BEVERLY HILLS, California — In real life, we’ve come to love Neil Patrick Harris, the former teen star who has pioneered an impressive career renaissance by hitching his wagon to TV’s “How I Met Your Mother” and learning to laugh at himself. In the movies, stoner buddies Harold & Kumar have come to love and fear “Neil Patrick Harris,” the foul-mouthed, out-of-control, morality-free personification of every bad stereotype of spoiled-rotten celebrities.
Now, with “NPH” once again riding shotgun in this weekend’s “Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay,” the lines between the two are threatening to get even blurrier. To help clear up the confusion, the real-life star was eager to help us figure out where “Neil Patrick Harris” ends and Neil Patrick Harris begins.
MTV: We wanted to kind of go over a few things with you and have you tell us whether it is Neil Patrick Harris or [the fictional] “Neil Patrick Harris.”
Neil Patrick Harris: Very good. I like this game. I’m in.
MTV: First up: This NPH is a fan of unicorns.
Harris: Well, that’s both. “Neil Patrick Harris” trips and then rides them. Neil Patrick Harris saw one at a circus once. … They had an actual unicorn.
MTV: Did they just tape a cone to the head of some poor horse?
Harris: Don’t destroy my happy little world. It was a real unicorn.
MTV: This NPH picks up hitchhikers.
Harris: That would be “Neil Patrick Harris.” I have a thing about people that smell bad. I mean, who doesn’t, really? But with hitchhikers, I have the assumption that they’ve been walking for a great deal of time, that they don’t have the money to bathe, and I don’t want them in my car.
MTV: Law-enforcement officials love this NPH.
Harris: That would be me, Neil Patrick Harris. I’ve escaped a few tickets, just because people had seen me on “[Law & Order:] Criminal Intent.”
MTV: This NPH is constantly being asked which castmembers of “Doogie Howser” he had sex with.
Harris: Well, that would be “Neil Patrick Harris.” And his answer is “Almost all of them — except for Vinnie.”
MTV: When this NPH dies, he wants to go out in a drug-addled, sexually satisfied hail of gunfire.
Harris: That’s me, Neil Patrick Harris. It’s my dream. It’s what I’ve wanted my whole life.
MTV: This NPH is constantly being told by fans that “Starship Troopers” changed their lives.
Harris: That’s “Neil Patrick Harris.” That’s just [the character in "Guantanamo" played by] Rob Corddry, and sadly, I think it’s true. Because if you asked Rob that question, he would answer Rob and not “Rob.”
MTV: This NPH is a big fan of hamburgers, especially White Castle.
Harris: That’s “Neil Patrick Harris” in the movies. I’m not a big onion guy. And sliders make you poop. So that combination of the two is not good for me.
MTV: This NPH is friends with a lot of stoners.
Harris: That’s both of us, gotta say both. There are a lot of stoner friends that are friends of mine, and I think “Neil Patrick Harris” is never sober. So they both have a lot of stoner friends.
MTV: When this NPH finds himself a new sexual partner, he likes to consummate the relationship by burning them on the rear end with a branding iron that reads “NPH.”
Harris: That would be the movie version, yeah. I’ve tried [in real life], and I’ve come close. But they got free of the wrist restraints that they were attached to. It was a silk tie, it didn’t work, and they ran out. They screamed, but the cop liked me and recognized me, so he didn’t arrest me — which goes back to your earlier question.
MTV: This NPH travels with a big bag of scary items.
Harris: This guy, this Neil Patrick Harris. But they’re usually magic tricks, which is kind of awkward. [In "Guantanamo," a giant jar of human hair is found in the bag of "Neil Patrick Harris,"] and if they make a third movie, they’ll explain why he has all of those things in his bag.
MTV: OK, last one: Right now, at this very moment, this Neil Patrick Harris is tripping balls.
Harris: Oh, wow. I would love to say that was me, but I’m a grown damn man now. So that would have to be “Neil Patrick Harris.”
MTV: So we won’t see Neil Patrick Harris hanging out of a car sunroof anytime soon, snorting drugs off the small of a stripper’s back?
Harris: Not this week.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay.”
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