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Smile 2 Return Gets Disappointing Update From OG Horror Movie Star


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Summary

  • Kal Penn may not be returning for Smile 2, but he is open to the possibility if called.
  • The success of the first movie and the positive response from horror fans has made Penn excited for the sequel.
  • If Penn does return, his character Dr. Desai could potentially be Joel’s psychiatrist, dealing with the aftermath of the supernatural events from the first film, as well as his inheriting the curse.


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Though one original star has already been confirmed for the sequel, Kal Penn has a disappointing update on his potential Smile 2 return. The Harold & Kumar alum starred in the 2022 viral horror hit as Dr. Desai, the boss of Sosie Bacon’s Rose who frequently defends her actions, even when they risk their ward’s budget, and attempts to help her as she begins suffering from the hallucinations brought on by The Monstrosity. Following the movie’s critical and commercial success, the sequel was officially announced in April 2023, with original writer/director Parker Finn returning to the helm.

As the casting process continues for the sequel, Screen Rant caught up with Kal Penn for the sports comedy The Underdoggs and asked about his potential return in Smile 2. The original movie’s star had a disappointing update in regard to reprising his role, stating “he’s not in the sequel” to his knowledge, but reassuring that he’s wide open to the possibility should it present itself. Check out what Penn shared below:

As far as I know, I’m not in the sequel. But, I would obviously say “yes” if they called. That was a blast, that movie. I think originally it was called “There’s Something Wrong With Rose,” and it was this lower budget horror movie. I thought the script was awesome, and I’m from New Jersey, we shot mostly in New Jersey, so it seemed very cool. And I like horror. And then, the way it kind of blew up, I was so excited and so happy for, obviously, the cast, and Sosie, and the director, but just the idea that horror fans were like, “Alright, that’s the movie” that we didn’t even think was gonna go theatrical, and then it did. So I’m excited for the second one, as a fan.


How Penn Could Return For Smile 2

Though Penn’s yet to have been contacted by the Smile 2 team, there are a variety of factors in which the door remains open for him to return. None of the recent casting updates for the sequel have indicated when filming will begin, or if it’s already underway, allowing enough time for Penn to line up his schedule. If his role proves to be a similarly supportive one to that of the original, it would also work well for a late casting of Penn to leave some mystery to the project.

The biggest factor pointing towards the possibility of Penn’s return for the sequel is the recent confirmation that Kyle Gallner would be reprising his role. Given the cliffhanger ending of the first Smile, it seemed likely that a follow-up would either center on Joel or explore how the curse affected him after Rose’s suicide left him afflicted by it. Reports do indicate that Naomi Scott’s undisclosed character will be the new lead for the movie, but if she’s not outright involved in Joel’s misfortunes, the sequel could see him having escaped the curse by killing someone in a traumatizing manner in front of someone else, as explained in the original.

This, in turn, could see Penn’s Dr. Desai appear as Joel’s psychiatrist in Smile 2, wanting to help the person close to his late friend come to terms with what they saw and what they did. By continuing to include characters like Desai, it would also go a long way to ensuring that the sequel taps into many of the same themes of trauma and psychological tension that helped elevate the first Smile beyond a simple retread of the curse formula seen in The Ring and It Follows to the full-blown hit it was. Whichever path the movie takes with its new and returning characters, one can hope that Finn and Penn find a meaningful way to bring him back to the fold.

Smile 2 temp logo poster

Smile 2

Smile 2 is the sequel to the 2022 psychological horror film by director Parker Finn that centers on a therapist who witnesses a patient’s suicide, leading to a series of terrifying supernatural events. The sequel will see the return of Finn as director, with Paramount continuing distribution.

Release Date
October 18, 2024

Director
Parker Finn

Cast
Kyle Gallner , Naomi Scott , Lukas Gage , Rosemarie DeWitt

Distributor(s)
Paramount Pictures

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