Like a frat boy who loves his 30-pack Crave Case, White Castle is digging New Line Cinema these days. The studio is about to release the movie Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle—about two twentysomethings who roam New Jersey looking for White Castle burgers—and the fast-food chain isn't paying a penny for the placement.
The writers sent White Castle the script a while back. OK, sure, the characters are stoners. Yes, the film has "strong language, sexual content, drug use and crude humor." All right, the tagline is, "Fast food. High times." But director of marketing Jamie Richardson jumped at the chance. "It's like a love letter to White Castle," he says. "The characters are likable. It's authentic in the sense that hundreds of thousands of people have the same pure, unadulterated love for our burgers. This might do for White Castle what Smokey and the Bandit did for Coors beer, in terms of cataloging and archiving people's love for the product."
The love doesn't end there. White Castle execs sent materials to the film crew in Toronto so they could build their own restaurant and also inducted the film's two stars, John Cho and Kal Penn—who is actually vegetarian—into their Hall of Fame. (Of 4,966 applicants to the Hall, only 30 have been inducted so far. "Many are called," Richardson says. "Few are chosen.")
The movie opens July 30, but New Line screened it for White Castle execs a week ago in Columbus, Ohio. So, is it any good? "It's two guys on a tremendous journey," Richardson says. "It's not quite The Odyssey, but it's fun."