Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle and Dude, Where’s My Car? were both considered essential viewing for fans of the stoner-comedy genre. Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle spawned two sequels and starred Neil Patrick Harris, John Cho, and Kal Penn.
Today marks a sad day for movie fans as the director of both aforementioned films has passed away at the age of 57, according to a report from Collider. Hailed for his inclusion of two non-white lead actors against the preference of movie executives, Leiner’s death is being felt across Hollywood and among movie fans alike.
Little has been revealed in terms of cause of death or any projects he had currently in development at the time of his death, but producer Ross Putman did make a comment via social media.
“If there’s one thing I can say about Danny the professional, it’s that he refused to let us settle for anything less than our best. He pushed us to do what he knew we were capable of. Danny the person was sardonic, sharp, and savvy, with a love for culture and comedy of all kinds. It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but the world has lost a good one.”
Danny Leiner was not just a film director but also had a number of television credits under his directorial belt. Leiner also directed a number of episodes for television shows like Arrested Development, Sports Night, Party of Five, Felicity, Gilmore Girls, The Office, and Freaks and Geeks.
As a producer, he worked behind the scenes in production of a number of independent films like The Architect and The Young Kieslowski.
Apart from helping launch the successful movie careers of John Cho, Kal Penn, and Ashton Kutcher, Leiner also helped revive the then-dormant career of Neil Patrick Harris, who went on to land the role as fan-favorite Barney on the television series How I Met Your Mother.
According to the report, Leiner’s attorney did not immediately respond to queries for comments.
As for the future of the Harold and Kumar franchise, the death of Danny Leiner definitely puts it into question. The last entry to the series was A Very Harold And Kumar 3D Christmas in 2011. The film was directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson and was not as well received as Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, but did land better with critics than its predecessor, Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay.
Many felt the stoner duo of Harold and Kumar were tantamount to a modern day Cheech and Chong.