Neil Patrick Harris made big local news when he and his partner, David Burtka, moved to a home in Sherman Oaks to raise their adopted twins. This Halloween, they’ll be a major part of the neighborhood, with their house open to trick-or-treaters, and partying on into the night with the grown-ups.
Harris shared his Halloween plans while giving interviews for the movie A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas. Harris reprises his role as a satirical version of himself. The NPH that Harold and Kumar knows is a cokehound womanizer. The latest film even incorporates Burtka into the legend, suggesting that their relationship is all a ruse to help Harris get more babes. The film opens Friday.
Question: Do you get trick-or-treaters at Halloween?
NPH: We moved to a new house so I’m excited to see. I hear not, but we’ve still got candy. We’re ready. We’re having a Halloween party tomorrow night so I’ve been spending all of my days painting.
Q: What are you going to be?
NPH: I’m Captain Hook to David’s Peter Pan. Harper’s Tinkerbell and Gideon is Smee. It’ll be a fun little family thing.
Q: Will the house be visibly decorated so trick-or-treaters know it’s open?
NPH: We have a gate in front of our house that will be open until like 7 or so and then we’ll close the gate and then it’s more of a big boy and girl party.
Q: Is this the first Halloween with the kids?
NPH: They were born on the 12th of October so it’s really the second one but they were 2 weeks old the first go-round. It’s hard to trick-or-treat with them because then you’ve got to throw them at a doorstep and wait for them to knock.
Q: Is it nice to come back for the Harold and Kumar cameos every few years?
NPH: I love it. I get to come in for two days and cause mayhem and then go back to my life.
Q: Was David immediately on board with the joke?
NPH: That was a little more massaging and finessing on my part. Originally he was involved in that first half of it and then he kind of just went away. Like we had a fight in the dressing room and then he kind of skulked off. I thought it made more sense for him to have a powerful position within the dynamic, so it was kind of my pitch to have him be my dealer because I thought that was funny. Actually the studio was kind of weirded out by that but they agreed in the end. I think it was a good call.
Q: How do your fans see you? Do they respond to your real life or to these extreme characters you play?
NPH: You know what’s funny, I find it amazingly funny that people know I’m in a relationship with a guy and we have two kids and yet super-crazy frat guys are like, “Barney Stinson! Harold and Kumar, dude!” I like that dynamic.
Q: Did these movies start the NPH legend?
NPH: Yeah, I guess it did because that’s the first sort of NPH-y discussion. It was sort of weirdly reverential even though I was such a mess in it and stole their car. They were still kind of like, “That was cool, I guess.”
Q: Did you want to be a part of it right away?
NPH: The first movie I was really concerned about because the franchise didn’t exist back then. You don’t want to sign up for something playing yourself and then have a new writer come on board and change the tone of it and suddenly they’re making jokes at your expense. I just legally was very specific about what my specific content entailed, and they were super-cool with all of that.
Q: Did they ask you to do anything that was too much even for NPH?
NPH: Not really, action-wise. I don’t like to be disparaging about my past roles. That’s the only taboo that I don’t like to cross. I don’t think it’s funny to have cracked-out NPH talking sh*t about Vinny. I just don’t think that’s funny. If you look back on the first movie, he’s very wistful about that whole chapter and regretful and missing it. I think that’s a funnier take than “I’m too cool for my past.” That’s just not my style.
Q: Do you feel the character Neil Patrick Harris deserves his own film?
NPH: [Laughs] I’m always so wary of that being shark jumpy. I don’t know. It would be fun to do a whole movie where I was like an ‘80s blaxploitation NPH with guns.
Q: What was the first naughty, R-rated movie you saw before you were supposed to?
NPH: Probably Porky’s. That little looking through into the shower scene. I felt strange tingling downstairs. I didn’t know what that meant.
Q: Were you trying to see it or it was just thrown in front of you?
NPH: More the latter. I’m the younger brother of two, and [through] my older brother, I got to experience all of that naughtiness before I was able to know what that meant, really.
Q: Do you have any unique Christmas traditions in the Harris family?
NPH: Our family always dealt with stockings, rather than having Santa come and fill the stockings on Christmas morning. The stockings were slowly filled throughout the month and it was a trust thing to not reach in and see what was going on inside. So the stockings were slowly filled by everyone, which is kind of a cool tradition, I think.
Q: Did you look?
NPH: I didn’t look. I actively don’t want to know. I would love, and I encourage my family, to tell me, “Don’t look in this closet. That’s where your presents are.” I don’t want to have to inadvertently find a gift and go like, “What the hell is? Oh no, that’s for me.” And then have to pretend like I’m surprised later. If I know where they’re hidden, I will not look. I love presents and I hate faking surprises.
Q: Does your family ask you to sing for the holidays?
NPH: To sing? Oh, we’re a very musical family so we sing all the time. Christmas carols are very fun.
Q: Would you want to reprise Dr. Horrible?
NPH: Oh, I’d love to. I think everyone in that little franchise would love to. We were about to make a movie of it and then timing, there’s only a window for myself and Nathan who’s on Castle and Joss directs big movies now. So to try and get everyone’s schedules to align is just very tricky, but that would be amazing.
Q: If someone calls you Doogie [Howser, his former TV character], do you get angry?
NPH: Oh, no, I played him. I get a lot of, “Hey, Doogie, we love your new show.”
Q: When somebody calls you Doogie, do you reflect on a primitive word processor?
NPH: No, but I should get one for that.
Q: What advice would you give to dads-to-be?
NPH: That’s such an open-ended question. Babies just change everything. You have to become super-selfless and super-tired and super-amenable to change. They just change all the time. I’m assuming as they get a little bit older it’ll stop being so radically different every week, but suddenly they’re reaching this level and suddenly you have to deal with this and suddenly they’re walking and you have to deal with that. It’s remarkable how it unifies you within the chaos.
Q: What are they getting for Christmas?
NPH: I can’t tell you or they would find out.