still don’t understand the logic, but whatever.”

5. Goldstein and Rosenberg were based on William Shakespeare characters.

According to The New York Times, Harold and Kumar’s best friends—Goldstein (played by David Krumholtz) and Rosenberg (portrayed by Eddie Kaye Thomas) were partially based on Hamlet's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, as well as writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. ''We just knew Harold and Kumar had to have Jewish friends,'' Hurwitz said, ''to complete the multiracial circle we had in school.''

6. At first, Kal Penn didn’t like the way the film’s marketing played on race.

Ads for the film promoted the actors as “the Asian guy from American Pie” and “the Indian guy from Van Wilder.” In response to that, Penn told Spliced Wire. “At first ... I was like, Man, the movie is so not about that! Why did they have to bring it back to that? Then we realized that most people that are watching this trailer ... recognize us as the Indian guy from Van Wilder and the Asian guy from American Pie!”

“The trailer is funny because it says exactly what people are thinking," Cho added. "It also kind of dissipates—I think there is some unspoken measure of tension, like this is so unusual seeing Asian-Americans headlining a movie. So we kind of poke fun at that right off the bat.”

7. Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg simply wanted to write a movie with characters that looked like their friends.

"The story is that the writers grew up in New Jersey, and they were really sick of seeing teen movies that were one-dimensional and that had characters which didn't look like any of their friends," Penn told Spliced Wire. "They were two white guys from Jersey, but they had a pretty diverse group of friends. So they were like, You know what? Let's write a film that's both a) smart and funny, and b) cast two guys that look like our best friends.” Added Cho: "There is a real Harold Lee."

8. Neil Patrick Harris was written into the movie before the writers got his consent.

In an interview with CinemaBlend, Neil Patrick Harris recalled the moment he heard he had a part in the film. “I got a call from a friend who was auditioning for this movie and he was so excited that we were going to be working together. And I said, ‘I have no idea what you're talking about.’ And he said, ‘Neil Patrick Harris is a character in this movie.' ... [My agents] read it, and then they called my attorney to find out what was going on, and then I winded up meeting with the [writers], kind of cautiously ... Because when you're talking about an extreme version of yourself, you want to make sure you're not painted in a super shitty light ... And I agreed to do it so long as any changes they made had to go through me contractually ... And they were fine with that and they didn't make any changes.”

9. Battlesh*ts was inspired by Hurwitz’s high school football team.

Hurwitz told Aint It Cool News about the moment he first encountered the gross game. “When I was in high school I was friends with a couple of the guys on the football team. A couple of really big funny guys. I remember in gym class ... Those two guys, for some reason, always have to take a sh*t during gym class ... They started joking around about playing Battlesh*ts,” Hurwitz said. “They would joke around about it and I would always talk to them about that and started playing it up with them and saying things like, ‘You sank my Destroyer.’”

10. Jon Hurwitz’s grandparents used to send him frozen White Castle burgers.

The quest and craving for White Castle was apparently not purely made up for the film. “I lived outside of Pittsburgh for seven years," Hurtwitz said. "When I was there and my grandparents would come to visit us, they'd fly out to Pittsburgh and they would bring frozen White Castle burgers before they were in the supermarkets. They didn't have them in the supermarkets, so they would go to the White Castle, they'd buy like, 120 burgers ... frozen ... and bring them in dry ice on an airplane to Pittsburgh. So, it always kind of just had a special kind of part in my heart.”

This story has been updated for 2019.

The First Full Trailer for The Crown Season 3 Is Here

Des Willie, Netflix
Des Willie, Netflix

Star Wars obsessives aren't the only people in for a trailer treat today: Nearly two years after the second season of The Crown debuted, the award-winning series about the early days of Queen Elizabeth II's reign is just weeks away from its return. And on Monday morning, Netflix released the first full trailer for The Crown's new season.

While we've known some of the basic details about the new season—like the time frame in which it takes place and that Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies would be taking over the roles of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip—this is the first in-depth glimpse we've gotten at what's in store for season 3.

The role duty plays in the lives of the British royal family appears to be an overarching theme, with the trailer showing the country in distress but each of the characters putting on a smiling face for the public. While Elizabeth and Philip's relationship will continue to take center stage in the pricey period drama, Princess Margaret (now played by Helena Bonham Carter) will struggle with her role of being the Queen's sister. And Prince Charles (Josh O'Connor) will have to choose between his love for Camilla Parker Bowles (played by Killing Eve writer Emerald Fennell) and his duty as the heir apparent to the throne.

Netflix will debut The Crown season 3 on November 17, 2019.

10 Facts About the Beastie Boys's 'Sabotage' Video

Beastie Boys via YouTube
Beastie Boys via YouTube

With their raucous mix of rock and hip-hop, the Beastie Boys were a band everyone could love. They also made killer music videos, and their 1994 video for “Sabotage” is arguably one of the greatest in the history of the medium. Directed by Spike Jonze and inspired by ‘70s cop shows, “Sabotage” finds the Beasties in cheesy suits, wigs, and mustaches, cavorting around L.A. like a bunch of bootleg Starskys and Hutches. If you were alive in the ‘90s, you’ve seen “Sabotage” a million times, but there’s a lot you might not know about this iconic video.

1. It all began with a photo shoot.

Spike Jonze met the Beastie Boys when he photographed them for Dirt magazine in the early 1990s. The band showed up with its own concept. “For years, Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz had been talking about doing a photo session as undercover cops—wearing ties and fake mustaches and sitting in a car like we were on a stakeout,” Adam “MCA” Yauch told New York Magazine. Jonze loved the idea so much he tagged along when the Beasties went wig shopping. “Then, while he was taking the pictures, he was wearing this blond wig and mustache the whole time,” Yauch said. “For no apparent reason.” So was born a friendship that begat “Sabotage.”

2. Spike Jonze filmed “Sabotage” without permits.

The Beasties weren’t big fans of high-budget music videos with tons of people on the set. So they asked Jonze to hire a couple of assistants and run the whole production out of a van. “Then we just ran around L.A. without any permits and made everything up as we went along,” MCA told New York. They’re lucky the real cops never showed up.

3. The Beastie Boys did all their own stunt driving.

After binge-watching VHS tapes of The Streets of San Francisco and other ‘70s cop shows, the Beasties knew they needed some sweet chase scenes. “We bought a car that was about to die,” Mike D told Vanity Fair. “We just drove the car ourselves. We almost killed the car a couple of times, but we definitely didn’t come close to killing ourselves.”

4. “Sabotage” inspired the opening sequence of Trainspotting.

Danny Boyle's 1996 film Trainspotting famously opens with Ewan McGregor and his buddies running through the streets of Edinburgh to the tune of Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life.” In the DVD commentary, Boyle revealed that the scene was inspired by “Sabotage.”

5. Two cameras were harmed in the making of “Sabotage.”

“Sabotage” was supposed to be a low-budget affair—and it would’ve been, had Jonze been a little more careful with his rented cameras. He destroyed a Canon Scoopic when the Ziploc bag he used to protect the camera during an underwater shot proved less than airtight. He apparently told the rental agency the camera stopped working on its own, but he wasn’t as lucky when an Arriflex SR3 fell out of a van window. That cost $84,000, effectively tripling the cost of the video.

6. MCA crashed the stage of the MTV Video Music Awards to protest “Sabotage” being shut out.

At the 1994 MTV VMAs, “Sabotage” was nominated for five awards, including Video of the Year. In one of the great injustices of all time, it lost in all five categories. When R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” won Best Direction, MCA invaded the stage dressed as Nathanial Hörnblowér, his Swiss uncle/filmmaker alter-ego. “Since I was a small boy, I had dreamed that Spike would win this,” MCA said as a confused Michael Stipe looked on. “Now this has happened, and I want to tell everyone this is a farce, and I had the ideas for Star Wars and everything.”

7. There’s a “Sabotage” comic book you can download for free.

After MCA’s death in 2012, artist Derek Langille created a seven-page “Sabotage” comic book in tribute to the fallen musician and filmmaker. You can download it for free here.

8. There’s also a “Sabotage” novel.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Sabotage,” Oakland-based author and Beasties super-fan Jeff Gomez wrote a five-act novel inspired by the video. He spent months researching cop movies and real-life police lingo, and he watched “Sabotage” about 100 times, keeping a detailed spreadsheet of all the action unfolding onscreen. “They created a really great universe, and I just wanted to play around in it for a little bit,” Gomez told PBS.

9. There’s a “Sabotage”/Sesame Street mashup on YouTube.

In 2017, YouTuber Is This How You Go Viral, a.k.a. Adam Schleichkorn, created the video “Sesametage,” a reimagining of “Sabotage” made with edited bits of Sesame Street. It stars Big Bird as himself, The Count as Cochese, and Oscar the Grouch as Bobby, “The Rookie.” Super Grover, Telly, Cookie Monster, and Bert and Ernie also turn up in this hilarious spoof of a spoof.

10. “Sabotage” nearly became a movie—kind of.

Jonze and the Beasties had such a blast making “Sabotage” that they wrote a script for a feature film called We Can Do This. The movie, which they later abandoned, was set to feature MCA in two roles: Sir Stuart Wallace, one of his “Sabotage” characters, and Nathaniel Hörnblowér (whom he portrayed during that 1994 VMAs protest). Jonze told IndieWire the film would’ve been “ridiculous and fun,” which sounds like the understatement of the century. “There were no 1970s cops in it, but it was definitely in the same spirit,” he said.