Some stars ditch successful TV shows over creative differences, others because they want to pursue a career in film. “House’s” Kal Penn just might have the best reason ever for leaving a number one rated show — he’s taking a job in The White House.
Kal, who played Dr. Lawrence Kutner for two years on the FOX drama, accepted a position as an associate director in the office of public liaison.
“Growing up, I always had two interests and two passions. I always wanted to be in public service and the other being the arts,” Penn told a group of reporters on a conference call this morning. “I’m not packing up and leaving Hollywood and all this sort of stuff. It’s just pursuing another passion right now.”
Kal first met Obama back in 2007 on the campaign trail, “I met him at fundraiser in sort of the roped handshaking line towards the end and I introduced myself and he said, ‘Oh yeah you are on that show. What show are you on?’” the actor revealed, “I said, ‘I’m on ‘House.’ ‘Oh, right the doctor show. Nice work.’”
Kal says he didn’t really get to know Obama until later on during the campaign. It was on inauguration night, backstage at the staff ball, where he first approached the subject or working for him, “This was not part of my master plan for the last couple of years. It was something I was inspired by and someone I was inspired by.”
Kal is heading out to D.C. next week to look for an apartment and reiterates that he is not retiring from acting for good, “I certainly intend to come back at some point. There is no set limit. I definitely intend to go out there for at least a year or two and figure it out. There are certain financial concerns to consider with all it.”
The fact that he is leaving a high paying Hollywood gig for a civil servant salary isn’t lost on him.
“The concern with that quite frankly is… look, you know, I own a home. There is a terrible housing market and my concern is the same as everyone else’s concern. If I’m moving to a different city. Can I sublet my house? Can I sublet it for the same price that my mortgage is? Can I refinance? It’s not something I have entirely figured out just yet to be perfectly honest with you.”
One thing is for sure. Penn will not be making a return to “House,” as his character was killed off in a shocking and unexplained suicide.
“He didn’t leave a note. He never discussed it with anyone and for the first time House doesn’t have an answer to something.”