10/24/2011 05:04 pm ET Updated Dec 24, 2011

Kal Penn: From 'White Castle' To White House And Back

When Kal Penn worked in the White House, he sometimes briefed President Obama before meetings.

Yeah, the guy who plays the marijuana-craving Kumar in silly road movies was giving the commander in chief the scoop on matters of public policy. If need be, he could also have told the president how to deal with problematic raccoons and stoned cheetahs - among the bizarre plot points of "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle."

"When you're working there, you always think, 'What is the best time to tell the president that you played a stoner who escaped from Guantanamo Bay?'"Penn said with a smile over a late lunch in Studio City this month, a Detroit Tigers baseball cap pulled down brim-forward on his head. "Is it before his national security meeting? Is it after the education meeting?"