Kal Penn

  1. Ali Afshar, The King of Queens#51: Do Rico, TV, 2000. 
    Born in New Jersey to  Gujarati Indian parents, Penn loved this show loved until asked to read a  script repeating the Indian name Sanjib  – simply to make  fun of as Jerry Stiller’s character could not pronounce it. Sanjib? Sinbad? Sanjib? Sanjob?  (Ho, ho!). Nothing new. Most parts Penn was up for in his early years were “blatantly stereotypical”: Gandhi Lookalike, Snake Charmer,  Fire Eater. He kept hearing:  Can you make his accent a little more authentic? “That usually meant they wanted Apu.” He also tweeted in March 2017 about the unpleasant experience of testing for Prajeeb  in Sabrina the Teenage Witch in 2000.  “We got into it about why he hadto have an accent.”  Penn didn’t have one, so why should Prajeeb? (More easy laughs, of course). Penn praised the Angel,Buffy the Vampire Slayer, House, The Steve Harvey Show writers  as “creative people who didn’t have to use external things to mask subpar writing.” Conversely, Afshar who won the Sanjb role (repeated in a 2020 epsiode) was hiding his Persian roots by working as… Alex Dodd.Penn simply varied his first name, Kalpen, to avoid scaring employers as Kalpen Suresh Modi. In 2009, he requested his Housecharacter, Laurence Kutner, be killed off in order to work for the 44th POTUS, Barack Obama, for two years as Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. With his own accent.
  2. Justin Long, Live Free or Die Hard, 2006.     Director Len Wiseman wanted Scott Speedman as the computer hacker Matt Farrell. Bruce Willis wanted his Armageddon mate. They looked at Kal and Brad Renfro. So call him Justin Compromise. “Yippee-ki-yay motherfucker!”
  3. Freddy Rodriguez, Grindhouse (Planet Terror segment), 2006.  Penn had to pass due to shooting The Namesake.  Rose McGowan suggested a pal, Rey-Phillip Santos  – but director Robert Rodriguez  turned another  Rodríguez into El Wray  – the name  of a township in the same director’s From Dusk To Dawn, 1995.

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  3