Harold and Kumar and Vaginas in Louisiana

The big stars arrive for tonight's big premier

Here's an easy prediction: The showing of Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay tonight at the Paramount Theatre will turn people away. A full house counting in the hundreds listened this afternoon as stars John Cho, Kal Penn and Neil Patrick Harris and writer/directing tag team Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg discussed the political ramifications of the sequel.

"I felt like it was a device to amp up the stakes," Cho said of any fun the film will have with the Bush administration's treatment of foreign prisoners. "I don't think the movie has anything to say politically. It just uses the current political climate to make vagina jokes.'

Not that politics aren't lurking. Penn recounted how airport screeners pulled him aside because of his skin color once, while the pinker-skinned friend with him – who happened to have a large hunting knife in his bag – went through unfettered. Cho has also faced the wrath of screeners, including the last time he was at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Cho said when first told by the writers that the original film, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, was written specifically with him in mind, "I was almost suspicious it was going to be a ninja movie. I could see the buck teeth coming out of the script."

Schlossberg said the stereotypical Asian characters in films like Sixteen Candles and Breakfast at Tiffany's lead the writers to pen the script. "It was important it didn't change into David & Jason Go to McDonalds, he said.

For Harris the first film was a godsend. "It revitalized a whole aspect of my career, the whole hipness factor," he said. "Without this movie, I wouldn't have ever been cast in How I Met Your Mother."

Looking for a local, but slightly depressing angle on the sequel? It was shot with a primarily Austin crew in ever-incentive-rich Louisiana. Ouch, dudes!

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SXSW, Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay

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