Kalpen Suresh Modi (born April 23, 1977), known by his stage name Kal Penn is an American actor, producer, and political activist. He is known for his starring roles in National Lampoon's Van Wilder, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, The Namesake (2007), Epic Movie (2007), and the recently released Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (2008). He currently plays the role of Dr. Lawrence Kutner in the TV series House.
Penn says that he chose the stage name Kal Penn (from Kalpen Suresh Modi) as a lark: “Almost as a joke to prove friends wrong, and half as an attempt to see if what I was told would work (that anglicized names appeal more to a white-dominated industry), I put ‘Kal Penn’ on my resume and photos." His audition callbacks rose by 50%. Penn has stated that he prefers his birth name and uses "Kal Penn" only for professional purposes.
In January 2007, Penn appeared in the first four episodes of the sixth season of 24 as Ahmed Amar, a teenage terrorist. Penn says he nearly turned down the role due to personal ethics, stating, "I have a huge political problem with the role. It was essentially accepting a form of racial profiling. I think it’s repulsive. But it was the first time I had a chance to blow stuff up and take a family hostage. As an actor, why shouldn’t I have that opportunity? Because I'm brown and I should be scared about the connection between media images and people's thought processes?
Also in January 2007, he appeared in the spoof comedy Epic Movie as well as the television show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, where he played a recognition-starved rapist and murderer. In May 2007, Penn received the Asian Excellence Award for Outstanding Actor for his performance in The Namesake.
In fall 2007, Penn joined the cast of the FOX medical drama House as one of Dr. House's new fellowship applicants. According to E!, Penn has signed on as a regular on the show along with Olivia Wilde and Peter Jacobson and this was confirmed in the plot of the episode Games.
In spring 2008, Penn served as visiting lecturer in Asian American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He taught a course titled “Images of Asian Americans in the Media”.
Penn was a guest professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the spring of 2008. He was noted to be as strict as any other professor .
|1998||Express: Aisle to Glory||Jackie Newton|
|2001||American Desi||Ajay Pandya|
|National Lampoon's Van Wilder||Taj Badalandabad|
|2003||Love Don't Cost a Thing||Kenneth Warman|
|American Made||(as Kalpen Modi) Jagdesh|
|Malibu's Most Wanted||Hadji|
|Dude, Where's the Party?||Mo (Mohan Bakshi)|
|2004||Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle||Kumar Patel|
|Ball & Chain||Bobby|
|A Lot Like Love||Jeeter|
|Son of the Mask||Jorge|
|Dancing in Twilight||Sam|
|2006||Bachelor Party Vegas||Z-Bob|
|Man About Town||Alan Fineberg|
|Deck The Halls||Amit Sayid|
|National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj||Taj Badalandabad|
|2007||The Namesake||Gogol/Nikhil Ganguli||Released March, 2007|
|Epic Movie||Edward||January 26, 2007|
|2008||Under New Management||Wheeler||pre-production|
|Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay||Kumar Patel||Released April 25, 2008|
|2007||House (2007-Present)||Dr. Lawrence Kutner|
|Law and Order: Special Victims Unit||Henry Chanoor|
|2006||The Danny Comden Project||Max|
|2003||Tru Calling (Haunted)||Steven|
|All About the Andersons||George|
|NYPD Blue||Solomon Al-Ramai|
|Sabrina, the Teenage Witch||Prajeeb|
|1999||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Hunt|