American-Asian star Kal Penn fell for the character he plays in new movie THE NAMESAKE years before filming started - he previously tried to buy the rights to the book. Penn loved JHUMPA LAHIRI's novel and tried to use it to start his career as a producer, so when he discovered director Mira Nair had already tied up the film rights, he decided the next best thing would be to star in the movie. He says, "The book was so powerful and I wanted to be part of turning it into a film." In the movie, Penn plays the son of Indian immigrants, who fights their plans for their son to have a traditional upbringing as he attempts to fit in with his American friends.