Kal Penn, The Namesake
Sometimes being a teen-comedy icon is not an obstacle to having a serious acting career. Just ask Kal Penn. In the hearts and minds of a generation, he will forever be known as Kumar from Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, but it was a young fan of the 2004 stoner flick who lobbied for him to be cast as Gogol, the central character in Mira Nair's The Namesake (in theaters now). That youngster happens to be Nair's now 16-year-old son, Zohran.
"Zohran would bug her every night when she tucked him in for bed and say, "Mom, can you audition Kal Penn from Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle?" Penn relates.
"I didn't really take it seriously," admits