Neil Patrick Harris has successfully come out of the post-child star wasteland to become one of the biggest stars working today, with a hit sitcom on CBS, gigs hosting every major awards show but the Oscars, and a large fan base cheering him on. And since it was his jaw-dropping cameo in 2004’s “Harold & Kumar go to White Castle” that helped relaunch his career, naturally he was game to come back for the franchise’s third installment, “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas” — even if he did get shot and killed at the end of the last film.
But you can’t have NPH return from the dead for another “Harold & Kumar” film without upping the ante on his atrocious behavior. When asked if there’s a line he wouldn’t want to cross with his onscreen alter ego, Harris insists it’s far too late for that kind of thinking. “That’s such a tough question because I never thought that any of this would’ve been written,” he says. “I wouldn’t even have imagined that I would be smoking crack and trying to forcibly enter a dancer girl. I don’t know where the line gets drawn here anymore.”
Of course, Harris’ rising profile — and public coming out of the closet — have become factors since the original film, leaving a lot for the filmmakers to address. Harris was happy to poke fun at his newfound status — he’s referred to as “America’s Sweetheart” in the film — as long as he got a say in the jokes as usual. That held especially true since Harris’ husband, David Burtka, was along for the ride this time.
“I was more cautious and protective of those scenes than any of the others, weirdly, just because I didn’t want it to feel exploitative or like a sight gag and nothing more,” says Harris. “I know David to be a well-trained Albee actor from New York, and I just didn’t want it to seem like we were using him for some sight gag and then end it. And I didn’t want to leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth about him on my watch, right?” In the end, Burtka is used to great comic effect — and we’ll just leave it at that for now.
Neil and Kelly’s Christmas that never was
In “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas,” the boys stumble upon Neil Patrick Harris rehearsing a Rockette-studded holiday spectacular, complete with show tunes and kick-lines. But that wasn’t the original plan, as it turns out. “It was originally pitched to me as sort of a Bing Crosby Christmas TV special with Kelly Ripa, and the two of us were in our living room with our eight kids, wearing sweaters and singing ‘Little Drummer Boy,’ that kind of vibe,” Harris explains. “And then Kelly, who loved the idea, was filming in Prince Edward Island that very week that we were filming and that I was available, and so she couldn’t do it. So rather than find someone else to fill her shoes, they just turned it into another solo kind of performance.”