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Kal Penn is having a moment

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Kal Penn prefers tofu to cheeseburgers. That’s right, the 29-year-old quasi-vegetarian, whose munchies binge in 2004’s Harold & Kumar go to White Castle helped launch his career, is not a stoner. ”When people find out that Kumar likes the gym over smoking weed, they get a little sad,” says Penn, who has since appeared in Superman Returns and on an episode of Law & Order: SVU and just did a short-lived stint as a terrorist on 24. That last one taught the UCLA grad about the other side: ”Evil is more fun.” Still, Penn knows where his bread is buttered. He’s filming the untitled Harold & Kumar sequel — they go cross-country! — and on Jan. 26, he’ll spoof blockbusters in Epic Movie. But in The Namesake (March 9), based on the best-seller, the New Jerseyan plays a guy not unlike himself. ”I love him because he doesn’t have huge identity issues. And neither do I. I’m obviously not a blond kid from New England.”

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